Setting goals, by definition, it’s something we do by focusing on the future. It means we choose an objective and we plan to achieve it in a specific time frame.
Goals are a great thing. They are the inspiration we need to improve ourselves, to get ‘better’. They are a like the light of a lighthouse that guide us to success through the fulfilment our wishes and desires.
The problem arise when we become so focused on the end results that we constantly project our mind in the future, constantly making comparison between our vision and the actual situation.
“I’m following the diet and I’m doing my daily exercises… why I haven’t lost any pound this week?” Or “why I still can’t fit in my favourite shirt??” You can almost feel frustration rising just by reading this sentences.
Often in those cases, the daily tasks we perform to reach our goals, start to become annoyances rather than happy steps toward our objective… we tend to be bothered and the goal become a duty, instead of being a pleasure.
What can we do to become proficient goal achievers?
The first thing we need to ask ourselves when it comes to goal setting is:
Is this what I REALLY want?
Is our objective something we choose to achieve our real needs and hopes, or it’s something we feel obliged to commit to?
“Am I losing weight because I really need it or because I feel the need to subscribe to a beauty standard? If the latter is the case, is this standard something it’s coming from me or from society?”
“Do I want to make more money because I need it or because I’m subscribing to my parent’s belief that winners have a Mercedes SLK and losers have a FIAT Panda?”
By choosing goals that are balanced and in harmony with our core and identity, we’ll more likely be sincerely engaged in the fulfilment of those objectives.
Even when we establish goals we truly care about there still can be the risk of falling into dynamics that can jeopardise our results, leading us to be even more frustrated.
The key for success when it comes to goals is never forget to pay attention to the present by being mindful.
Mindfulness means exactly this.
You focus and engage fully with any act you are performing at the present moment while understanding the long term intent that inspires the act.
Let’s go back to the example of losing weight.
When you focus exclusively on the end result we already noticed that often frustration arises, with that frustration comes missteps, than guilt, then you delete your gym subscriptions and go straight to MacDonalds.
What if once we establish the goal of losing 10 kg in 6 months, and all the daily tasks we need to perform to achieve it, we simply pay attention to what we are doing in the present moment?
Let’s say you’re in the gym, doing your 10 push-ups; try focus on your breathing, on the crunching of the muscles you’re using and focus on the experience you’re living now.
Mindfulness is the act of using willingly your mental ability to fuel your experiences in the moment.
Focus and concentration on the now makes these experiences fulfilling and meaningful, no matter what you are doing.
However to make the experience even richer, and keeps you motivated, keep in the back of your mind the end goal, let it be a beacon of light that guide your steps.
That’s how present and future become synergic: by focusing on the now, we manifest the goals for the future, until the future becomes the present and we are ready to set new, exciting goals.