Achieving goals makes us feel good. So goal setting is a great thing.
Why then do so many New Year’s resolutions simply stay resolutions and do not actually become real? I believe that it has a lot to do with our focus when setting and working towards reaching our goals and a lack of self-belief.
Goal setting for me is a very important part of my life. It helps me to stay focused and to feel good when reaching my set goals. Many times, however, have I set myself goals and never even came close to reaching them. This is extremely frustrating. Yoga has been a big and important teacher for me in the field of goal setting. It has taught me two important lessons:
- To Believe in myself: I can reach every goal I want if I focus and consistently and patiently work towards them.
- To Focus on enjoying the journey: More important than feeling good when achieving the goal, is the experience and attitude when working towards that goal.
The practice of yoga has taught me that I can reach any goal I want as long as I am patient with myself, believe in myself, practice consistently, listen to myself, be gentle with myself, and let go of assumptions of who I am and who I am not, what I can do and what I can’t do. It is important to always keep the bigger goal as a clear vision in mind, but focus on the path and acknowledge it as a journey that opens the door to growth and development.
Yoga reminds me that we are humans and by nature big and long lasting developments take time. Progress in yoga is gradual; it requires a consistent practice, but also breaks and rest.
The yoga practice is always influenced by my state of mind, attitude, and well- being on that very day. It basically forces me to become aware of myself. Even if I try to push and force myself I won’t be able to stay for example in a balancing pose if I’m feeling unbalanced. I will lose balance no matter how hard I try.
A posture, which requires strength, will be extremely hard on days where I feel weak either physically or mentally.
Focusing during meditation becomes difficult on days where thoughts run through my mind like crazy. So I’ll have to be very gentle with myself and carefully listen to my mind and body.
Every big goal is made up of little steps and small changes. Even the smallest development has profound implications. Mastering a single part of a posture is so important when working towards learning a posture. Just as reaching small goals along the way towards our big goal have profound implications and are achievements that need to be acknowledged by us.
An important ingredient to setting New Year’s resolutions that will actually become real is a crucial mind shift of our focus. When only focusing on the actual goal, we can get disappointed once we achieve that goal. The excitement and pride can only last for a certain time and will leave us after. Most of us know the ‘down’ after reaching a goal. What now, after it has been reached? When we pay attention to the small developments and achievements, we change the entire process and it becomes a journey with many details. This allows us to learn and grow from the process and be satisfied, not just for a while, but also on a deeper, more personal level.
As I have applied this mind shift in the last months, so will I in my New Year’s resolutions in 2016. My focus will be on enjoying the journey and acknowledging the progress and achievements along the way. These very simple, yet transformative ideas have completely changed by my goal achievement experience and I hope they can help you to transform yours.
Happy New Year to all of us. May 2016 bring health,
many beautiful enriching moments and respect and
love towards others and ourselves.