Do you set goals in your life? Do you allow yourself to dream?
Sometimes we don’t set goals or even allow ourselves to dream about how we want our lives to look. Sometimes, we believe that we have no control over what our lives could even look like - so why bother dreaming? And so we stop ourselves from imagining what we want for our own lives.
Because we are afraid we won’t be able to get there and we simply want to avoid being disappointed. We avoid any negative feelings that might come up from not achieving our goals.
But what if achieving our goals is not the main goal here?
What if achieving our goals is just 10% of our lives and the other 90% are actually our journey to get there?
That is what I am here to talk to you about today.
In this article, we'll explore the following questions:
Am I even setting goals?
What do I love about my life right now?
What are my values?
How can I start setting goals in my life?
How can I start moving towards my goals?
What do I need to do next?
Essentially, these questions can serve anyone wanting to start moving towards their dream goals as a 6-step guide.
1. Am I even setting goals?
Sometimes we just go through life on autopilot and we never truly slow down to ask ourselves: “What is it that I truly want in my life?”
So, before we get into how to set goals and how to move towards our goals, I would like to invite you to reflect on whether you are setting goals in general. Are you allowing yourself to truly think about what you want your life to look like in one year or two years or even ten years?
And if so, what thoughts come up when you start trying to set goals?
Often, without even being aware of it, we have limiting beliefs such as I won;t be able to achieve that anyway.’ - and that’s the end of the story. By bringing those beliefs to our awareness and seeing them for what they are (limiting beliefs rather than facts), the more we empower ourselves to set goals in the first place.
The more aware you are of how you think about goals, the more you can start shifting it so that you can start creating goals and moving towards them. So whenever your mind offers you these thoughts, ask yourself “What if I can get there?” and “What would it look like?”.
2. What do I love about my life right now?
When setting goals, it’s important to remind ourselves of the things that are already going well. This will provide a feedback loop and reminder for ourselves of what good things we have achieved already and what actions helped us get there.
So, if you don’t already have a running tally, I invite you to make a list of 10 things you truly love about your life right now and the role your actions have played to create them.
Take your time and remember that these things can be as big or small as you like.
3. What are my values?
To start setting goals in your life, first of all, I would invite you to explore your values. Your values are those things in life that are most important to you. They are not end goals, but rather a way of being or living.
The more you understand your values, the more you’ll understand if the goals you are setting are really aligning with what you want for your life.
If you are not sure about what your values are, you can use this tool.
4. How can I start setting goals in my life?
Now that you have done this, let’s look at your goals.
Start by asking yourself, 'Based on my values and the things I already love about my life right now, what do I want for my future? What are my goals?'
Here are some examples of areas or domains you can set goals for:
If you want to do an exercise for each of these areas to truly understand how you feel and what you want, this article will show you how.
Once you have identified your goals, it’s time to make them SMART. REALLY SMART.
5. How can I start moving towards my goals?
The fifth step involves proudly admiring your list of REALLY SMART goals and writing down any thoughts that come to your mind.
This is such an important step because it will allow you to notice if you have any doubts about your ability to achieve your goal; and, if you do, to address it. If your thoughts about your goal are mostly negative or uncertain, ask yourself, can I believe I can get there just a tiny bit? Just enough so that I can start moving in that direction?
We don’t need to be fully confident that we can attain our goals. We can in fact move towards them even if we have doubts. Because having doubts is just a way of your mind to signal that you are stepping out of your comfort zone. Confidence comes once we start taking action and witnessing our own progress.
(BTW - this thought download is inspired by this episode of the life coaching school podcast.)
Now that this is done, let’s look at how to start taking action.
One of the frameworks I use is the GSPA framework. GSPA is an acronym that stands for Goals, Skills, Practices, Actions. How it works? You simply answer the following questions:
What is the goal?
What skills are needed to support the goal?
What practices build each of those skills?
What are the individualized actions that make up those practices?
The GSPA framework allows you to break down each of your goals into doable actions. Once you have identified the necessary action steps, sort them in order of priority.
6. What do I need to do next?
The answer to the last question is: reviewing your journey.
While moving towards your goals, it becomes easy to forget to evaluate how far you have come, to reflect on what steps you are taking and even if you are still progressing on have come off track.
Sometimes we resist reflection because we are afraid of what we will find, but often that is simply because we are used to judging ourselves. Instead of looking back and judging yourself, pick a day each week or month on which you look at your week/ month and ask yourself:
From 1 to 10, how well did I progress towards my goals?
What could I have done more to move towards my goals?
What small wins can I celebrate?
Take this learning into the next week, so that you can continuously grow on your goal journey.
Remember that your results are usually proportional to the action you take. So if you’re not progressing, don’t judge yourself but simply ask yourself “What is one small step I can I take right now to keep progressing on my goal journey?”
Followed diligently, this easy 6-step guide will transform you, it will help you grow, and it will help you to move towards the life you want.
Mariana is a life coach who helps women unplug and detach from feeling busy to create their perfect life balances. She is an expat from Portugal and is based in Geneva, Switzerland. Mariana has been through several stages in her own life that sparked her passion and drive to support other women to see all the possibilities there are in life and how we all can create a life we love. You can find Mariana on Instagram @coaching.by.mariana.