How to set goals that truly serve you in life

We all know that defining and working toward goals is a powerful way to create what you want in life. 

When creating goals with my clients, however, I constantly bump up against a damaging myth which I’d love to deconstruct in this post. 

Myth: If I want to feel worthwhile, I have to set future goals that are amazingly big and bold and awesome!

Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m all for big, hairy, audacious goals. If it wasn't for a big hairy goal I set for myself, I wouldn't be writing this post! However, the point at which big, bold goals become useless is when they don’t actually motivate or support you. 


The truth: big, Bold goals are ofTen big, Bold flops

For every person who sets a big, bold goal that inspires and motivates them to achieve more in life, I’d say there are probably at least five others who are setting big goals that aren't serving them properly right now.

Because what is the point of a goal? It is to motivate! To inspire, guide, support, and pull you into action. 

However, so often I get clients in my office who feel so overwhelmed by the goals they have set for themselves, that they've started deeply questioning their entire self-worth and ability to live a good life. 

Which hurts my heart, because we shouldn’t be beating ourselves up like that in pursuit of imaginary things. 


Rule for life: if a goal doesn't make you feel good, then it's time to get rid of it.

In particular, does your goal: 

  • Help you feel inspired and motivated? 
  • Give you hope? 
  • Provide you with energy? 
  • Call you into action?

If not, then stop right there, and throw that goddamn goal right out the window! 

Do not pass Go. Do not doubt yourself. Do not question your own abilities. Do not compare yourself to others. Do not indulge that damaging part of your psyche that wants to tell you you are not enough. 

Throw it away from you gleefully, powerfully, and without regrets, because while you may want to pick it up again some time in the future; for now, the more real within you is letting you know that this goal is most definitely NOT serving you like it should. 


Come back home to yourself first

To create a goal that will work with you instead of against you, it's important to come back home to who you are in this moment. It's time to start asking: 

  • What kind of goal would make me feel good? 
  • What kind of goal is deeply connected to what is possible for me in this moment? 
  • What kind of goal makes me feel full and hopeful when I think about achieving it?

The thing that most people struggle with here, is that often what we want to achieve, and what we need to achieve to get there, are two very different things. 

I’ve worked with several clients, for example, who came in wanting to do amazing things with their lives. When we really got down to it, however, the things they actually needed right then and there, were less stress and more sleep! 

So what did we do? We threw their old goals out the window, and created a new one: Recover from burn out, reduce stress, and manage sleep!

You can't imagine the relief on their faces when we chose to make that a priority, instead of anything else.

And once we had made a few lifestyle changes in the space of a few weeks, they could then, from a place of relative calm, choose an empowering new goal that also felt undeniably right. 

One client, for example, decided on the following: Learn to become more supportive and loving of myself, so that each day doesn't feel like such a struggle anymore. 

And so we spent 8 weeks focusing on that, after which she was then able to feel connected to and inspired by some of her bigger, more audacious goals, rather than overwhelmed at the prospect of achieving them. 


Don't believe the hype

When next setting yourself a goal, please don’t buy into the hype that you have to go for something 'big' – at least not in the traditional sense.

There are a lot of damaging forces in this world that are working to disconnect you from yourself, including billions of dollars of marketing messaging telling you to 'expect more!' and 'be more awesome!' and 'achieve success!' and 'make money so you can buy more shit!!'

What these messages don't tell you, however, is that when you go for big goals from a place of disconnect within yourself, they are not going to make you happy, and will most definitely not bring you peace. 

It takes humility and courage to surrender any goals that are not serving you in this moment. It is, however, one of the most empowering things you can do.


Achievement can come in many forms

We all need periods of rest, recuperation, and reflection in life, just as much as we need times of striving and excitement. Each mode requires the other, and without a balance between the two, we quickly find ourselves in a place of unhappiness and disconnect. 

When choosing a goal for yourself, therefore, realise that sometimes it makes sense to set goals that are closer to home.

Importantly, I'm not saying you should limit yourself. On the contrary, coming into a positive relationship with yourself, or stepping out of the cycle of stress, or discovering a more life-giving relationship with the world around you, are actually some of the biggest and baddest goals you can find. 

For this reason they are not always easy to commit to, but because they serve our hearts and souls so very well, they are absolutely worth the effort.  

If you need help coming into a deeper alignment with yourself, and setting goals that will truly serve you, sign up for a free Get Connected consultation today.

 With love and support, 

 - Liz Busch