Updated: May 26
Setting a goal to do something that will bring a better version of yourself is a noble cause.
(In fact, it is something that is written in our DNA. The desire to better yourself is part of your nature. It is the nature of the universe. We are here to improve, to evolve into better beings.)
We have been taught that placing our focus on the end goal will get us the result.
Stay focused on what you want and disciplined enough to strive towards it, and you will have success.
This end goal could be: Dropping 'x' number of pounds or inches
Establishing a routine of getting up at 5:00 am to exercise
Meal prepping on Sundays
Gratitude journaling every night before sleep
Eating salad every day
Eliminating Doritos from our lives for good
It is any personal goal that you have deemed worthy of the effort because it will bring a BETTER YOU.
Here's the thing though:
The end goal, the elusive reward for the hard work, is not where your focus needs to be in order to achieve success.
Your focus needs to be in the getting to the goal.
We have misplaced our focus and lost our connection with ourselves.
Our internal selves.
Confidence, power, love, joy....we think it comes from the external.
We forget that it comes from within.
We see this all the time.
We know that there are models out there who are plagued with self doubt and body hate.
There are celebrities out there who hate themselves and are deeply insecure and troubled.
There are millionaires out there full of self loathing and fear.
These examples makes it obvious that external markers are not the answer to our problems.(We just think they will be. Hope they will be?)
"As soon as I lose 15 pounds/get organized with my eating/meditate daily/finish that course/get that job, I will find happiness/confidence/love/peace."
This equates the feeling of happiness/confidence/love/peace with the "thing" out there.
We need to remember that the "thing" is just an external tool we think will bring us an internal feeling.
We aren't actually seeking the goal, we are seeking the resulting feeling from that goal.
However, we need to understand that the version of you that is seeking the outcome externally is the not so happy/confident/loved/peaceful person pursuing that 'thing'.
Otherwise you wouldn't be pursuing the 'thing', right?
You would already be whatever it is you are looking for.
You are seeking a positive feeling, but you are seeking it as a person who doesn't have that positive feeling.
So, even if you get to the goal, you won't have the feeling you are looking for and the goal won't be what you want it to be.
You will feel let down.
You will feel like you failed.
You will feel even worse because the answer wasn't there despite the focus, discipline and hard work you put in.
THE ANSWER/FEELING IS NOT FOUND IN THE EXTERNAL THING (as we know).
You simply won't get to where you want to be as the same person who feels they are lacking whatever that 'thing' is. (Remember, the 'thing' is really a desired feeling).
It is kind of like putting the cart before the horse.
You are focusing on the goal (the cart) thinking that will be the golden ticket to your desired feeling (the horse). It just doesn't work that way despite the years of being trained to think it does.
Well, that just sucks!
But here is the good shit:
You WILL get there once you realize that it is all about the BECOMING of the person who would already have that 'thing' (good feeling)!
Switching the focus to the BECOMING is what will be bring the desired feeling that the goal is supposed to give you.
As you remain focused on the changes you are making to become the kind of person who already is how you want to be (the goal), you will see how remarkable you are for making all the positive changes and taking the challenging steps to getting there!
If you remain focused on the end goal, you won't see them at all.
You will only stay thinking that unless you reach that goal, you will fail.
Unless you reach that end result, you won't feel the way you want to feel.
BUT: As you stay aware of the positive changes you are making.....you are creating the feelings you are desiring!!! See how that works?!
Discovering the feelings first (the horse) means the goal will happen (the cart).
Because you are becoming the person who already feels the way you want future you to feel. I know, it takes a bit of time to wrap your mind around this.
Let's say your goal is to lose 15 pounds.
This means that you have a desire to be the person who is 15 pounds lighter.
Why do you want this? Because you feel it will bring you more happiness/confidence/love/peace.
Cool. Nothing wrong with that at all.
Let me repeat: Nothing wrong with having a goal or desire.
If we didn't have them we would be pretty fucking bored with life!
So, you set your goal. Then you do the things.
Cut back on calories.
Follow the latest diet trend maybe.
Manage your stress better.
Try and sleep better.
etc etc etc
All the lose the weight things.
But: you are doing these things as the same person who is thinking they will be happier/more confident/more loved or loving/peaceful once they get to that desired goal.
You are doing these things with the entire focus on the end result.
And you are focused on the end result as the person who lacks whatever it is you are looking for. You think the weight loss is going to bring the good feeling, instead of realizing that the goal is meant to instigate the change in you to create the good feeling.
The good feeling needs to be created before the goal is achieved, otherwise you are setting yourself up to fail.
Instead, I am suggesting you start the same way: set the goal.
Now, forget the goal.
Yep. Stop focusing all your attention on the outcome of your goal setting.
It's done. You have set it up.
Now switch your focus to the BECOMING of the person who already lives with the feelings that external goal is supposed to bring.
It is now time for you to stay in the present moment and witness the changes you are making as you work your way towards that goal.
1) Recognize (admit) that you are starting out as the type of person who isn't capable of achieving your goal (otherwise it wouldn't be a goal, right?). What I mean is: you are lacking. You are lacking whatever good feeling you think that goal will bring you.
Hard truth but (see #2)
2) Be okay with that :)
3) Realize that you are now working on BECOMING the person that does possess those feelings you desire. You aren't working on losing 15 pounds anymore. You are working on: "Who do I need to become to be the person who would be 15 pounds lighter?"
4) Stay there! Don't keep looking toward the desired outcome as the work you need to be doing. NO! The work you are doing is in the BECOMING.
You are transforming yourself into the person who is 15 pounds lighter. Or whatever the goal is. You are discovering how to find the ways to feel the feelings that you are looking for.
5) Enjoy the transformation and awesome experience of becoming. Of evolving. Of growing.
6) Realize that you are changing, and moving towards the feelings that you desire.
Here is the magic: As you pursue a goal in this way, there may come a time along your "journey" where your external goal just simply disappears.
If we stay with the lose 15 pounds goal: Let's say you are working on becoming the person who possesses the feelings you are hoping will come being 15 pounds lighter.
You start to pay more attention to the food you eat, not to drop the caloric intake as you focus on your external goal, but because you are realizing that a happier/more confident/more loving or loved/more peaceful person would choose to bring a salad to lunch rather than go through a fast food drivethru. You are becoming that person based on the present moment experience of actually feeling like the person you want to become.
The end goal of weight loss disappears as you embrace the new version of you.
And guess what? You become 15 pounds lighter if you want anyway.
Perhaps the good feeling you are looking for shows up before that.
Ultimately, if you remove your focus from the external goal and shift it to the BECOMING, your desire for feeling BETTER will be fulfilled.
Goal achieved or not, it doesn't matter.