Read the intro to this series here.
If you’ve made a goal or resolution for yourself over and over again, but never made it happen, ask yourself this:
Is your goal actually about what you want?
You may well be thinking that I’ve gone mad at this point: Of course it’s what I want, you think, I chose it didn’t I? I wrote it down? Who else would it be for?
Bear with me here.
Let’s look at a goal you might choose – maybe you want to change career or job, move to the country, lose weight, earn more money. Or you can choose a goal you have already set for yourself.
More than likely, you’ve chosen this goal because you think it will make you happier. You may or may not have realised this when you chose it. (And if you react negatively to that suggestion, you might want to think about why that is – but that’s a whole other topic…)
So let’s start from the other end. You want to be happier. You think that if you change career/move to the country/lose weight/earn more money/other goal you will be happier. So you make a goal to change career/move to the country, etc…
It’s the bit in the middle – the link between being happy and your goal – where things can get a bit blurry. Buried in that middle space can be a whole load of assumptions, often unconscious, unexamined, unquestioned – and often absorbed from others.
Will losing weight make you happier – really? Weight Watchers would have you believe it. Look at all those thin ladies in the adverts, twirling around in front of their mirrors. They look happy don’t they?
Will changing your job make you happier? Totaljobs implies it will, and my friend John says he’s never been happier since he handed in his notice.
Will moving to the country or emigrating really make you happier? All those property and lifestyle programmes and your mate’s travel photos on Instagram make it look that way don’t they?
But TV, advertisers, your friends. They are not you. They have their own agendas, and your happiness isn’t one of them.
Now do you see how your goal might not be about what you want at all?
So how do you check if your goal really is going to make you happier – before you waste valuable time and effort pursuing, and failing at, the wrong goal?
Over the next couple of posts, I’m going to take you through a way to do just that.