What are you dreaming of?
What riches fuel your imagination? What have you decided to do this year? How are you going to treat yourself along the way, as you pursue your dreams? Many of us invest thousands of heartbeats into dreaming up intentions, resolutions, and goals to achieve each year. We often use those three words interchangeably, yet they have different meanings. When the three are aligned, they can support us in making our dreams into reality.
A resolution is a firm decision to do or not to do something. It is an absolute statement; resolutions leave no wiggle room or flexibility due changing circumstances. For example, I will not eat chocolate this year. An intention is a truth disguised as a directive; a gentle reminder to get back on track. I want to improve my diet so I can feel better. Intentions serve us best when pointed toward a state of being, cultivating qualities in our lives. Goals focus on achievement and doing. I want to cook more at home and include more organic food. Goals go hand in hand with intentions and resolutions.
Resolutions can become declarations to beat ourselves up over after having a lapse in the habit we want to change. Use them sparingly, or realistically adapt them.
Instead of I will not eat chocolate this year, maybe resolve I will reduce my sugar intake. Intentions set the course of where we want to go and help nudge us back to center when we get distracted from our resolve and falter along the way. We remind ourselves of our intentions and love ourselves anyway, no matter how far off track we get. That helps weave the transformational magic of self-kindness into our lives. Goals are the powerful plans we create to set ourselves up for success by integrating our resolutions and intentions to make real changes in our lives.
As with so many things, attitude is everything. Especially our attitude towards ourselves.
Resolutions are classically designed to fail, especially those “I will lose 30 pounds by March 1st,” ones. What if we wrote our resolutions, intentions, and goals with self-love in mind?
There is a lot of literature about goals. Many of us have heard that goals need to be SMART- Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
That’s true but there is more to changing our lives for the better than being smart. We need to have our hearts and souls in the mix as well.
There is no sense in having a goal that is a “should,” especially one that may have been a resolution, intention and/or goal for years. To achieve a goal, we need to have some emotional juice for it, or it will just become another item on the never-ending to-do list. Take a moment to review your goals and make sure they are genuinely something you want. Eliminate punishment and self-blame. Be kind. Dump the should’s, and replace them with wants.
Now that you have reviewed and streamlines your goals, and have created ones that you truly want to achieve, you are ready for the action steps.
Here is the GOALS acronym to help make them happen, and keep you on track to achieving them with 5 powerful tips:
Generate enthusiasm for your goal.
Think about and imagine it done. How does it feel? Are you delighted with your accomplishment? What would it take to generate that delight? Does the goal need a slight shift? What would make this feel better, across the board? When you are in the midst of doing what needs to be done even though it’s hard, remember how good it will feel when it’s complete.
Observe and review your progress on your goals regularly.
Record your step by step successes. Notice where you experience resistance. Don’t judge yourself over it, just notice. You are doing something important in your life. If it were easy, it would already be done. Acknowledge your progress. Celebrate you! Cheerlead yourself! You are working hard towards something that means something to you! Go you!
Affirm your intentions often.
Consider creating positive affirmations for each goal you are working on. Write them daily, or as often as it feels good. Say them to yourself in the mirror in the morning and before going to bed. When your inner critic goes on a rant, say your intentions silently or aloud to override that old belief. It no longer serves you.
Love yourself through each step of the process.
Success, failure, setbacks, victories. You can only be set back if you are moving ahead! Acknowledge and celebrate each accomplishment on the journey. Praise yourself often. Energy flows where attention goes. You are amazing!
Design the steps to achieving your goals in phases you are willing and able to do. Take the actions you have planned. If you have friends working on goals as well, check in with each other at least quarterly to support each other’s progress. Give yourself a reward when you complete each goal, something that makes you happy.
The powerful work of personal evolution can be turbocharged through using the tools of goals, intentions, and resolutions, leavened with a supportive attitude towards self.
Apply the SMART GOALS formula for success and watch your world unfold in the marvelous ways you have envisioned!