Want to achieve your goals? Make sure they feed your soul.

Every year I do the same thing. Come November, I start thinking about what goals I want to achieve in the...

Want to achieve your goals? Make sure they feed your soul.

Every year I do the same thing. Come November, I start thinking about what goals I want to achieve in the following year. And from that moment on until early January, I dream big, and write down everything that my heart desires. And what I’ve learned doing this is that if you want to achieve your goals, you have to make sure they feed your soul.

To stay on track and in action I use a systematic action-setting, and goal-review system that I’ve worked out over the years. As part of that system, by this time of year each year, when we’ve passed the six-month mark into it, I do a thorough mid-year goal review.

And every year, no matter how well I’ve planned in advance, I catch myself doing the same thing again. Because every year, six months into working towards my goals, I always find the odd one or two in the list that don’t work for me. I’m talking about the ones that I haven’t worked on yet, or have been procrastinating on, or have been working on at first, only to find that I’m not able to keep it up.

Before I would really get upset, or feel guilty, or a failure for not addressing these goals properly, or from being so bad at working toward them. But what I’ve learned since my early goal-setting days, is to stop blaming myself and to start by asking one simple question instead: What will achieving this goal really do for me?

And it is powerful, I promise you. By asking yourself this question you’ll start listening to your soul, and learn to connect with your emotions. And when you want to achieve your goals, that’s really what you need to do. Jotting down things on a piece of paper, without wondering how those things make you feel, or why you really want to achieve them, really does not make sense. Yet, we all fall into the trap (sometimes). Even after years of goal-setting, I know I still do!

The question here, of course, is why that is. And the simple answer is, because we go about setting goals the wrong way.

Think of your new years’ resolutions, and what eventually makes it onto paper. It might look something like this:

  • Lose weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Get organized
  • Travel more
  • Read more

At first glance, there’s nothing wrong with this list. I’m sure that most of us want at least one or two of the things on it even. Still, there’s an issue. There is no purpose, no emotion, no feeling in a list like that. And without that, achieving goals is that much harder. Because in the end, the only reason why we ever really want to achieve anything, is to feel something, and to feed our soul. And that’s the reason why so many goals fail.

Now, that’s not to say that all goals you procrastinate on are orphan of purpose, absolutely not. There are many different reasons why we don’t achieve our goals, even the ones that really feed our souls. Absolutely. But if that’s not the case, if we don’t feel an emotional connection to what it is we’re trying to achieve, it will be really hard to do so. Or to sustain the effort.

Now that we’ve established that, I’d love for you to look at the example list above again. And ask yourself what you would feel if you where, let’s say, getting organized or reading more.

What would that bring you?
What would that change in your life?
What would the purpose be?
How would that feed your soul?

Getting organized might give you a sense of greater control over your life, or give you a greater sense of freedom. Reading more might be an activity you really enjoy, making your less stressed overall, enjoying things more. Or it might feed your insatiable appetite for knowledge.

The point is… those are your real goals: having a greater sense of freedom, enjoying things more, keeping a sharp and educated mind. And those are the goals that feed your soul.

The goal is almost always just a symptom of the real goal. And that’s were a lot of goals go wrong.

Losing weight is an even easier example. We never want to lose weight just for the sake of seeing the numbers on the scale go down. Ever. What we really want, when we say we need to lose weight – which is, by the way, the real goal we’re setting for ourselves – is always more personal, and more emotional. We want to lose weight because we want to feel sexy again, or because we want to feel wanted, or to feel healthier.

Notice the word feel in the last paragraph. That’s the essential word here. A goal should make us feel something, it should make our lives better, and make us happier. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t feed our soul. And if it doesn’t feed our soul, it’s going to be really hard to achieve. And by the way, why would you even try to begin with, if that were the case?

So if you find it hard to get started with a goal you set for yourself, or if you notice you keep procrastinating on it, I invite you to ask yourself what this goal really means to you, and how it feeds your soul. And if you find that it doesn’t, do like me when I find the odd one out: drop it, and move on.

Beautiful picture by Frederic Frognier – shotbyfred.com

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