This is the time of year when the hot topic is about your new goals and your new resolutions. Yet have you ever thought about why you should or, dare I say it, should not set goals?
Goals are a tool.
When you are building something, different tools are needed for different results. A hammer serves one purpose. The saw, another. And while you can try to cut through wood with a hammer or drive a nail through a 2×4 with a saw, it’s easier if you use the correct tool for the job.
Here are some of the tools that are at your disposal when building a fulfilling life:
A habit is a set behaviour that is repeated consciously at first until it becomes ingrained and is then repeated unconsciously or with little intentional thought. Behaviours can range from a morning routine, to a thought pattern, to an unintentional tick (like biting your nails).
Right now, I am doing Chasing Sunrise’s 21 Damn Early Days – waking up at 4:30 am every morning for 21 days. Let me tell ya, that is a new habit!
Developing habits take what once took effort and make it effortless. What took focus and make it seemingly automatic.
While changing or creating new habits takes work, the end result of an established habit is more ease and efficiency in your life.
When set from a compelling vision of your future, goals help you elevate the level of success you experience in your life by a specific period in time (month and year). They clearly articulate a measurable condition for that success – something that will let you know you did or did not achieve it by that deadline. Goals are written down.
Chasing goals takes diligent effort from start to finish. The end result is a deeper understanding of yourself and your capacity/capabilities. Personally, I like to set out five WTF goals – goals I am Willing To Fail at each year. Goals I will chase with my whole heart, even though success isn’t guaranteed. Three of those are…
I run a half-marathon personal best by Nov 2017.
16 people come play with us at RECESS in Mar 2017.
We host a debt free wedding – with my best body and spirit in tow. #fullhealthfocus
Notice the different energetics between habits and goals. One creates ease and ingrained behaviours, the other creates elevation and intentional effort.
Commitments are personal ways of thinking and being that influence our actions and choices. A commitment to health, for example, may change how you choose to eat, move and stretch your body, or what time you go to bed. A commitment to learning may influence what projects you take on at work or your extra-curricular activities (maybe you finally learn how to play that ukelele).
Commitments help clarify the day to day choices we make. They help us say yes with intention and no powerfully.
They are intentional yet not time-bound. They are repeated practices yet require effort to remain true to.
The Perfect Cocktail
I don’t believe in goals being the silver bullet to creating a great life. I think a strong vision and goals create direction and focus to help you create something beyond your dreams. I think habits help create ease and remove the pain points in your life. And I think strong commitments allow you to build habits and stay on track with your goals by focusing on your day to day yes’s and no’s.
Different tools for different results. All required to build a great life.
In the name of sharing, my commitments for this year – the way of thinking and being I want to influence my actions and choices this year – are as follows: