The thing about goals is that they can seem like a never-ending hamster wheel.
Many of us who are good at checking off lists of goals know that there is very little satisfaction in it because as soon as one is accomplished, there is another lined up and ready to go. I am a big fan of goals, but I have come to realize that we might have it backwards. We think we will be happy when we accomplish the goal, but we find that "happiness" was our one true goal.
Let me explain…
I was journaling about my short-term goals this morning, so I jotted down five things that I am working on:
1. Eating healthier
2. Getting up earlier
3. Working out more
4. Getting ahead on my blogging
5. Not working on the weekends
Those are very concrete tasks (I had metrics around them, but they're omitted here for simplicity’s sake). Those are actions I need to take; Things I need to do.
When I asked myself “why”, the real story emerged…
Why do I want to eat healthier? I want to feel good in my body. I want to feel confident and strong. I want to feel optimistic about the trajectory of my health.
Why do I want to get up earlier? I want to feel like I have time to think. I am always rushing around- I want some space in my life.
Why do I want to work out more? Similar to eating healthy, I want to feel strong, confident and optimistic.
Why do I want to get ahead on my blogging? I want to feel like I have space to do a good job. I want to feel relaxed and be able to wait for inspiration to hit.
Why don’t I want to work on the weekends? I know that when I give myself unstructured time, I feel more relaxed and optimistic. I can show up to my work more confidently when I’ve stepped away from it.
Do you see the trend in my "why" answers?
What I really want is to feel CONFIDENT, OPTIMISTIC and RELAXED. My goals are merely a roadmap of how to get there.
So how does knowing my “why’s” serve me? I think it is going to help me make more better decisions as I take action on those goals.
If I want to hit the snooze button, I know that I am sabotaging myself and giving up the feeling of being relaxed in exchange for feeling rushed.
If I want to eat too much Halloween candy, I know that I am giving up the feeling of being confident and optimistic about my health in exchange for frustration and pessimism.
If I want to put off doing my blogs, I know that now I am in a hurry and that I am not going to be as confident in the quality of my work.
For me, being happy is feeling confident, optimistic and relaxed. Actions that support those feelings move me toward happiness and actions that don’t move me further away.
I now feel as though I have decoded my own personal definition of success and fulfillment.
Do you want to do that for yourself? This is all you have to do:
1. List 3-5 goals you are working on.
2. Ask yourself “why?” for each of them.
3. Identify the trends in how you want to feel.
You now have the recipe for your own personal definition of happiness. You can take all the action in the world, but if you don’t experience the feelings you identified, it will be empty for you.
You now have the ability to get off the goal hamster wheel and make true progress toward success and fulfillment in your life!
I hope this serves you!
PS: I am personally going to make a habit of writing those three words as my intentions for the day, every day.
If you want to join me, you can download the free printable TIA Purpose Planner to document your journey to your own version of success and happiness.