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Use This Hack To Actually Achieve Your Goals in 2021

Most of us will look back at 2020 and see a handful of goals we didn’t achieve. Of course, much of that is outside our control; did anyone see a global pandemic coming? But the truth is that a lot of us probably were set up to fail before the year even began.


Why? Many of our goals didn’t actually matter to us. While they may be things we hoped to achieve, when they became difficult, as any worthy goal inevitably will, we realized - consciously or subconsciously - that they weren’t connected to our intrinsic core values. (For more about core values, see this previous post “What Drives You?”)


Making Goals That Matter


When we create goals that are tied to our intrinsic beliefs, we significantly increase the likelihood of achieving them because they are connected to the person we want to be. Rather than external motivators that usually fizzle out, we are focused on executing our goals as part of our growth as an individual, creating an internal motivation much stronger than any superficial reward.


So how do we determine what matters? We’re glad you asked!


The following exercise is a short hack to help you draw out the intrinsic characteristics that are most important to you, and craft your goals so that they are fueled by purpose and authentic motivation.


Step 1: Connect


Think of someone whom you care deeply about, and with whom you like to spend quality time. Then, think of a time - recent or distant - when you were together doing some sort of activity you really enjoyed.


Make this memory as vivid as possibly by trying to relive through your own eyes. Notice where you are. Are you indoors or outdoors? What time of day is it? What’s the weather like? What can you see? Hear? Smell?


What are you thinking about?


Step 2: Reflect


Now, step back and look at the memory as if watching it on a TV screen and focus on yourself. What are you saying and doing? How are you interacting with the other person; treating them; responding to them?


What qualities are you showing in this memory? For example, are you being open, engaged, interested, loving, kind, fun-loving, playful, connected, appreciative, honest, real, courageous, intimate?


What does this reveal about the way you want to treat yourself and others? The sort of relationships you want to build? The sort of person you want to be? What does it tell you about how you want to spend your time?


Step 3: Action


Lastly, return to your goals or resolutions for this year, but look at those goals from this new perspective, using the qualities of the person you want to be that you discovered in Step 2.


For example, perhaps you had a goal to exercise more, and the values that were important to you were “fun-loving” and “connected.” What can you find that will connect your goal - exercise - to your values - fun-loving and connected? Instead of that stale old gym membership you’ll use for a week and toss aside, you might be better served by a dance class or a recreational team sport - activities that will “fire up” by your values of being connected to people whilst doing fun things.


When we connect our goals to what’s really important to us, our chances of achieving them exponentially increase. So, what would you like to accomplish this year? Better yet, what kind of person do you want to be, and how do you want to show up for yourself and others this year?


The exercise is taken from: Russ Harris 2017, www.actmindfully.com.au


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