Goal-Setting 2.0: Energetically Connecting With Your Future Self
Most of us are familiar with the traditional approach to goal-setting, which goes something like this: With as much information as you have access to from whatever circumstances you are living right now, you conjure an image of how you’d like those circumstances to change: Your body would weigh twenty pounds lighter, for example, or your bank account would be a few hundred thousand dollars heavier. Then, with these future circumstances in mind, you set out to identify the changes in your behavior that you believe are necessary to achieve your goal.
At first glance, trying to affect change by setting goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-driven) seems logical enough, and in fact is the approach that people have turned to most often since the mid-1950s, when business consultant Peter Drucker first introduced this acronym. But one has to wonder, if defining a desired result in these terms is a reliable means for producing that result, then why, despite good intentions and concerted effort, do people and organizations consistently fall short?
The fundamental problem with this approach to goal-setting is that it fails to take into account the most significant reason that human beings seek to create improvement in our circumstances in the first place: it’s not the new car or the bigger house or the improved relationship that we’re truly yearning for, but the feeling – of happiness, of freedom, of expansion – that we believe we’ll experience once that circumstance has been attained. It’s the feeling we are really seeking, and the discovery of new resources and insights we will realize within ourselves as a result of having reached that goal.
The key to unleashing the inspiration and motivation necessary to transform both the circumstances of our lives and our experience of ourselves is to establish an emotional connection with the feeling state that we are ultimately seeking. The addition of this emotional component imparts clarity and power to all of our goal-setting efforts.
The word emotion is an adaptation of the French word emouvoir, which means “to stir up.”
When we infuse our goals with the emotion we hope to feel once that goal is accomplished, our actions become inspired, energized, focused and incredibly powerful. Not only do we manifest our desired future result with extraordinary ease, but we feel fantastic at every step along the way. Here are the 3 steps to deliberately designing your desired future in any aspect of your life:
Imagine, Connect, and Expect
The first step is to imagine. In this part of the process, you want to allow yourself to dream as big and as freely as you can so you can begin to conjure an image of this aspect of your life in its most ideal state. It’s important to underline here that what is ideal for you might be completely different from anyone else’s image, and that is perfect! Allow yourself to make this all about you and about what you truly desire, and to release any notions you’ve picked up about what you’re “supposed” to want, and really laser in on what it is that you would like to create for you.
Referring back to the SMART approach to achieving goals, this is the time to be specific, and to define in measurable terms the exact changes you want to make. If your goal is related to greater health and vitality, you want to imagine a future in which you are enjoying a healthy, vital, ideal version of your body, and then look to see what it is about that picture that most lights you up. Is it when you weigh a certain amount or can fit into a particular clothing size? In your ideal vision, is your body shrinking down? Is it becoming more flexible? Is it building more muscle mass, or converting fat weight to muscle? Once you have a clear vision of the specific conditions you want to create, the second part of the process is to “connect” with that vision, so that you feel it in your bones as a reality that is happening right now.
Connecting to your vision is about deliberately accessing the feeling state of already having fulfilled it. So as you bring to mind your vision of this ideal circumstance, imagine yourself making an emotional, energetically connection with this vision. See how vividly you can experience this future reality within yourself right now, in this present moment, by allowing your energy to become one with that vision.
Allow yourself to get in touch with the essence of how you will feel when your future vision is a now-reality. If your goal is around creating greater financial wealth, for example, conjure in your body the emotions that will be present within you when you have that kind of abundance moving effortlessly in and through your life. How will you feel at the end of each month; at the end of each day? Be as descriptive and detailed as possible, focusing on connecting on an emotional and energetic level with this reality. At this point in the process you are just looking to uncover, “What is the feeling that I want to experience?”
The third and final step is to expect that the shifts you desire to make are already in the process of unfolding. Expecting is really about believing: Believing that it’s possible; believing you are capable of creating it; and believing that you are deserving of having it. What we look for we tend to find. Look for evidence that your goals are being realized, and that evidence will assemble around you.
The circumstances of your life right now are a result of who you have been in the past, and how they evolve from here depends entirely on who you choose to become from this moment forward. You could manifest a future that would depress or disempower you, or you could call into being a future for yourself that is awesome beyond anything you’ve ever imagined. You are the one who gets to decide which possibility you are going to invest your energy into. Whichever possibility is the most nourished by your energy and attention is the one that will manifest in your life. Remember – imagine, connect, and expect!
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