Are you getting ready to set the same goals you set last year? As that clock strikes midnight will the unmet resolutions/goals of last year roll off your tongue just to be tossed to the curb like all the previous years? Are you manufacturing goals just to say you have goals?

You have been conditioned for decades that you need to set goals – either in school or at work. You set goals for your personal life because you believe it is the path to success.

Let’s put the brakes on goals. I want to give you a different perspective.

What if I had set a goal to get 50,000 downloads for my podcast in the first year? Seems a reasonable metric, right? With the number of downloads, I could attract sponsors or bigger named guests.

How might I have moved forward with my podcast with downloads as a goal? Well, I would have spent more time on trying to get downloads than I would have on honing my craft. I would have chased after bigger named guests, who may or may not have been ideal guests, in hopes of reeling in more downloads.

Let’s say I didn’t set a goal for my podcast. Instead, I created a purpose for my podcast. I wanted to have conversations with women over 50 who had redesigned their lives. My curiosity about what women over 50 are doing to bust the stereotypes of our age group is much more interesting to me than the number of downloads. My conversations would go on to inspire and motivate other women over fifty.

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The problem with traditional goals

They are either so too focused on outcomes, or they are too vague and too broad.

Outcome-based goals are goals that have the action, such as losing ten pounds on a deadline: I will lose ten pounds in three months. Outcome-based goals are usually out of your control. You never know what might happen to derail you from that outcome

Goals that are too vague leave you without a direction to go: I want to lose weight. How much weight – one pound or ten? To be honest this really isn’t a goal, it’s a thought that popped into your head.

That is another issue with goals. They are like to-do lists. If you were to write out a to-do list right now what would be the first three items? In my office days my to-do lists had items like check email, look at calendar – you get the idea. They are the first thoughts that pop into your head.

“Create the highest grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.” ~Oprah Winfrey

Instead become future focused and purpose driven

Goals are typically set based on where you are today. Your goal of wanting to lose weight is based on your habits, and belief systems of your present self. That’s a huge topic that goes beyond the scope of this blog post, but I do want to discuss it briefly.

Who is your future self, and how well do you identify with her? I ask this because you have set a goal based on how you want your future self to look or to behave. So how would she look or behave?

Your future self would not set a goal to lose weight because she would already be there. Her actions would be in alignment with who she is. What would those actions be? What stories would she be telling herself?

This is where you need to go. To the future. Forget about setting a goal and start behaving and believing you are already the person you want to be. Would your future self opt for a night on the couch with a bowl of ice cream over taking a walk after dinner? Probably not. Instead of being the person with the goal of losing weight, be the person who takes a walk after dinner.

Be your future self today, and the intended goal of your present self will be met.

Sticking with the weight goal here – also ask yourself what your reason is for losing weight. Remember the to-do list above? As you take a moment to write down your reasons, keep asking yourself why after each answer. Your first two or three thoughts are surface, your real purpose lies beneath the surface.

You may go from I have nothing to wear – to the real reason of wanting to be able to keep up with the grandkids or being healthy enough to live on your own. Your goal of wanting to lose weight will then become a purpose of getting healthy or staying healthy.

Knowing your purpose will lead to systems and processes such as meal prepping, less junk food, more physical activity. All this will lead you to your intended outcome.

A goal is the future place we arrive at to get the star we want, but what do we do on the days we have not met the goal? Processes help get you day to day every day – the being rather than achieving. The process creates success.

What are your thoughts on goal setting?  Would love to know. Leave a comment below.

Shelly Drymon
Shelly Drymon

Creator of Women Over 50 A Life Redesigned, Onja to 7 grandkiddos, slightly addicted to coffee mugs. I live a life of constant curiosity!

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