Goal setting is a great way to get more out of your body, mind and life. But do ever find that chasing achievements can leave you feeling worse for wear?
I’ve found a better way to set goals, so you can not only achieve your perfect victory, but be happier during the process …
I walked into my office this morning and noticed this card on my shelf … and it inspired me to share this post to help you set better goals this year.
Over the many years I’ve been teaching others; how to better nourish their unique bodies, so they can move and age gracefully …
Goal setting has come up at least a couple of times in the conversation. 😉
But the common way of setting goals that I’ve observed in the majority of cases may not be helping you, the way you think.
In my experiences, the mainstream way of setting achievement focused health and fitness goals can often do you more harm than good!
It can pull you away from what you truly, deeply need from a physical, mental and emotional perspective.
Because the mainstream approach to goal setting is often based on an attachment to achieving external outcomes.
Be aware of goals based on wants.
Consider … where do wants lead? To more wants.
It’s a vicious and toxic cycle that can really take you away from experiencing that which you truly, deeply need and your happiness in the moment.
Here’s an example …
Say you set a goal to get flexible fast as your new years resolution.
Great choice, if you ask me 😉
So you search online, get a flexibility program (hopefully with an approach that works), and you stretch.
Makes sense right?
But you want it yesterday, so you stretch hard, focused mainly on if your flexibility and range of motion is improving!
And then …
You get super sore, your progress stagnates, you get frustrated that you’re not improving as much as you wanted to, and you eventually give up, or worse – you get injured.
See what can happen when you’re too attached to achieving external and future focused outcomes?
The great news is your journey towards deeper physical freedom doesn’t need to unfold this way. All you need to do is bring a bit more balance to the way you approach the goal.
That’s what we’re talking about next …
External achievement focused goals are very yang in nature.
They’re all about action and doing.
But one of the most basic laws of nature is (also known as Newtons 3rd Law) …
For every action there will be an equal and opposite reaction.
So the opposing reaction to stretching with too much intensity, is your body telling you to STOP!
And the less you listen the more loudly your body screams, until you notice.
So how do you set goals that make you happy deep inside and don’t take you away from what your body truly needs?
Next we’ll talk about balancing the goal setting equation, by introducing some yin to the yang.
The goal isn’t necessarily the problem, it’s the way you go about it.
The new year is often a time where we set out to make a change or choice to live a better life.
- To make more money
- To look better naked
- To move better
- Etc …
While these goals definitely have the potential to change your life. They can also take us away from honoring what we truly need, if we’re not careful on the way we set them.
Instead I recommend to start setting your goals focused on the inside first.
The inside-out approach to goal setting.
Here’s some tips to set your goals / intentions for this year in a more balanced way. They’ll help you set intentions that are better aligned with what makes you happy and your true needs, and decrease the likelihood of self sabotaging your progress.
1. Empty your cup
Let go of what you think you ‘know’ about yourself and allow yourself to listen to your heart or your gut for guidance.
Set your goals based on what’s true and right for you deep inside, and be careful that you’re not doing it for someone else.
2. Form your goals in a meditative / silent space, then let them unfold
Most of the time when we set goals, the only obstacle is ourselves. Moving towards something new can be perceived as scary, so we self sabotage to maintain our perceptively ‘safe’ reality.
The way of goal setting I share below will help you embody your goals, so you can allow them to more naturally come towards you – with less chance of blocking yourself.
This is an exercise in trust.
- Simply write down your goal, or question in a journal, or on a piece of paper.
- Then apply it to your silent time in a meditative space. You can go for a walk, or sit and become aware of your breath.
- Let the goal permeate into your cells and let the attachment to outcome go.
- Allow what is truly right for you to come towards you.
- Then simply repeat that process each day.
I didn’t believe this would work at first, but it does.
It feels like voodoo magic.
3. Ask yourself questions rather than seeking answers
Who do you need to become to embody ‘x’ outcome?
If you’d like to become more flexible, you need to embody the practices of a flexible person.
For example stretching with an approach that works will help.
But flexibility success is mostly about becoming the person that cares for and prioritises your body enough to practice consistently, whilst being attentive to applying the right level of intensity each session.
Focus on the who you are, or would like to be – not just the how you’re going to do things
4. Grow your roots, before you seek the fruits
Let’s say your goal gives you a better external reality, but it’s super stressful to maintain?
Is it really good for you to feel that way, even if you have ‘x’ outcome?
Be patient with yourself, and allow your roots time to grow.
This might mean you just fully enjoy and explore your body as it is for a while, before pushing it that bit further.
Give yourself some space to explore within your goals and allow them time to stabilise, before trying to push yourself too hard.
Focus on the things you already have that really nourish you, and allow you to experience peace and happiness within yourself.
Once you cultivate this inner state of peace and happiness, chances are your goals will start happening more effortlessly anyway.
5. Take one small step at a time
How many people do you know who have set a big goal but never actually moved towards it?
A lot of the time the biggest problem is they try to take to many steps at once.
It can get overwhelming, and make the goal seem impossible.
Here’s how to make even the biggest of goals a reality.
- Ask yourself, what’s the smallest step I can take today to move a little closer towards this new experience
- Then take it.
- Repeat each day.
If you keep doing this for long enough, amazing things can happen and I’ve personally witnessed dramatic personal transformations with this approach.
6. Allow your goals to be dynamic
Life is always changing, and these days it’s faster than ever.
Sometimes the intentions we set today are actually no longer relevant tomorrow, but many can get fixated on their goals, as if they’re etched in stone.
Goals shouldn’t be static. They should be dynamic, with space to grow and evolve.
If the goal you set yesterday doesn’t feel right today, then change it.
The more you’re open to doing this. The more your true self will come through in every goal you set.
- Consider if you’re planning your year and goals to live someone else’s dreams.
- Check in with your deepest needs each day and ask what’s for your highest good when you’re setting your goals. The more you do it the better you get.
- Cultivate your happiness on the inside first, by appreciating what you already have, and allow it to overflow toward your goals for the future.
- Keep asking yourself the big questions any time you feel you’re out of alignment with your deepest needs – why am I doing this? Is this truly right for me in this moment?
Give it a go and see how your life and body changes.
There’s my two cents.
Do you need to improve your flexibility this year?
If you’ve set a goal this year to move better and improve your strength + flexibility.
I’ve got something that will streamline the process for you.
Take the first small step towards a more dynamically flexible body.