As we head deeper into January it becomes harder not to set goals for yourself. Friends and family have new goals (develop a new skill, run a marathon, get to the gym, etc.) and it makes you second-guess yourself if you have not joined in (at least you have less to talk about with them if you haven’t). Is this truly all there is to moving forward, just living in the present?
No, being in the here and now is step one (http://www.chhr.ca/blog--everyday-potential/forget-about-goal-setting-in-januarydo-this-instead). Being present and appreciating yourself for all that you are is what allows new opportunities to emerge – opportunities that are based on your current gifts and not some imagined future state. The flaw with New Year’s resolutions is that they set us up to fail (have you ever noticed how when we finally achieve that future vision of ourselves we set new goals…it’s like we are always waiting or working towards being something else, but we never get to enjoy it…). It seems simple enough to make an agreement with yourself (i.e. you will be on time to every meeting this week). But what happens when we forget, or get interrupted, making it impossible to keep this agreement? Then we have failed, and our motivation to keep working towards the goal is diminished every time we fail (or even think about the fact that we did fail, even if it was only once or twice). Can you feel the energy being sucked out you? I got tired just writing that.
A healthier way to approach self-development is to see what is possible, as in “I have 15 minutes right now, how can I use this to my best advantage?”. It helps to have an intention for yourself, an intention based on your current strengths and abilities…an intention that speaks to what is possible. So how do you do that? You leverage what you have today. Ask yourself: What is my vision for myself (my career, my life) today? How can I intentionally invest in that vision? What small things can I do to support this vision and hold my commitment to it? What self-development is needed to move myself forward in my life in the way that I envision it that will support all that I am today? Along the way ask yourself what values this vision is based on and why are they important to you? What beliefs do you hold that makes those values an important part of who you are? This helps to anchor you in purpose and intent. Only by leveraging what is present in you and in your life today can you unlock what is possible for you tomorrow...and it keeps you off the “hedonic treadmill” of set a goal/fail or set a goal/achieve it and then set another goal.
This way you get to enjoy who and what you are today, while exploring what is possible for you from a place of strength, not weakness (or failure). With this approach to moving yourself forward you are able to bring yourself more fully into the world with confidence and well being. And isn’t that the best thing you could possibly reach for in this New Year?
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I believe in giving back to others in many tangible ways. When I learn something new, or see something that might help others, I share it using my blog and website. You can always find my latest blog entries here, on Facebook or Linked In.