We’re marching quickly through the freshness of the new year. I’ve been meeting with clients to discuss their theme word for the year and what they would like to be, do, and have (aka goals).
After a lifetime of learning, teaching, and failing in aspects of goal setting and achieving, here’s what I know that trips us up:
Too much striving, not enough being.
Yes goals take effort. Yes they take initiative. Yes they take focus. Some miracles occasionally occur where something falls out of the sky unexpectedly, but largely this is at the same time as forward momentum.
I’m not suggesting you sit on a couch and “BE your way to the goal, man.” Flashbacks to the justified criticism of the movie, the Secret.
Here’s what I notice about striving WITHOUT being: It’s a lot of effort that we end up sabotaging somehow.
Example: Sam has sworn, yet again, THIS is the year the last ten pounds goes for good.
The real problem is not:
- Lack of knowledge
- Lack of effort
- Lack of discipline.
It’s an identity problem.
Sam has year after year reaffirmed their identity as ‘someone who is going to lose the last ten pounds for good.’. Every thought, action, and new diet plan centers around the narrative of ‘losing the ten pounds’. The they always need to lose ten pounds. If they drop some weight, subconsciously they put it back on because their identity is about ‘needing to lose ten pounds’.
What Sam needs is a NEW identity first. Sam needs to focus on BEING the person who has already lost the ten pounds and is at that new weight. Sam needs to focus on what THAT person does, and let go of obsessing over the destination.
We can achieve goals in a zillion different ways, but if we want to embrace a new result, a new way of being, we need to practice and become that identity first.
The results eventually come as a byproduct of who we have become.
This is the exact same strategy to use for any other goal:
Be the CEO in attitude, focus, dress, relationship building before you apply for the job.
Be the Olympic athlete before you try out for the team.
Be the best-selling author before you submit your book proposal to a publisher.
And if you struggle with ‘fake it till you make it’ assertion, or even Amy Cuddy’s ‘fake it until you become it’, try this on for inner dialogue:
“I am practising the habits, thinking, and lifestyle of someone who is at their ideal weight / CEO/ Olympic athlete / best-selling author.”
Who are you becoming this year?