This is the time of the year when we see a lot of wonderful, inspirational posts and articles about creating new goals for the New Year. Being a coach, I'm a sucker for that sort of thing. Every year I map out what I call my "Ten Most Wanted List." And, naturally, I aim for the sky. Needless to say, one year later I'm disappointed in myself when all of these wishes don't come to fruition. So this year, I did something a little different.
I created a "What Am I Going to Change" list. I figured there's a reason I'm not achieving all of my goals and I set out to figure out why. With that said, remember that I am a total believer in manifesting ones dreams and desires, so I like lofty goals. BUT, if you have internal blocks and strongly resist your goals they will probably never become a fait accompli.
I started my new process with a tough one. Last year, one of my goal statements was, "I will go to the gym 4 times a week." Ouch! Just thinking about it hurts — that one never happened. This year I asked "what do I need to change about myself in order to introduce more exercise into my life?" This opened the door to exploration and open, honest communication between my left, logical brain and right, creative brain. You see, the logical side automatically goes to the most direct and logical solution: Go to the gym! But the softer, more creative side loves to explore all of the possibilities. After writing, thinking, and a bit of talking to myself, do you know what I did? I quit the gym! That's right, au revoir, hasta la vista, adios to my dear friend, the gym.
I discovered that I don't need to change anything about myself except my thinking. The truth is that I really do enjoy some forms of exercise and in order to introduce more of it into my life I need to look forward to it. Reframing from a goal to a question about change helped me to look the problem right in the eye and find a solution. Problem: I simply don't like going to the gym. Awareness: Exercising is fun if it's something I enjoy and that's convenient. Going to the gym takes hours out of my day, to fit it in I have to replace my morning routine at the coffeehouse, which is productive and enjoyable. And at the gym I'm surrounded by a 100 bodies that are in far better shape than my own! Why would anyone want to torture themselves like that? So I asked myself the next question: "How can I increase my exercise in a way that I really enjoy and look forward to?"
Solution: Yoga, my Nordic Track and free weights, and more walks in the woods with my dogs. I love walking in the woods. It's more like a reward than exercise. I love yoga too, so I asked Santa for a yoga DVD for Christmas. And the Nordic Track is convenient and I can blast my music and sing at the top of my lungs if I want to. Yay! I really like this plan! And, it's working. OK, I know, it's only been a week, but I'm optimistic. Most importantly, I feel a weight off my shoulders because my "Ten Most Wanted List" isn't a "Ten Most Dreaded List" anymore. It's filled with fun, uplifting activities that will change my life in some very significant ways.
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So what will you change? How can you reframe your goals and turn them into something that excites you and will not lead to disappointment in a year from now? Please share!
Marla Tabaka is a small-business advisor who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She has over 25 years of experience in corporate and start-up ventures and speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness.