Those who read this blog regularly know of my personal aversion to goals. I have nothing against them as useful tools for others by the way. They really work for some people. They hardly ever worked for me.
Even though they were SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time based) goals, and aligned to my values, and good for me, and I could picture them. And all the other good stuff that no doubt works for some people.
It wasn't working for me. And when I was hitting the odd goal or target, the satisfaction was very short lived. I often wondered what was next before I even got there. And the getting there was cumbersome. It was peppered with phrases like 'If I want to achieve I HAVE to' 'for my next step I HAVE to' 'Patrick, you can't go to the party, you HAVE to'
It took me a while but eventually I just accepted the fact Goal based living wasn't for me AND also accepted that there was nothing wrong with me NOR that anything needed fixing!!
Was there another way of figuring this out?
What do I do when I get stuck? I like to flip things around and look at it from a different perspective. What different perspective can I look at in relation to Goals for life?
And then this line came into my head from my Life Coaching diploma course about 8 years ago: 'Everything you want is on the other side of fear.'
What is on the other side of fear? Joy. How can I make this joyful? By making every day towards my achievement joyful. What is more important, the achievement or the joy? The joy.
That understanding that the every day joy of doing something will lead to natural achievements was an aha moment for me. It is possible to achieve while enjoying the steps towards achievement. In fact the steps become primary objectives and the achievement secondary.
Here's a summary of how the conversation went in my head:
'Let's do this!!
Hold on, how will I know I have achieved?
By doing what you find joyful every day and checking in at the end of the day if you did!
So all I need to find is what I enjoy doing and then do that and more of that as often as possible?
Yes, how does that sound?
Brilliant! Yet how will I know I have achieved?'
I got stuck again. I was looking forward to doing what I love more often but needed a solid reason to back me up for days it wasn't going great. (And there are those, less often now as I do more and more of what I love, yet they still exist).
So I went looking for answers. I went looking within myself for answers. I know I have the answer somewhere. Flip things around. New perspective. MMMMMM.
A lyric from a Madonna song popped into my head (Yes, I know. My head is a weirdly wonderful place). It is from '4 Minutes', a duet with Justin Timberlake. The line goes: 'The road to hell is paved with good intentions'.
Flip that around. What if intentions are turned into decisions and the decisions get broken down into daily segments? All I need then is to set the segments to a level I enjoy and Madonna's your Aunty. (Bob's your Uncle didn't seem the right thing to say here).
And that's how the whole world changed for me. Find what you love doing most. Set intentions of where you would like to take this. Make decisions based on the intentions. Set daily segments you enjoy.
That's what I did with running. The Ultra's for next year, getting to 50 career Marathons in 2016, the run to Brussels & Back in 2019. They are decisions based on my intention to stay fit and healthy while doing what I love with running. So now every day I set segments I enjoy. Whether those are a 10K run, a 13 mile run, a veggie meal in my favourite veg restaurant or buying a book on ultra running. Whatever it takes to make the journey about love and enjoyment.
And that is the single most important reason I am at 15 Marathons this year when the initial 'goal' was 12. It came naturally. In the Flow. Joyful, happy and loving it!
My business is next. I have set an intention and made a decision to assist change in 5,000 peoples' lives in 2016. I have found ways to segment that so I will enjoy every minute of it.
Simply because having joy and fun in what you do leads to better results. For the future, yet more important in the NOW!
What about you? Any luck with goal setting? Want to try a different way? Thanks for reading and feel free to get in touch!!
Miles with Smiles and Love to you all!