Let’s face it, we all love making goals for ourselves. Whether you are vowing to lose 15 pounds or committing to drinking only on the weekends, there is nothing like picking a challenge out of the sky, claiming it as yours, and then rocking the shit out of it. Having a goal brings back control to our lives; goals define potential pathways to our dreams and most importantly, reinforce our belief in ourselves.
And yet, despite how giddy they initially make us feel, sometimes our goals are really hard to achieve. After all, they have to battle habits we’ve spent yeeeeears building. For some challenges that means climbing over a 2-foot wall, while for others we need some rope, a spotter and Jesus on speed dial.
How to Achieve Your Goal
Experts say you should safeguard your goals by doing things like making measurable metrics, being super intentional or telling a lot of people about them (which I’m actually a little iffy on). They’re all fine tips, really. But there’s actually one step that, if you spent some serious time working on in the beginning, might end a world of temptation for you in the future.
So here’s the secret: if you want to give your goal some serious momentum, simply know why it will make you a happier person in the first place. When we define a goal based solely on why it would make us couch-jumping happy, versus what would make somebody else happy, we give ourselves a natural fuel that will burn bright until we succeed. And that’s not to say we shouldn’t do something because it could make someone else pleased. That’s fine to do, so long as doing so would make us happy as well. It’s a simple task really, but a hefty challenge none the less.
A Classic Example
Here’s a classic example of this rule, not applied. You just found out that you will be at the same party as your ex — who has rightfully earned a place in the Guinness World Book of Assholes. And since your break-up, let’s say, you’ve been going HAM on anything that just came out of a deep fryer or has cheese melted on top. Naturally, you want to erase these sins before the party, and you immediately build an aggressive weight-loss plan that you c&p’d from all your favorite Google searches at 2am. (Not judging, though not recommending either.) For a minute, the plan works. But few lemon juices later, you’re hungry, you’ve already cheated with old, stale take-out crackers, and all you can think of is the Mc Donald’s dollar meal (which isn’t even a dollar anymore). A week or two later you’ll be back to this:
So what happened? There was no YOU in that reasoning. There was never any defining why losing the weight would make you – and only you – absolutely happy. You were so quick to scramble together a plan out of fear of not being good enough again and of judgment about how you’ve been coping with your break up, that you didn’t make a space to see how every inch of the weight-loss climb would be actually worthwhile to YOU.
The Rules Applied
When we know why our goals will actually make us happy, we fortify the connection to our spirit that’s constantly fighting all these temptations for us. I would love to say that in this case, if you only realized how having a healthy body would make you truly happiest, that it would be all the motivation you would need to succeed. But I won’t, because let’s face it— sometimes just the look on their face and their jaw on the ground IS all the motivation you need. Though I do encourage doing a little more work than that for extra sticking power.
For instance, ask:
Why would it feel good to see their jaw on the ground?
Because when they dumped me, it was the most painful thing ever! I felt like shit for weeks, and I still feel kinda shitty. But now I’m so annoyed with crying every day and buying new jeans every month, that I just kinda want to stop all this. I think I would just be really proud of myself if I do this. I want to be me again.
Sounds good. Do you, Boo!
See what I did there? By not being motivated by negative thoughts like anger or fear, you’re able to change the view of your goal through the lens of what’s most important to you. A Shake Shack burger couldn’t compare to your Green Power Smoothie because you know you are tasting a love you have for yourself again — with every piece of kale that gets stuck in your teeth. Tedious, but worth it.
So give it a try! Maybe you’ve made yourself a New Year’s resolution this year or there’s a goal already in motion that’s really starting to dry hump the last of your will power. Whip out a pen, throw on some tunes, and get down to the business of asking yourself “why.” It’s a simple tool, but it will serve you even better than you think.