Set your intentions, and set sail to your new destiny in 2013
This is the week when your friends and co-workers are already starting to regret and forget those New Year’s resolutions to cut out sugar and alcohol, to join Weight Watchers, go to the gym, lose weight, get a new job, etc.
From my perspective, instead of encouraging my clients to set a bunch of goals that you may or may not decide to follow through with, I like to offer instead the opportunity to help build a personal treasure map: a genuine guide to what is possible in your life. This is an exercise I do with clients who are ready to move into a place of real, lasting change and success in their lives. I’m offering the outline to you, with the caveat: It’s a lot of work! It will require tenacity and courage. You won’t get there overnight. There may be detours and booby traps. I can only tell you the perils are worth it.
The outline of your treasure map is laid out below, and it will take you from the inside out, not from external rewards back in. You’ll be coming from a place of feeling and into the physical manifestation of it, not the other way around.
It’s a paradigm shift in goal-setting; it’s treasure mapping. Perhaps our paths will cross along the way.
Set sail for your destination
Your destination (destiny) is your overall intention for this year in your life. This intention is what is going to be driving everything else that follows. It is the “why” of your existence, the treasure chest itself. It is what puts the song in your heart and the skip in your step and the smile on your face and the reason you wake up in the morning excited and happy. This is not a goal: It is an intention to create, develop, learn something or change the world. It aligns with all of your core values and morals. It is your bigger purpose. Without it, we often feel depressed, lonely, confused and just like we’re going through the motions.
Ask yourself in a quiet moment: What am I destined to become? How do I desire to show up in the world?
The big four
Once you have that “umbrella” intention, you have the wind in your sails. Now its time to focus on crossing the four seas – the four areas in your life that matter most – and create specific intentions for each of them: a. finances; b. relationships; c. career; d. health/wellness. Now, these intentions are going to be things like “be more fiscally responsible,” “pay off all my credit card debt,” “practice nonjudgment in my relationships,” “communicate more/better/clearly,” etc. Again, these are intentions, not goals yet. They are targets for impact! They are the direction your compass has you moving in. They are fully aligned with your destination intention.
OK, now you get to set the goals! For each of the above four areas, set two, and only two, specific goals. Not five, not even three, just two. This keeps us from feeling overwhelmed and giving up. Once you’ve achieved a goal, feel free to take it off the list and toss up the next one, but only two at a time for each area. These are the landmarks you must pass on the treasure map on your way to your ideal destination. They must be clearly marked and very specific so we can know, without doubt, we can check them off the list.
Write out five action steps you must take to achieve each of those eight goals. I’m not going to lie, this is a lot of work. This is where the path becomes arduous. The seas get a little rough, you get wet and tossed about. But do it anyhow. Write it all down very clearly, very neatly – get organized! You can make a vision board out of this.
Some common mistakes I see as a coach when it comes to goal-setting:
Mistake No. 1: You make the same goal over and over and over again. Why didn’t it happen? Did you lack commitment? Did you get distracted and discouraged by obstacles? Was it not specific enough?
Mistake No. 2: You focus on everything that could go wrong! Every sentence has the word “but” or “except.” If you anticipate failure, guess what’s bound to happen?
Mistake No. 3: You don’t review these every day. We need constant reminders. Believe it.
Mistake No. 4: You don’t have a support system and end up feeling isolated.
Mistake No. 5: You didn’t really make them specific enough. Date. Time. Amount.
Mistake No. 6: You got crazy and made too many goals! Remember, two for each category. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and give up!
Mistake No. 7: You underestimated the discipline and strength it would take to reach your goals. Hey, there are great leaders and explorers out there who make everything look like a piece of cake, like they are effortlessly making strides. The truth is, its hard. For everyone. Great leaders and those achieving success are just better practiced at facing fears and staying the course.
Mistake No. 8: You let a couple successes make you lazy. Once the weight starts to come off is NOT the time to celebrate with a cheeseburger! Once you start paying off debt is NOT the time to buy a new purse! Focus!
OK, now it’s just time to go do these things! Find a quiet space and brainstorm! First the intention, then the goals, then the action steps and the support group.
No support system in place? I can help. Would you like some treasure mapping sessions in January? Email me here to get the application process started: email@example.com. You can make 2013 an epic year of positive change, and know that I am backing you 100 percent!
Carolyn Maul, MS, CPT, RYT is a wellness expert and nutrition guru with a passion for harvesting foods from our global economy. You can reach her via her website, www.carolynmaul.com, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.