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Laura Berman Fortgang Headshot

Goals and Souls

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It's still January. How are your goals doing? It's estimated that 45 percent of people have already given up on any kind of new behavior set at the new year. That's okay -- maybe you don't need goals anymore. Maybe your soul has evolved past them.

Goals are like training wheels on a bike. For people with no discipline or focus, goals become the stabilizing force behind which accomplishment is possible. Set a goal, take the action, be persistent, and you'll see results. Goals rein you in. They set you on the path.

Now, where goals become less effective is when you're someone who has successfully used goals to motivate yourself for a long time. There comes a time for a lot of people when goals lose their appeal, and accomplishments need to occur in a more soul-friendly way. No pressure, no stress -- but rather, a gentle approach to growing the expression of your soul.

How do you know if you are ready to let go of setting goals? Likely, you'll be experiencing a disorienting feeling. You'll feel a heavy weight at the thought of setting goals and judge yourself as a slacker for not wanting to use a tool that you've used for so long. It's important to recognize that the conflict is not you losing your mojo as much as it is a sign that you need a new form of container for your aspirations. Goals have become too junior for you.

What comes into play at this point is the soul-friendly awareness of what is trying to emerge. What is calling to you? What is interesting? What catches your attention and doesn't let it go? What matters to you deep down whether or not you can make a living at it and whether or not it's part of your job description?

Shifting out of traditional goal-setting and directing your focus towards less linear strategies, you are laying down your sword of effort and picking up a scepter that attracts opportunity. The power of what you can see as a possibility for the future starts to propel you to take action. You become braver as you get caught up in what you envision. It feels lighter than striving for your previous goals because this one is probably bigger than your own personal needs.

For example, when we set a goal to lose a certain number of pounds, we might use the well-worn 'smart' goal formula. Specific (lose weight), measurable (five pounds), attainable (it's not too far off), relevant (motivating and meaningful) and time bound (by March 1). We can take action and track our weight loss and hopefully reach our goal by the desired date.

In the new way, we might envision great health for ourselves and everyone we come in contact with. We will still take action and make smart choices, but we'll focus on good foods, our attitude, how we deal with others, what we serve in our homes, how we impact well-being for ourselves and others in so many ways beyond just our own waistlines, mastery of the portion control and exercise discipline. We'll get to the goal, we'll affect more people, we'll change ourselves and influence our surroundings and it won't be that hard. Why? Because we got away from the singular focus and got pulled along by the tide of something bigger than just us.

Back to you for a moment, though. If you've already fallen off the regime of change you set for a new year, change tact. Listen more closely to your deepest core and decipher what wants to come forth. Instead of slapping a goal and an action plan on to the answer, sit with it and envision how you have to shift to make it come to be. Include more people? Make an impact through it? Weave it into your life in a new way? Create the change differently than you might through goals and your soul will thank you for it. You'll get results too.

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