Okay, I’ve admittedly been on the New Year resolution, change your life, goal setting bandwagon. What the hell is a yogi doing there anyway?
First, let’s start with why yoga and goal setting, sometimes even self-help, are often lumped together. Let me be very clear here: yoga will not solve all of our problems. What it will do is make you more aware of your mind, body, and environment. While this technically propel you forward, it does provide you with a strong platform to know yourself better and take chances. For me, this is the primary reason yoga is often lumped with life changes and self-help. It makes you physically and mentally stronger but allowing you to be more aware.
So why am I on the New Year bandwagon? Well, it is culturally a good time of the year to start promoting stuff. People are more willing to listen about good habits, goals, and ways to make their life better. I suspect this is due to the calendar change for the New Year, which in its own way symbolizes a change. And with that change, a new sense of hope sets it, focused on ideal ways of living vs. reality. Which brings me to my next point: our culture is obsessed with productivity, and goals give you something to be productive for. In this way, goals play to a pathology in our cultural of always achieving, always producing, always pushing, always stressing, always working, and never resting. You need to find balance of producing and resting- otherwise, what is left? Where does it end? Shifting your focus may be what you need to start the new year in a healthy way.
If you want a change in your life, set goals. If you are looking to feel better in your life, try shifting your focus, which may translate to doing less.
Shifting Your Focus to Gocus
I like goals. They help guide you and clarify muddy waters that you may otherwise be floundering in. However, goals will not necessarily make your life better. They simply clarify a path to an achievement. In this way, setting goals a way better than setting resolutions. Resolutions are simply deciding you are going to do something, but they aren’t always rooted in reality. For example, I may decide that I want to change careers. Fabulous- how they hell do you start? You need goals, the stepping stones, to reach the resolution. But these goals also need to have characteristics that are realistic. My favorite way of assessing a goal is to use the RIGHT method, developed by Dr. Jeff Spencer. The aim of this method is to assess if your goal is realistic and achievable, as well as give help you clarify it. Spencer refers to this as Gocus (Goal + Focus), a hyper focus where we can focus on what is in front of us to get something done. A specific objective is important, or a tight, singular point. Our peripheral vision is a landing pad for ideas to see another path, but can also create blindsides. When you see them starting to form, take action to reduce them.
Test you goal against the RIGHT goal criteria. Does it align? If not, how can you reassess and make it align?
R: Relevant (real time, immediate value and defines the contribution we will make to our legacy and for others)
I: Indicators of progress (milestones that help us create a path; help us decide if we should pursue the goal or not)
G : Gravity (magnetism between us and the goal; you should feel some pull or excitement toward a goal)
H: Height (goal needs to have an elevation or value and needs to be in a place where our mind, body and soul feel connected to it). If the goal is too big, we may fear vs. enjoying the action.
T: Time It is the right time to pursue the goal, ad well as the time to execute it, and the time the goal is though of to the end- does it work for you?
Shift Your Focus to Being
I recently read a great Washington Post article about trying less and feeling more human. Perhaps it is the ultimate challenge to just be- not worry about goals, not worry about the future, the past, but just be in the present
Sometimes, doing more in our life isn’t the answer. Being productive does not equate to satisfaction or happiness. If you want a change in your life, set goals. If you are looking to feel better in your life, try shifting your focus, which may translate to doing less. You may be surprised at what you find when you buck the cultural expectation of achieving more and more.