Why goal-setting isn't the best way to begin creating change
Around the new year, resolutions and goal-setting abound. The diet industry and gyms boom, and I hear clients and students talk about how "this year will be the year."
Have you ever said "this is the year" and then it . . . wasn't?
There's nothing inherently wrong with resolutions and goal-setting, but I don't view them as a starting point when true transformation and dream-creation are the deeply desired outcomes. Rather, let me introduce you to DREAM-scaping!
How big will you DREAM?
(Dreaming BIG can feel scary, like flipping upside down, showing your heart to the world!)
What is dream-scaping?
Dream-scaping is an invitation to dream – wildly, courageously, and expansively. Once you’ve identified your big vision, we’ll clarify details and steps towards it, including not just what you may need to start doing but especially what you must stop doing.
Ready to create your DREAM? Grab some paper and a pen!
Think about what you deeply, truly desire. This can be anything: love, romance, adventure, prosperity, improved health, a fulfilling career – allow yourself to dream BIG. (If you feel a little scared, you’re doing it right!)
Here’s a client example we’ll use to illustrate the process: A couple of years ago, a client approached me to help her lose weight. She had yo-yoed for decades on the scale, gaining and losing the same 20 pounds. She wanted to drop the weight for good this time! She said her primary desire was to lose weight.
As you reflect on your deep desire, begin to refine and clarify your vision. Observe the thoughts that arise. Your mind will probably object to something. Actually, if you’re dreaming really boldly, your brain will yell and want to run away.
Without judging your thoughts, note them. To go deeper, you could ask yourself any of the following:
What would actualizing the dream do for you?
How would your life change?
Who would benefit?
What fears or objections does your brain have against attempting to make your desire a reality?
How important is it for you to progress toward your dream?
Are there other options?
How will you feel if, one year from now, you’ve not moved toward your dream?
Are you willing to get uncomfortable to create your desired life?
Are you ready to devote time to creating your desire?
For my client who wanted to lose weight, she envisioned her entire world opening up once she was her desired size. She'd start traveling, maybe get into the dating scene, and her confidence would increase - she'd actually be living, not sitting on the sidelines!
BUT she wanted to keep her focus external - on which foods she could eat, which foods were "bad," and what type of exercise she should do. She was unwilling to change her mindset about her body, its size and weight, food and nutrition, or how she spoke about herself. Also, she refused to begin devoting time to creating the change she said she so deeply desired. She insisted on waiting a couple of months, when her workload would lighten up.
Once you've refined and reviewed the motivations, thoughts and emotions underlying your deep desire, assess what stays and what goes. What would you have to stop doing to make your dream reality?
In my transformational journey and coaching others, I’ve observed the human default tends to focus on adding more to life. We focus on adding wealth, awards, relationships, new wardrobes, etc. But the constant addition frequently leads to overwhelm and our brains shutting down because they can’t handle doing one. more. thing. We need to give up or release old thoughts, habits and behaviors to create space for our desires.
My weight-loss client ultimately would not create enough space in her mind and life to manifest her dream. An extremely dedicated and hard-working professional, she sacrificed pursuing her own desires in order to be available 1,000% for her employer. While striving toward her desire likely would not have impacted her work performance at all, her financial fears persuaded her to delay her personal goals to "someday" . . .
What would you have to start doing to achieve your desire?
If the actions required to move you toward your dream seem too big or overwhelming, break them down into tiny pieces or baby steps. Write them down, then pick the very first one and focus only on it.
Also, consider whether you need to seek help or support from another person or outside source. You are not in this alone!
Note: This step may also involve omission or inaction like actively breaking a bad habit by not taking the action (like not smoking or curbing your binge-eating).
As you begin your journey, stay mindful of your big dream, including your primary motivators (see your reflection notes). You might create reminders, Post-its, or other visual cues to help you reconnect with your desired life.
Keep yourself in the present, focused on the tiny action you can take now. If you find yourself floating into the future, where your desired change may feel big and scary, bring yourself back to the current moment.
Finally, please give yourself lots of grace on your journey. Big changes take time, but with small, consistent steps, you’ll be amazed how much you can transform, even in a short period!
BONUS: Go deeper by downloading a free Guided Meditation on creating your DREAM by clicking below!
I created this meditation for my Soar in '24! coaching/yoga workshop. For information on upcoming workshops and events, be sure to subscribe to Serenity Sundays.