The Trouble with Goals

In sports such as football, soccer, hockey, and rugby, goals are easy to understand. Send the ball between the posts, and you score, i.e., you achieve your goal. However, you must dodge the players on the opposing teams and keep the ball, puck, etc. in your possession.

In life, it may also seem that an opposing team is organized to keep you from achieving your goal and that keeping it in your mental possession is no easy task. Goals can be difficult to achieve for a number of reasons.

Sometimes Goals are Forced and Artificial.

This is one of the biggest problems with New Year's resolutions and it might be a key reason for why they don't get realized. January 1 approaches, and the pressure builds. You're going to change something. You make a list, and it may seem that the longer the list is, the more committed you are. Or you might judge the worth of your list by the hugeness (or seeming impossibility) of the goals.

"I am going to lose 50 pounds by the end of the year."
"I will double my income by the end of the year."
"I will find the love of my life."

Nothing is wrong with any of these goals. Problems arise when, instead of being moved by a deep desire to realize them, you think you should accomplish them.

In order to determine whether your goal is a true one for you, ask yourself where it came from.

  1. How many people have told you should lose weight?
  2. Do you feel sick when you look at a fashion magazine?
  3. Do you think your life would change totally if you lost weight?

Goals May Be Fueled by Low Self-Esteem and a Sense of Lack.

Why do you want to lose weight? It may because you feel unhealthy at your present weight (you have a lack of health). You may think you don't look good (I'm too heavy). Do you think you won't attract the love of your life in your present shape?

While being able to pay the bills and losing the stress of worrying about them may drive you to want to double your income, you may also feel that people look down on you because you don't have enough money. You may feel like a failure. You may be driven by terror.

Maybe you want to find the love of your life because you're tired of being pitied for your single state. Maybe you think people believe something is wrong with you. Maybe you think something is wrong with you.

Too often, goals come from wanting to improve how others regard us. Whenever we judge ourselves by how others judge us, we will find ourselves wanting. Motivation that comes from outside yourself is low-grade fuel.

Goals May Involve Effort and Pressure.

When a goal doesn't come from within you, you may have to whip yourself a lot to move towards it. "I'd rather eat that, but I want to lose 50 pounds and look good." "I'd really rather stay home tonight and read a book, but single people will be at that party."

This is more should. It's also a kind of reasoning that suggests hard work and sacrifice are required for you to achieve your goal. You may not be having a great time now, but when you accomplish your goal, everything will be wonderful. Maybe not.

Goals May Seem to Contradict Your Values.

What if one of your values is to find a way to use your talents to serve others, and you think your goal conflicts with this? How will you help the world by losing 50 pounds or by doubling your income?

I'm not saying you can't. You might have more energy for serving others if you were carrying around less weight, and being immersed in an absorbing purpose often serves as a meaningful distraction from food. A doubled income could mean doubled opportunities to give.

However, if you feel a conflict between your goals and your values, you will neither accomplish your goals nor realize your values. When you feel any kind of resistance to accomplishment or notice that you don't seem to be making much progress towards the realization of a goal, check in on your values, and see what may be standing in the way.

I often find that people are unable to clearly express their values. Frequently, they lurk in the background. Think about what is most important to you, and write it down. Once you are sure of your values, you may find that your goals change to reflect them.

Sometimes Goals Don't Come From Your Deepest Desires

In The Artist's Way, a book designed to help people unblock their creativity, Julia Cameron tells many stories of people who had so successfully suppressed their creative urges that they barely knew they had them. These will be longings that haven't even made it to the values category.

Digging up these buried dreams seems very dangerous to many people (that's why she wrote the book). If you have vague but painful feelings of dissatisfaction, if you feel envy when you see people fulfilling their creative impulses, find out what you've (with all the best intentions) been denying yourself.

This doesn't mean you have to do anything drastic. Providing comfort for yourself and your family may be a strong value for you, but if you have a long-suppressed dream to take singing lessons, and you can acknowledge, cherish, and put some energy into that dream, it will come true.

What Matters Most: The Result or the Journey?

"I will suffer, I will sacrifice, I will do anything I have to make myself miserable and convince the universe that I really want to be happy." Many of us have been trained that the above mantra (or variations of it) are the way to get what we want.

Fortunately, countless lives have been affected by a principle called the Law of Attraction. In shorthand terms, it states that whatever kind of energy we're putting out will draw to us more of the same. Put out suffering energy, and get more suffering. Focus on sacrifice and get more opportunities to sacrifice. Push yourself towards your goal, and get many more chances to expend effort.

Instead of going to parties when you'd rather be at home, affirm that the universe is even now sending you the perfect mate. Be alert, listen to your intuition, and expect that meeting of soul mates to occur without your having to sacrifice.

Decide to enjoy the journey, rename it a journey of happiness instead of to happiness, and notice how much easier and enjoyable it becomes. Instead of calling it a goal, name it a dream, and discover how inspiration can lift your feet in a lighter step.

Crystal Helpers

If you want to work with carnelian, consider a long-term relationship. While focused meditation can reveal the goals of your dreams, many have discovered that wearing this stone on a regular basis leads to clarity of purpose.

Clear quartz helps to reveal our deepest dreams and values. Regular meditation with a quartz generator can tell you who the person who dreams really is.

For the energy of self-esteem and personal power, I recommend citrine. Its golden cheer will also uplift you when your goal seems far away.

Kunzite, a lovely lavender-pink, blends the energies of heart and mind. It thus assists us in making loving choices.

Essences

Chestnut Bud (Bach) can help if we repeat certain errors in settling goals, for example, always being directed by others in our choices. Taking this remedy may also reveal deeper patterns of error that guide us into inappropriate goal setting.

Wild Oat (Bach) helps when so many possibilities look attractive that one finds it difficult to settle on just one, or two, or three, or any humanly possible number.

Walnut (Bach) is especially helpful when a goal involves going through big changes in order to achieve it, for example, taking on parenthood. This essence assists in bridging the gap between who you are now and who you want to be.

When we feel stuck, Cheetah (Wild Earth Animal Essences) can launch us into motion. If we are moving with great speed but little direction, cheetah energy helps us to keep our eyes on our goals and to find the most direct way of achieving them.

Beyond the Rainbow
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