Rethink Your Resolutions: Writing Goals With Soul
I love to talk about Magic and to see how people react. For me, it is a way to weed out from my life the insane, out-of-touch, and downright crazy people who don’t believe in Magic. You see, Magic is very, very real. I believe Psychology, when understood and utilized, is Magic. I believe that my iPhone, when I think about what it is and what it can do, is Magic. And I believe the force that aspirates my lungs, grows my fingernails, and sprouts a small seed into a mighty tree must be some sort of magic. It is too wondrous not to be. Roald Dahl wrote: “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” To me, magic is simply a frame of mind, and when you look for magic in everything, you will find it in everything. In that spirit, I would like to propose writing your yearly resolutions with a bit of Magic behind them.
Many of us have (or have heard of someone else) who has written a list of goals/ things they want/ traits in a lover etc, and have had the things they wrote down appear in their life as if by Magic. Things just fell into place. Yes, there was action taken at times, but it seemed somehow preordained. It was never a push, even when it was hard work. I compiled such a list of Goals for 2014, and everything on that list happened within that year, even though at the time of writing, every single goal seemed unattainable. It was Magic! What happened in 2015? Well… Now is a good time to mention that not all of these lists work. I (and many others) have compiled lists that flopped, and looking back, the difference between my two lists was stark. Luckily, having been in the trenches with this exercise, I can now teach you some techniques for super-charging your list of Goals so that they have more Magic behind them. And here is how:
Programming your GPS: Goal Positioning System
Setting goals is like programming your mind to hone in on a particular destination: like a GPS. Setting goals is a very important step in having a say in where life takes you. Without them, you are bound to repeat habituated patterns: getting more of the same, and not much else. If, however, writing down goals were enough to consistently achieve them, I would be out of a job! There is a successful goal writing technique however, which bridges the knowing-doing gap, and infuses pure Magic into your resolutions.[Tweet “”Setting goals is like programming your mind to hone in on a particular destination: like a GPS.””]
Step 1: Understanding How a GPS Doesn’t Work
You cannot set your GPS by inputting a destination you don’t want to travel to. If you want to go to L.A. you don’t input “Not New York”. The basic operating instructions of a GPS are this:
1) Know where you want to go
2) Input the destination
When you are programming your GPS – i.e. thinking about where you want to go – frame your resolutions in terms of POSITIVE statements.
You may say: “I want to lose weight” but if every thought and emotion screams: “I don’t want to be fat anymore!” there is a huge energetic difference there. When you think about your goals and talk about them, focus ONLY on the desired outcome, as of it is already achieved, or at least imminent. There is a huge difference between looking in the mirror and hating those extra 10 pounds vs. looking in the mirror and being excited about your weight loss journey, whilst accepting and loving yourself as you are. There is a huge difference between seeing your bank balance and cringing, snapping shut the laptop and doing anything to forget the anxiety vs. accepting where it is at, and affirming that better is just around the corner. The former mindset always leads to failure: to a feeling of helplessness, avoidance, and eventually defeat. The latter mindset leads to resilience, grace, and creative solutions. Accepting reality, and going from there, plays a big role in bridging the knowing-doing gap. Meeting yourself where you are at, instead of fantasizing about a future to escape reality, makes all the difference.
Staying Focussed On Where You Want To Go
For many people, it is almost impossible to discern when they are thinking about what they want, and when they are thinking about what they don’t want. The thoughts seem one and the same, like they are tethered to one another. The easiest way to know the difference is to focus on how you feel. If it feels bad, you are focusing on what you don’t want. Put another way, you are focused on the absence of what you want. If you have only your desire in your mind’s eye, you will feel calm, peace, love, joy, and happiness. It is only the absence of what you want that causes misery.
For example, imagine there is a person you miss very much and would love to hug. Now, if you think about how much you miss them and that you can’t hug them right now, you feel pain and longing. When you just imagine hugging them (your desired outcome) you feel joy. Goals are like people that we long to hug, but who aren’t here, yet. We have to focus on how good that hug will feel when we get it and drop the rest. Try to gently guide your focus back onto your desired outcome. Admittedly, Positive Focus is a mental muscle that needs some training, but it is so worth it.
Step 2: Adding Soul To Your Goals
Emotions are like rocket fuel. They are the driving force behind most human action, yet we rarely infuse our Goals with emotions. It is such an untapped resource! The reason some of our goals flat-line two months into the New Year, is because they have no real emotion behind them. We write the standard resolutions: Lose weight (or reach this fitness goal), make more money (or grow the business), go on a trip, and buy a better version this or that expensive thing. YAWN! Every single person has those same goals every single year. No wonder we never reach these, because they rarely carry the weight of what we truly desire. We don’t even really know why we want the same version of this list every year. You can have what you want, but you are going to have to dig for the Magic to drive that goal into existence. Here is how:
Magic Making ABCD
A is for Adjectives: List 3-5 things you want for 2016, each at the top of a separate page. Now, for the first Goal, write out five adjectives that represent that goal. For example, more money may bring: Security, Adventure, Freedom, Luxury, Beauty, and Peace. Losing weight may bring: Love, Freedom, Peace, Energy, and Adventure. Do the same for each of your listed goals. Your adjectives may overlap a lot: in fact, the more you dig into this exercise, the more you will find a handful of feeling words that describe what you value most in life. These are your Core Desired Feelings (if you haven’t gotten your hands on The Desire Map yet by Danielle LaPorte, it’s time you do), and they are your rocket fuel. When you make your decisions based on feeling more for those feelings more often, your life will shoot forward with momentum.
B is for Because: Let’s keep going. Now below your adjectives, you are going to add even more fuel to the fire by expanding on why you want to reach these goals. Continue by writing: “I want this because:” and then fill that in. Why is this goal important to you? So that you can chase your kids or grandkids around? So that you can look good naked? So that you can have better sex? So that you can walk into a room and feel like you are glowing? No reason is shallow or wrong, as long as it is honest. Write at least three “because” statements. Repeat this process for every goal.
C is for Clarity: If you wrote “Lose Weight” as a goal, expand on that by writing a positive, present-tense statement, as if you have reached your goal. Shift from metrics like: “I lose 10 pounds” to sensation and emotion based statements like: “I feel strong and vital.” It may look something like this: “I am strong, lean and healthy. I feel full of energy and I have my life-force back. I am comfortable in my body and feel really sexy/feminine (or masculine/powerful). I am confident and connected to the world around me through my body. I feel young again, and very alive.” They key is to keep it present-tense and positive, which is a way to act as if you have achieved your goal. Visit that place of acting “as if” as often as you can.
D is for Drop it: Drop the metrics. Drop the “measurables”. Don’t mess with the cursed “hows” as Mike Dooley would say. Long after external motivation and metrics have lost their power, we humans will be driven by our emotions. Harnessing the power of your emotions makes them your ally, instead of running counter to your good intentions and extrinsic motivators. With this technique, getting what you want will be a by-product of living your best life according to what brings you JOY. You will not be waiting to attain your goals to be happy; you will follow your Core Desired Feelings toward greater happiness daily, and as a by-product you will “get the stuff”. That is what Living Soulfully is all about. I don’t believe much in metrics. Firstly, because we are using an external motivator to drive our behaviour, which has shown to be an unreliable and short-lived motivator for humans. Second, because I believe it narrows down the Infinite Field of Potentiality to a single outcome-to the exclusion of all other desirable outcomes.
For instance, if you wrote down that you want a red Ferrari, would you be crushed and devastated if you got a black Lamborghini instead? I would say 99% of people wouldn’t be. Yes, sometimes we have a very specific goal in mind, and that is ok. If a desire presents itself specifically and fully formed to you, I do believe it is likely meant to arrive at your doorstep exactly like that. Martha Beck tells a story of dreaming about the exact ranch she lives on now, for years prior. It’s not a ranch like it; it was the exact same place, even though she had never visited it before. Sometimes goals form with that amount of clarity. But, more often, there is a range of acceptable outcomes that would suffice. Sometimes we get even better than what we were aiming for. That is why I have an issue with people obsessing about winning the lottery. What they want is all those adjectives that describe their “More Money” goal, but they narrow their chances for attaining that goal to 1-in-how-many-million chance by trying to decide the avenue through which it should be manifested. Not only is it not realistic, and keeps them from taking any action in the direction of their goal, but its not even good Magic!
A Fuller 2016
It is important to keep our minds flexible, open, and relaxed. Having a death grip on our ambitions usually works against us. The best energy for manifesting in life is a “profound sense of Destiny, along with an abiding sense of Humility” as Andy Stanley puts it. This means working on worthiness/certainty/brave action and the like as if you are destined for the things you want, whilst having the humility to understand that we don’t do most of the work. Our efforts are pitiful against the powerful current of the Universe. Life is ready to meet us with synchronicity/good luck/fortune/and all other forms of Magic, if we are looking for it, instead of trying to fight through every situation with our tiny ineffectual fists. Concentrate on your Core Desired Feelings (the adjectives you wrote down) and pursue anything that feels like that, with a profound sense of Destiny, and and abiding sense of Humility. We call this approach working miracles, because when you work (move) in the direction of your desire, it rushes towards you as if by miracle. We aren’t asked to do a lot of the work, only enough to show that we have faith in the process; that we are willing to claim what we ask for. We are only called to move just enough to translate a miracle from the ether of the Universe into a mechanistic world. It is the slightest movement that creates tremendous momentum.