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How To Not Set Goals

No, really. I mean it. Goal setting is so last year. And yes, I may be partially kidding… But here is what I know for sure: Sometimes what we do when we are trying to set goals is we end up setting ourselves up for failure. And that can be a tricky situation as most of us have decided that failure is personal and we make it our own, whether it’s good or bad. And then, we end up frustrated that we didn’t do what we wanted to accomplish and end up walking away from completion of the goal before we ever really started.

Happy New Year. This is the time of resolutions and goals and “this is the year I am going to do it” mantras. I know because I have done all of that and then some, and I realized that every time, I ended up failing even a little piece of it, then walking away from it because I was disappointed and frustrated. And then I wonder why I didn’t achieve what it was that I was after.

I was talking to a friend last week about goals and resolutions and the like, and she said something that made me stop and think… “What if we just didn’t make them at all, would we ever achieve anything?” I had to laugh to think that we often need to say something out loud in order for it to become real, or we need to write it down to make it ours. All of the reasons we tell ourselves we need to “think things into existence and put a timeline on them and make them SMART, etc… are just excuses for us actually doing the work. Do I set goals? Not really. Or at least I don’t call them that anymore. They feel cumbersome and scary to a lot of us, and feeling like I need to spend days planning instead of moments doing is just too much time wasted.

Life is short. We all have had moments where this realization hits us more than ever, and we don’t know what comes of tomorrow anyway. What if spending our time doing, allowing ,letting go, and walking hand in hand with our best intentions, showing up as our best selves is what we really need to be doing? What if during that process we actually find a little more joy and a lot less stress? And perhaps realize that when we intend authentically and we act genuinely, others will feel that energy and follow. Living in the now can offer so much joy that we often miss when we are eyes deep in a spreadsheet and planner.

I have achieved a whole lot more by letting my soul speak louder than my head. By following my heart and the pull I feel when I get up in the morning, I have been ten times more successful than I ever have before. By pursuing my purpose with a passion I have never felt like I needed to look back, or search forward… Things fell into place when I needed them to the most, and my happiness trumped all else.

A good leader will always know that in order to lead others into achievement, we need to first understand the process ourselves. And the very limits we put on success, we end up putting on our team. John C. Maxwell wrote about the Law of the Lid in his book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. You will never grow higher than the lid… and that may be the coach, the boss, the parent, the teammate…. And most of all can be you. Maybe intend to not just raise the bar, but get rid of the bar. Because with goals, we settle once we get there. We pull off the gas… we pat ourselves on the back and can easily get complacent.

We don’t know how far we can go until we go there.

Flowing easily through the process makes the outcome take care of itself.

Life is short. Let’s live now a little more than we plan for tomorrow.

And no tomorrow can ever come close to the joy of living in the now.

I intend to.

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