So many of us find ourselves setting the same goals and New Year’s resolutions year after year. And when we do accomplish a goal, it doesn’t bring us the fulfillment we hoped it would when we set the goal.
Why do so many of us seem to fall into this vicious cycle?
We set goals based on how we think we’ll feel once we have achieved them. How we think we will feel driving the new car or working in the new job or being 20 pounds thinner, or whatever our goal is.
The problem is that often when we finally achieve the goal, it doesn’t bring us the feelings we thought it would. So we start thinking about the next bright, shiny object out there that’s going to do it for us.
That is human nature. It’s our nature to want to grow and have more experiences, so our souls can learn and evolve to higher levels of consciousness.
But too often we get caught up with all the “stuff”: the cars and houses and jewelry and tech gadgets, and think those things will bring us the happiness and fulfillment we seek.
Having those things is great, don’t get me wrong. We’re here, on this planet, to experience – and enjoy – the physical. And that includes all those tangible goodies.
But what happens is after we’ve gotten the “stuff” we think will bring us happiness, joy, contentment, etc., we’re often still feeling the same way we did before.
There’s usually some short-lived jubilation and feeling of accomplishment after achieving the goal. And then it’s immediately followed by, “What’s next?” Like, “Okay, the feeling has worn off. I want it back. What the next thing I need in my life that will make me feel that way again?”
And so the vicious cycle continues. It’s not all bad. We do get to have lots of experiences for our soul’s growth, which is great. But the not-so-great part is that we’re living in a state of almost-constant unfulfillment.
I had a client who had had a Sacred Geometry Activation. And while I do talk about how it increases our vibration, this client became – maybe not obsessed with, but very preoccupied with – his vibrational frequency. He would often email me and ask me to check his current vibrational frequency number.
The thing is, really this is just a number. Yes, it’s a measurement of where you fall on the vibrational frequency scale. But it’s just a number. The goal shouldn’t be to have a number of X; the goal should be to experience the feeling one has when they’re at a higher vibrational frequency.
I share that story with you because, while it looks like that is an intrinsic goal – a goal that would bring you joy and contentment, it is actually an extrensic goal. It’s actually another bright, shiny object distracting you from the true goal, which is to be happy. The number won’t bring you happiness. Being happy will be reflected in the number.
The intrinsic goal is to feel happiness, joy, contentment, fulfillment, etc.
Stop chasing the number. Maybe his goal was to be at 700, so once he’s at 700, now what? If that was the goal, the feeling of accomplishment is fleeting. And then comes the next goal: 750 or 800? Constantly looking for the magic bullet that will bring the joy and contentment we seek.
So, what’s the answer?
If seeking extrinsic goals – even those that look intrinsic – doesn’t bring us the happiness and fulfillment we seek, what will? How do we achieve a lasting state of joy and contentment?
You start with one small thing that will make you feel better – about yourself or your life. Something that will increase your self-confidence, even if only a little.
The thing is, change – lasting change – occurs slowly and incrementally, over time.
Every year, so many of us set our New Year’s resolutions, only to find ourselves setting the exact same resolutions year after year. Why is it that we set these big goals and resolutions, and yet end up in the same place at the end of the year? (In fact, most resolutions peter out by the middle of February.)
The reason why comes down to two things:
- We set big goals and resolutions.
- We set extrinsic goals and resolutions, based on how we think we’ll feel after we have achieved them.
When you want to make a big change in your life, you set a big goal or make a big resolution.
And that’s great. You want to make changes and improve your life. The thing to remember is the way to accomplish these big goals and resolutions is by making small, incremental changes in your life that become habits. When you’ve grounded your goals and resolutions with small and tangible actions you take on a regular basis, you’re much more likely to accomplish those big goals and resolutions.
Here are some ideas of things you can begin doing, to make small changes that end up giving you big results:
- Make your bed every morning. Studies have shown that this one small action can have a big impact on your life. There’s even a very popular book about it called Make Your Bed by William H. McRaven.
- Take a break from social media – or at least spend less time on it. Social media can be great But it is also a huge time-suck. I know I can totally get lost on there, and the next thing I know, it’s 2 or 3 hours later, and I don’t know where the time has gone. Some social media is good. But ask yourself if that’s the best use of your time. Is there something else you could be doing instead – that might help you make progress towards your goals?
- Eat healthy and delicious meals. (Maybe even take a cooking class!) Eating healthy not only helps us feel better physically, but we also feel better about ourselves and our self-confidence increases when we enjoy healthy meals and take better care of our bodies.
- Stop a bad habit… which means you need to create a new, good one to take its place. Research has shown that you don’t really stop a habit; you replace it with a new habit (action) instead.
If your real goal is to be more happy and fulfilled, then you need to do activities that are going to make you feel more happy and fulfilled. (I know, it sounds too simple, right?)
So, ask yourself, “What can I do differently in my life to bring myself joy?” Here are some ideas:
- Having fresh flowers on your table or desk
- Taking a walk in nature
- Enjoying a relaxing bath with essential oils
- Cuddling with your furbaby(ies)
- Spending time with good friends
What activities make you feel happy and fulfilled?
What’s the bottom line?
The bottom line is simple. (Not necessarily easy, but simple.)
- Create small changes in your life that over time become habits. These small changes will bring you closer to your big goals over time.
- Keep in mind the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic goals, when you’re setting your goals. What do you really want? The thing or how you think the thing will make you feel?
- Make a conscious choice about how you spend your time. Choose activities that will bring you joy. Extrinsic goals are a destination. Enjoying the journey is an intrinsic goal that can be nurtured on a daily basis.
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