Have you set your goals for 2019 yet? This process of declaring what we will stop, start and continue doing is fraught with both joy and dread. The joy of starting something new or saying “so long” to a tough year. And the dread of realizing what we didn’t get done.
It’s 8 days into the new year, how are you doing?
What if we changed how we thought about goals? What if instead of focusing on what we SHOULD do like saving up money or losing weight we focused on the RESULT of the doing and re-framed it as a GIFT.
For example, instead of saving up a certain amount of money, your goal was re-framed to give yourself financial security, that creates the peace of mind you want. Or instead of joining a fitness class to get the body you want, your goal was re-framed to move every day to increase you own quality of life, appearance and overall health.
Re-framing from a SHOULD goal to a GIFT goal feels more authentic and pulls us forward because the goal expresses what really matters. The goal comes from the perspective of self-care vs. self-criticism. Should goals force us to do things with the risk of fear, guilt and shame. Hardly inspirational and research shows this approach doesn’t work.
Study after study shows that self-criticism is consistently associated with less motivation and worse self-control. In contrast, self-compassion—being supportive and kind to yourself—especially in the face of stress and failure—is associated with more motivation and better control. Gift goals feel as joyful to pursue as to achieve.
3 Ways to Let it be Easy
Once your GIFT goal is clear. Ask yourself what kinds of interpersonal support would make it easy to achieve? Find people who can see the future that hasn’t arrived yet and believe it is achievable for you. And ask what kind of accountability to others would help you make progress?
Then whatever you are looking to achieve, ask what strengths and resources are ALREADY present in your life that could help you? And develop a plan based around these. You will be energized to see what you have going for you. And more confident in your ability to achieve the goal.
And lastly, ask yourself how you can make the behaviors you want to practice, a default rather than something you must decide to do each time? It increases your chances of success. And if making the new behavior can’t be a default, how can you make it convenient?
We make real progress not through force. But by putting in place, an abundance of support for ourselves motivated by self-care rather than guilt and self-criticism.
Let’s re-frame our approach for 2019 by setting GIFT goals. And create plans designed around our unique strengths and abilities. It will make the journey more fun. And, in those times, we veer off course, it will make it possible to practice more compassion for what is really going on.
I look forward to hearing how you re-framed your plans for 2019. Here’s to the journey ahead.