Ditch Your Goals: Try This Simple Practice that Will Take You Further Faster

Marti GleAt Ryzio we know that goal setting can be difficult and disappointing. Have no fear…. this is a NEW YEAR, a new decade and a new time, and that’s why we’ve created some simple, practical steps to help you get where you want to go.

But first, let’s look at 3 of the reasons why goal setting doesn’t work.

  1. Goals are in the future.“When this happens I’ll be happy. My life will be great when I reach this.” The problem is that when we get the very thing that was going to make us happy (the job, the love, the house) we’re happy for about 24 hours. After a couple of days, we’re right back to the old feelings of lack that keep us searching outside ourselves for satisfaction.
  2. You may know where you want to go but haven’t worked out the actual steps to get you there. When we focus on the goal, we often miss the daily practices that’ll create the outcome we want.
  3. When we don’t reach the full goal, we experience stress, frustration and guilt. We tend to feel like a failure, back at square one. This often reinforces some of our core beliefs of, “I’m not good enough; I’m not lovable, something’s wrong with me, etc.”

The truth is, none of us can be happy in the future. We can only be happy in the present moment. If you can find one slender sliver of light where you are now, something small right now to be grateful for, to be happy about, you can begin to open the windows of your life and let more light in. You can begin to fill your cup of happiness, one drop at a time.

The trick to reaching your ultimate goals is to show up in your life today. Yes, you need to create a direction. For example, you may want to get a degree, start a business or find the love of your life. And, you need to take steps to get there. The biggest step is to learn to be present, right now, fully in your moment-to-moment experience.

 Here is a very simple, 4 step practice to achieve the life you want.

  1.  When you wake up in the morning: Find some small thing that brings you pleasure. For me, it’s the sun shining through the oak tree outside my bedroom window. It might be the smell of coffee that’s waiting in the kitchen or someone you get to see today. Just bring to mind something that makes you smile; take a breath and enjoy.
  2. As you get dressed or on your way to work: Note at least one thing you’re going to do today that takes you closer to the future self you want. Sometimes I make a note of this in my calendar the night before and then remind myself as I’m getting dressed. Perhaps you’ll do some writing, eat good food, take a walk at lunch, call a friend, or ask for what you want at work. Here I’m remembering what my friend and executive coach extraordinaire, Delia, tells me… IBTS … Itsy Bitsy Tiny Steps … IBTS… And, when I sometimes complain, Delia lovingly reminds me, “Marti, SYBD!” “SYBD?” “Yeah. Sit Your Butt Down!” She’s right. Just note your IBTS, your Itsy, Bitsy Tiny Steps you’ll do today.
  3. As you travel home from work: Ask yourself, “What did I do today that I feel good about? This will probably be something small. Give yourself credit: I took a short walk at lunchtime. I gave a coworker some needed feedback. I actually received the compliment I got in the meeting today. Let yourself notice what went right today.
  4. As you close your day: Ask yourself, “What am I grateful for today?” Name something simple: I’m grateful for my health, that I have a friend I can talk to, that I made progress on my creative project, etc.

These small moments of being present, really showing up and taking care of yourself – being your authentic self – bring the greatest long-term benefits. When you truly show up, those around you feel safe to show up, too. From this place you’re more likely to feel motivated and to make healthy decisions every step of the way. You have more energy and are open to opportunity. And, you naturally attract the highest and best in those around you.

Moment by moment, we can experience the happiness we want. We can attract the people and situations in our lives that help us to thrive. The trick is to slow down, take a breath, tell yourself something like, “Right now, I’m okay.”

This moment is all you have. Find the one drop of goodness that’s here. Each drop you gather helps fill the cup that will sustain you.

Smile. Have eye contact. Learn to receive. These simple practices help to settle the nervous system, change the body’s chemistry and reduce stress.

From this place you’ll be able to take the daily steps that will ultimately take you to the amazing vista at the top of the hill. When you focus on the steps you’re taking each moment, the journey is more pleasant and you actually arrive at your destination more quickly. And, most often, you’ll be gathering like-minded souls who are also seeking the summit. Together we create safety for each other and a joy in the journey none of us could have experienced alone.

Ditch your goals and focus on being present in this moment. Gather the joy that’s here for you now. The gifts you seek are inside of you, ready to be opened now!

Thank you for showing up today. Be sure to forward this to a friend who could use a bit more happiness in their lives.

This article was written by Marti Glenn, Ph.D., Ryzio Clinical Director