It’s the time of year when many of us feel called to set goals. It’s kind of a tradition thing. There’s a lot to be said about setting intention, dreaming up the dream, and really deciding to go for it.
The trouble with goal-setting is for many of us, we use it as another club to beat ourselves with.
Either it sounds something like, "I’ve got to push myself to accomplish this outer feat (or inner one) .. by this date… or else…"
Or when we “fall off” the metaphorical wagon or don’t attain that goal, it’s easy to also fall into the trap of thinking something is fundamentally fucked up about us for not getting that goal.
Here’s the thing – it was never about the goal.
Yes, I know that the money, the health, the relationship, the business or work project all are noble things to reach for them.
But we aren’t really reaching for the goal. We are reaching for our Soul.
What we want from the process of going for what we desire is actually to BE the person who can do that or have that.
For example, you may want to lose ten pounds because you truly know you will feel better in your body. It’s not the ten pounds you care about – it’s how you FEEL.
Similarly, you may want to increase your income, because you have big aspirations for your life and helping those around you. It’s not about the money – it’s about freedom and impact.
Instead of goal-setting this year, here is another practice that can fulfill this purpose.
The New Practice
Get a sheet of paper. Make three columns. Label them like this:
Be | Do | Have
Step 1: In the “Have” column, write down all the things you want to have. Examples might be money, wealth, health, a romantic relationship, more clients, a new job, etc. Be as specific as you’d like.
Step 2: Then in the “Do” column, write down all the things you want to do. Examples might be write a book, go dancing, practice yoga more often, work in the line of work you love etc.
You’re “Do” and “Have” columns are more your standard “goals.”
Step 3: Now in the “Be” column – write down the qualities you would need to embody to reach those goals. Examples could be determination, consistency, compassion, dedication, etc.
Try those qualities on. How do you feel when you embody them?
Now get another sheet of paper and or flip this one over. Create the same columns.
But this time, start with “Be.”
Who do you want to Be?
When I think of the qualities I am practicing in my life now, they include: Present, Congruent, Conviction, Open and Vulnerable, Trusting, and Grounded.
Try those qualities on. Did different qualities come up or do they feel different to you this time? (Note: there is no right or wrong way to feel in this exercise)
Now, continuing to embody those qualities, write down what you want to do. Then write down what you want to have.
Are the two papers different?
Why do you think this is so?
What were your aha’s from this exercise? (Feel free to share yours with me)
You can continue to practice this exercise even without paper and pen as you go through your daily life. Each day, you have a choice of who you want to be. When you start with Be, what you Do feels more joyful and effortless, and the Have comes naturally.