You can't go far in the coaching and self-help world without falling over someone telling you that you must "define your goals".
It's one of the golden rules of getting what you want: defining your dreams on paper, repeating them over and over, and turning them into your reality.
After all, the logic goes, we can't chase after what we can't see.
AND YET. Despite being a love coach myself, who truly believes in the positive power of looking forward not back, I also know that there is immense value in stopping with the damn goals, just for a second. I know, SACRILEGE. But hear me out.
Here are five reasons to stop writing those goal lists and making those vision boards, just for one hot second.
1. Give yourself the fire to burn
Lists, coaching, and figuring out what you want doesn't have to be all doom, gloom, mental 'blocks' and visualising what hasn't happened yet. It can also be about giving yourself a massive - and probably much-needed - pat on the back, and making a big list of things you've already done that you're proud of.
If you're in a shit space and not used to congratulating yourself for anything, this will feel difficult at first, but everything - from getting up in the morning when you're depressed, to getting your university degree or walking away from a bad relationship - counts.
This will be the rocket fuel to your fire when things feel tough. Just start writing and don't stop till you've got to at least 20. Bonus points for 100.
2. Shoot up with positivity
"Sometimes, it's necessary to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy" - nope, that's not me, it's Guillaume Apollinaire, but I think the guy was on to something.
In today's constant world of not feeling good enough, and never feeling like we've achieved what we thought we would have, writing an actual physical list of our achievements to date can be a great way to immediately inject some "fuck yeah" positivity into our day. For that moment of reading the list, we can breathe out, stop striving to be better for a second, and just be.
If life feels overwhelming, this list is concrete evidence that you can do hard things. You have before, as the list proves; so you will again.
3. Kill comparisonitis dead
Comparisonitis - the absolute arse of the online world, where you get stuck in a vortex of comparing everything about yourself to everyone else - is, as they say, the THIEF of joy. It's impossible to be happy if you're constantly stuck comparing how thin you are or how many Likes or followers you have or whatever other shit. It's so easy to do, but man is it dismal.
If you're happy as hell with what you've already achieved (and even if you're not, you've accepted it and are working to change/improve it), then you won't be as vulnerable to feeling crushed someone else's successes. You'll look at someone else's achievements and feel genuine joy about and for them.
You can bathe in their golden success glow, and remember what it feels like for when you finally find it yourself.
As Emily Williams often says, instead of letting jealousy consume you, acknowledge it and use it as a helpful signpost towards what you really want in your life. Because we don't get jealous of people who have what we don't want.
4. Know 'perfection' doesn't exist
You know what? Let's also just take a second to realise that it doesn't matter how well you do, you will probably always have days where it doesn't feel enough.
I saw a post on Instagram today, by an incredible woman who has nearly a million super-interested followers who adore her, and who has made her name by being amazingly kick-ass, saying that despite her soaring success, she still gets panic attacks about not being good enough and everyone not liking her stuff.
So, I mean, fuck, underneath it all, the point is, we're all worth it and human and doing our damn best, no matter how many Instagram followers or Likes or friends we have or don't have. Rather than race to the bottom or top or wherever we think we're going, let's just focus on the here and now, and feel joy for everything we already have, because it's all we DO have right now.
The only way is up and up and up (thank you, Coldplay).
5. Realise there's enough for everyone
The only thing coaches talk more about than 'goals' is 'abundance', which is a fancy word for "there's enough success for everyone to go around, OK!?" As the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats.
Writing a list of achievements you're proud of, rather than things you haven't done yet, can be an awesome shortcut to plugging in to that can-do, overflowing-with-potential mindset. Noticing your own successes (big or small) and those of others, rather than focusing on all the things you haven't done yet, is absolutely key - paradoxically - to getting what you actually want. It's proof that you have all the strength you need inside you already, and that you can notice the good stuff as well as the bad.
So stop getting so hung up on the goals and the vision board already. Yes, by all means, write down what you're running towards. But don't forget to feel awesome about what you've already travelled through. That's part of the journey, too, ya know.
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