Ah yes! Setting goals. Those elusive things that are sometimes called resolutions. Or to do lists. Sometimes those goals are wants. Sometimes they’re needs. Or dreams. Sometimes they are personal, sometimes business related.
Schools often tout the necessity of setting goals as do most self help programs. They tell you that you must have clear, written and definable goals. They tell you that goals are dreams with a deadline and myriad other things.
Well, I’m going to tell you they’re all wrong.
Ok… not completely wrong. Just not right for our discussion. 😉
Goal setting in the traditional sense can be counter-productive so my aim here is to teach you a new way of setting goals that will help to sky-rocket your success enabling you to actually achieve the goals you set.
About five years ago, I participated in a class where Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” was read and discussed as part of the curriculum and that is, in part, where my system came from. It is bits and pieces of things I’ve done over the years that I’ve melded into a complete package. This system works well for myself and many of my clients. I hope it works well for you, too.
If you’ve read many of my other articles, you know I’m a big advocate of writing things down and this will be no different. There is physical as well as psychological advantage to writing things down. You have probably noticed this phenomenon in your life already when you write notes or reminders to yourself about things. Perhaps the simple act of writing it down helped you remember it and thus you didn’t even need the note in the end.
And so that’s the foundation of this system. Writing things down.
Now having said all that, let’s talk about goals. What are they? What purpose do they serve?
In answering these two questions, I think we can likely answer any other questions you might have about goal setting as well.
Put simply, goals are things we’d like to do or things we feel have to do for one reason or another. But let’s define it one step further as I want to demonstrate that goals are not the same thing as to-do lists. However, I do believe goals are akin to dreams.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, a goal is:
That definition suits our purposes fairly well but let’s define it more in depth. A goal is a target, an aim, an intention. And intention is what we are going to focus on. Intention means:
The trouble with goals in the traditional sense is that others who mean well tend to shove the trend down the throats of their students, followers and readers. As a result, the thought of goals has become synonymous with anxiety, frustration and half-heartedness. Intentions on the other hand, don’t have those connotations. Therefore, we’re going to refer to this from this point forward as Intention Setting or Setting Intentions rather than goals. Ok? We’re going to eliminate the term “goals” from our vocabulary.
The word intention, as noted above in Webster’s definition, gives us a clear picture – it tells us that an intention is an aim that guides action. And that is why I prefer intention over goal. We can create an image that evokes action, not just a direction.
So – intention setting is actually very simple. There are a couple of different exercises we will use to define our intentions and reach them. Let’s start with the basis of the system – notebooks.
Now, I suggest getting a couple of small spiral bound notebooks. Each one will have a different purpose so you will need at least two for this system. I prefer the small size that are about 5.5×7 or so but you can certainly use any size you like. I find the smaller ones are easier to tuck into my purse or bookbag.
The first notebook we’ll talk about is one for capturing notes and thoughts. I call it my daily pearls notebook as it’s where I capture those “pearls” of thought that might otherwise get lost or forgotten. Keep it handy, take it wherever you go so that when you think of something you want to remember, you can write it down easily. You can use it as sort of a day planner type of thing as well, writing down important appointments and such for the day. Since you will carry it with you, it eliminates the need to lug around a huge daily planner. Use it to jot down names and phone numbers of contacts as well as notes about conversations you’ve had with others. You can transfer items to your calendar and address book as appropriate.
I use my daily pearls notebook to capture everything from website addresses and phone numbers to thoughts and notes on articles or topics I want to write about and everything in between. At the end of the day, I transfer items to their appropriate place – calendar, address book, idea journal (we’ll talk about this later), or wherever it needs to go. This way, I only have to carry one item with me instead of several. Each day, I write the date on the starting page for that day. It also acts as a running journal and time-keeper. And I even use it to keep track of what I spend and where, sort-of like a checkbook register. There is no specific structure for your daily pearls notebook (some people call it a tidbits notebook). Use it however is comfortable for you.
The second notebook is the substance of the system. It’s where you’ll record your intentions and plans. Anything you’ve thought of and have written down in your daily pearls book that you intend to accomplish can be transferred here as well. This is where you record your dreams, your ideas and those “lofty” goals – the stuff of your daydreams. And this is where we will spend the bulk of this lesson.
I don’t really have a name for this notebook though for the purpose of this lesson, we’ll just call it the intentions notebook.
So – get out your intentions notebook and let’s make our very first list. Write down everything you have ever wanted to do or thought about doing no matter how far-fetched it might seem. Write down everything you’ve ever dreamed about being, doing or having. If you want a new house, write it down. A new car, write it down. Better health insurance, write it down. To lose weight, write it down. Becom a pilot, write it down. Learn the oboe, write it down. You get the idea – just write everything down. The only two criteria are writing things in detail and writing it in the present tense. (Some schools of thought say you should describe everything in as much detail as possible and others tout just writing down the basics. I’ve done it both ways but I prefer to use as much detail as possible.)
For example, let’s say one of the things you want is a Chrysler PT Cruiser. Rather than just writing “I have a Chrysler PT Cruiser” you write out the details – “I have a blue Chrysler PT Cruiser with leather interior, all power options, a sunroof, 6 disc CD changer, XM satelilte radio, cruise control and a GPS system.” Also notice the present tense… “I have” as opposed to “I want”. There are 2 reasons for this – one is that it helps you get into the feeling of actually having the item and the second is having is a stronger emotion than wanting. When you want something, there is nothing definitive. It’s open ended – you only want it… you don’t intend to have it. Does that make sense?
Now, take a few moments and write everything down in the present tense with as much detail as you possibly can. Describe it so vividly that you can see it in your minds eye. You want it to be so vivid and so real-feeling that your mind goes to work with the Universe in attracting what you’ve asked for.
Earlier I mentioned that there are two reasons for writing everything down in detail but there are actually three. . . the third reason is that it makes it easier for the Universe and the Law of Attraction to work with you in reaching your intention.
Once you’ve written something down, you don’t have to write it down again unless the details change. However, others might tell you to write your top goals out every day. That’s fine if you’re so inclined but it isn’t required. Instead of writing it out every day, consider simply reading your lists and notes and meditating on how you will feel, what you will do and say when you have reached those goals. Act as if you’ve already accomplished them. Get into that feeling of having those things or being those things. In many instances, visualization has more impact than repeatedly writing it all out.
A final note . . . This is important, so pay attention. I would just like to caution you of one thing.
And that is this — don’t be attached to the outcome or the how. Refrain from controlling how, when and where things happen. Simply write them down, let go of them, and give the Universe the space to bring those things into your life. When you try to control any part of the act of manifestation, you actually end up with the opposite result. Instead of attracting your desires, you repel them, push them away. It then takes longer to reach you. Guaranteed.
Your job is to wish, to dream, to believe, to trust.
Leave the outcome and the how to the Universe.
Have fun creating your intentions!
This article is just the beginning of what’s possible and though I’ve condensed it down into an easy to read and follow dialogue, it certainly isn’t a complete course. If you’ve enjoyed this article and would like more in depth information on this subject, consider purchasing a copy of my upcoming book “Everlasting” due out in Spring 2006. To be included on my advance notice list, please send me your name and email address and I’ll make sure to let you know the minute it’s available.
Blessings for our greatest good,
Annie Anderson is a life coach, writer/designer and investor.
You can find out more about Annie and her work by visiting her
website. Simply click here. This article is not for publication
without obtaining written permission from the author.
All rights reserved. Copyright 2006 Golden Pearls Publishing.