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We have a tendency to believe that we truly desire the things we have been persuaded are desirable, and hence succumb to mindless ambition devoid of genuine enthusiasm. But we don’t know exactly how to set mindful goals.
In fact, it is easier said than done to separate our own aspirations for ourselves from the ideas, beliefs, and judgments of others around us. The solution is to learn to tune within, which is where mindfulness comes in as a critical component in making meaningful goals.
Connection Between Mindfulness and Goal Setting
Our life goals, such as where we desire to go, are quite significant. What do we hope to gain from life?
However, our goals must be coherent with our values, or what we value most, as well as our ethics, or how we work towards that goal. Making money, for example, is plainly appealing for a variety of reasons, but it is not necessarily a goal in and of itself, because we expect the money to provide us with something else.
Our goal may be happiness, and we believe that money will bring us happiness. And sometimes we lose sight of the end objective because we are consumed with the methods to that end.
We’ve become so focused on getting money that we’ve become a little greedy, a little avaricious. Or we may be so consumed with it that we overlook other aspects of our lives, such as relationships and family, and never pause to see that we are actually feeling less and less happy all the time.
As a result, these things that are means are rather different from the goals that we may truly strive for. So goals like happiness, compassion, making a contribution to the world, truly living a valuable life that benefits others, all of these could be goals. Then we must consider what the means are to achieve that goal.
According to a 2020 study, attentive people are better at setting “self-concordant” goals, or goals that are personally relevant and meaningful rather than goals that you feel compelled or obligated to achieve. As a result, we are more likely to feel competent, fulfilled, and connected to others when we pursue these goals.
Strategies Before Setting Mindful Goals
We might chart a course in life that we believe will lead us to that objective, but every day, in accidental ways, we are either working towards that goal or not, in very simple ways. And the way we interact to others on the street or at work may be constantly reinforcing or even undermining those aspirations.
As a result, working towards our goals thoughtfully necessitates paying close attention. Curiosity is required. It necessitates taking time, sometimes for a bit of distance, sometimes for a bit of introspection. This might be quite crucial. In truth, it is really vital, but it is not always urgent. We’re continually putting off other things.
I have things to do, the urgency of daily existence, getting from one location to another. As a result, all of the things that appear to be urgent frequently push the things that are extremely vital to the back burner. That deep introspection is also important in other ways.
We may be pursuing happiness, but we don’t always pause to consider what it entails. Or we may be pursuing freedom while also pursuing things that are making us less free, things that are becoming compulsions, habits, or addictions for us.
One of the most crucial aspects of goals is that they are genuine. We must take responsibility for that aim. We must place a high value on it. We can’t always pursue it if it’s someone else’s intention. We may be attempting to please someone else, but if our hearts aren’t in it, we need to ask ourselves why we’re doing it.
Perhaps it is a worthwhile objective, and we simply need to pause, reflect, and clarify that for ourselves, or perhaps we simply need to be truthful and pause to evaluate which way we truly want to head in ourselves.
5 Steps to Set Your Mindful Goals
Step 1: Discover Your Presence
During difficult times of year (which the holiday season can be for many people), it is critical to be true to your core self and maintain a sense of presence, no matter how hectic life becomes. The term “presence” is formed from two words: “present” and “essence.”
- Present tense: In this very now, right now
- Essence: The deepest connection to the inner root or source; Substance
Maintaining a sense of presence entails remaining connected to your truest self, your essence, in the present moment. Your breath is one of the most powerful tools you have for being present and engaged at the moment.
Step 2: Calm Your Mind
Step 3: Make a connection with your heart
Place one hand on your heart and focus your mind on your deepest desires. Tune in to your essence and be interested in what comes up.
Allow your mind and heart to dance around the domain of potential resolves and dreams—what comes up? Observe the emotions, feelings, and sensations that accompany these desires as they float by.
- Do certain resolutions have a high level of tension? Anxiety?
- Do others arrive joyfully? Excitement?
If certain resolutions have more energy (either positive or negative) than others, stay with them for a time and simply observe what comes to the surface without judgment. Make a mental note of which resolutions and ambitions excite, pleasure, and motivate you, and which depress or tension you.
Step 4: Visualize
Consider for a moment that these desires are already yours. Choose three of the goals that emerged during step three—the ones that you characterized as being accompanied by favorable emotions.
Bring their future realities into your imagination one at a time. Consider for a moment that you have already accomplished your objective, fulfilled your commitment, and found complete success in this area of your life.
Whether your resolution is to obtain your ideal job, lose 25 pounds, find your soul mate, or finish a project, see yourself already there—in the future—having accomplished that goal. Take note of all the intricacies that come with this accomplishment, including how people see the future of you. Spend some time with each of the three resolutions, noticing how you feel in the envisioned future present. In this stage, take your time exploring each of the three visuals.
Step 5: Affirm
Make a note of it! All three resolutions that arrived with favorable emotions should be sealed by writing them down. Not just write down what they are, but also the pleasant emotions that come with having them in your life—the facts, sentiments, and inspiration that they bring. You’ll want to take those feelings into the New Year to drive your own success now that you’ve seen a vision of your life with these goals already met.