There usually comes a point in life when we start to question whether we should be further along from where we are or if we’re even on the right track. Although I think it’s great to recognize that we haven’t got it all figured out, I think most of us fail to acknowledge what we do have figured out. Just because we don’t make the headlines, carry a plaque or wear an “employee of the year” badge doesn’t mean we suck at life and it certainly doesn’t mean we’re not valuable human beings.
When it comes to inspired goal setting, the most important questions to ask are:
1. What is my purpose?
2. How does this present moment relate to my purpose?
3. Am I making measurable progress?
Consider that there’s three types of people in this world: those who are “happy”, those who are “unhappy” and those who are “unsure”. What category would you say you fall under? If you answered “happy” then that’s wonderful, you probably don’t need to read this any further. If you answered “unhappy” or “unsure”, I invite to use this article not as a “one size fits all” way of living, but I invite you to use this as a guide to getting clear on what works for you so that you can live a happier and more inspiring life as you move towards your specific goals in life.
Connecting with Purpose. As a life coach and a student of life, I often meet people who say things like, “I should do x” or “someday I’ll be able to do y” and “if only there was enough time in the day”. But more often than not, the reason we don’t start something right after it comes to mind isn’t because of circumstances outside of us or because there’s not enough hours in the day; we tend to fall short of our goals because we’re simply not inspired by them.
If our purpose, a.k.a “the reason for which something exists or is done” isn’t strong enough, we typically put our goals on the back burner and instead help everyone else reach their goals, and then one day we wake up saying, “where did the time go?” or “how did I get here?”. And if you’ve ever thought that, you know it can be a hard pill to swallow.
On the other hand, when you create goals that are exciting and actually make you want to be a better person, naturally we’re inspired to accomplish them. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to hop out of bed each day when your purpose for doing what you do really turns you on. If you don’t have that, dig deeper into the things you want.
Think of it like this: the stronger the why, the less you have to try.
The definition of “inspiration” literally means “to breathe in”. Sadly, most people don’t even know to breathe correctly. According to the Optimal Breathing School article it is estimated that 10-25% of the US population have unwittingly learned breathing habits that compromise physiology and psychology in ways that trigger, perpetuate, and cause serious symptoms and deficits of all kinds which you can read more about here http://www.breathing.com/statistics-pause_files/school/main.htm.
I also work with some of the most elite and inspiring fitness and health instructors across the board and they consistently talk about and train on the importance of proper breathing and the benefits of doing so.
My point is, inspiration is literally the staple of life. Breathing in is what gives us the drive to stay alive, but what if want to thrive? That’s when you need to more than just exist. That’s when you need to sit down with pen and paper and make a list of “Things I Want to Do, Be and Have in Life” and then go through each one and ask yourself, “why do I want that? What’s my overall purpose behind that achievement?”
As you go through the day, don’t look for motivation–that comes from outside of us. Go for inspiration–the thing that comes from within us. Instead of asking yourself, “What should I do or have to do today?” Ask yourself this, “Given what I’m up to in life and what I want to create, what do I want to do?” and “How can I use this day to move me closer to the things I want in life?”
Presence. When someone is said to be“present” it often means that person is engaged in the moment; not in their head thinking about where they could be, what they could be doing or who else they could be around, they are simply engaged in this moment–what they are doing now, where they are at now and who they are with now–and not wishing to have it any other way.
One thing I’ve notice about people who have a keen ability to live in the present moment is that they’re genuinely happy people. And if you think about it, wouldn’t they be? They’re not attached to the future or the past which means they’re not a puppet to what isn’t within their control, they simply do what they can with what they have in the place that they are.
If you’ve ever watched a person who consistently lives in the present, it’s fascinating; their ability to show up with ambition and eagerness to do the work is quite a show. It seems as if they never have a bad day or get distracted from what they show up to do.
This isn’t to say that we all have to put on a great show, but usually what separates us from being ambitious and eager one day and not the other is often found in the degree in which we accept each moment as it is rather than as it should be and acknowledging what we have over the things we don’t have.
I have no doubt that living in the present moment looks and means different things to different people but if there’s one thing I know for sure that we all have in common is that our ability to get present to the things that matter, our purpose, can be generated by being grateful for what you have while in pursuit of what you want.
As one of my favorite inspirational leaders Jim Rohn once said, “It’s not what happens day by day that determines the major part of your future, it’s what you do with what happens”.
Progress. If I could grant the whole world one wish it would be that every single individual lives with purpose, connects to the present moment and that we all help others achieve greatness as we each achieve our own.
I’ve already talked about what it means to live with purpose, what it’s like to connect to the present moment and now I want to talk about achieving greatness.
Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes and errors in judgement. But it’s the careless act of mistakes and errors in judgement repeated every day that determines whether you fail or succeed in achieving the things you want in life.
Some people like to say that if you don’t hit your goals you must not have wanted it bad enough. And while that could be true to an extent, I believe the biggest reason we fail to achieve our goals is because we don’t acknowledge what’s working and not working.
Most people see progress as “when I lose that first 10 lbs” or “when I reach ______ then I know I’ve made progress.” I’m telling you from experience, if you don’t acknowledge progress every single day, you’ll never learn from your mistakes and errors in judgements and you’ll be more likely to give up, esp. when you’re so close!
Progress is a continual practice, so just do the best you can and do something everyday that you can measure to know that you’re on the right track. If where you were last week was eating fast food 4x a week and this week you only ate out 2x and that was the best you could do this week, give yourself a pat on the back because that IS progress. If you went from saving $0 one week, to $20 the next down to $10 the following and that’s the best you could possibly do, acknowledge that you’re still ahead of where you were three weeks ago and keep trying.
There are many ways to know if you’re making progress but one of the best ways is by writing down your goals and revisiting them on a consistent daily or at the very least, weekly basis and each time you revisit your goals write down what worked for you this week or what didn’t work for you, and then decide what you’re going to continue to do, add or take away the following week.
And always remember:
“No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.” ~Tony Robbins
by Jenna Danger Crull