Are your traditional routes to goal achievement working? Our guest blogger Susie Dennis explores different routes to developing new goals.
It’s January, my inbox is full of ‘Goal setting’, ‘Intention setting’, ‘Starting 2019 with some sort of lofty resolution’. 2019: make a list of 19 goals. Join us on a 40km or 80km challenge. Linking to Apps with no direct social interaction. I am exhausted looking at it!
We write our lists, set goals, but how do we go about achieving them? There are no added pages for strategy. The rules are not given for how to ‘overcome’ all the excuses. No guidelines for the small steps in between Zero to Hero. Is the “hero’ a list of ‘stuff’, new car, job, place to live, holiday? Is it a list of learning? Courses to attend, interests to take up. Is it is a ‘health list’, loose weight, eat healthy, more exercise, I ‘should’ start: running, yoga, meditation?
Into the fourth day and already the focus has shifted, I can’t start my diet — there is too much cheese to eat up, can’t waste it. It is too cold to start running. The New Year sales are too good, preventing control of finances. Inbox at work is too full, meetings to attend. Only a couple of days until the kids go back to school, wanting to spend time with them.
How can I cope? Is there a better way?
A linear approach to goals
Do you visualize the path to get there? Is it linear? Direct? Focusing purely on one goal, blinkers on, until it is achieved? During this time all other interests can and do go to the wall, until the goal is met. All the perceived obstacles are ignored.
Then what? If it is a diet, or exercise we all find it difficult to maintain a ‘normal’ lifestyle. It very quickly becomes un-sustainable and we revert back, whether it is after the goal is achieved or when under stress. The ‘change’ is not embodied.
The goals around ‘stuff’, once attained becomes ‘so what’, what’s next, what can fill the gap? The next thing of the ‘stuff’ list.
Or cycles to obtain goals
If we use the strategy of ‘cycles’ to obtain the goal, the goal may take a little longer, the focus is variable. Up and down, not completely obliterating other things in our lives, but then again not balanced. When the goal is in focus, everything else falls into the background.
Will the goal change our lives forever? Or when under stress, external events take over, and the goal and intention is lost.
To be successful (to achieve a ‘goal’) one of the above must go, to be really successful two things must go? We have all experienced setting a goal, a diet, a health goal, the family do not enjoy what we eat, and we don’t see friends, for fear of ‘dropping off the wagon’. If you have career aspirations, the family may never materialise, (to busy to look for a partner), or Health and Family are neglected.
Yoga is different — it supports a Spiral approach
In the practice of yoga, we may set an intention, and put it to the side. We do the work, but are not attached to the outcome, keeping ourselves, present, open and awake to other opportunities, experiences that may come our way.
What if we change our mindset, from linear, or cyclic, or even the see-saw balance view, those seeking a ‘work life balance’, to that of a Spiral. The path we walk along becomes a Spiral, with each revolution, the Spiral becomes larger, encompassing a broader range of experiences, flavours and people.
So what if you use a spiral approach?
- How does the setting of goals stack up now?
- How does the goal strategy look to you with this lens?
- How does it feel to give yourself permission to go up and down the Spiral?
So with a Spiral approach, we become the path and the path we become is always successful.
The map is not the Territory. The map is a flat piece of paper, the lines are flat, it is not real. The Territory, is sometimes flat, sometimes hilly, sometimes with rocks, all making for a more interesting pathway. A pathway full of magic, challenges, and with all the people involved along the way full of kindness, laugher, and love.
Practicing yoga enables us all to take those small steps, becoming aware of those marginal gains, allowing our Spiral to become wider, broader, brighter, whether ascending or descending, perhaps spending a little more time on one particular revolution. The path that we become is one of constant achievement, as we achieve we continue to flourish in all the areas of our lives.
© S. Dennis, January 2019
Our very dear yoga teacher and friend Susie Dennis has written this blog for Coach Mentoring Ltd. Susie holds a Bsc (Hons) P.G.C.E M.B.A BWY Dip TT, Y.A. and is a structural yoga therapist. www.ilkleyyogacentre.co.uk