Urgh SMART goals, am I right?! Flashback to goal-setting, performance reviews, targets, and uncomfortable conversations about that bonus you were promised!
But, goal-setting can be an important tool in transforming your relationship with anxiety and moving from anxiety-focused future tripping to positively forecasting a future you can look forward to.
During my 90 day programme, we look at goal-setting on a small scale every session, but I also dedicate two sessions specifically to setting goals and getting comfortable connecting with exactly what my clients want and desire in their life – one at the beginning and one at the end, when we complete their personal ‘Blueprint for Anxiety Free-Living’.
Afterall, if you don’t know (or just have a hazy vague idea of) what you want, how can you start taking confidence-inspiring, totally aligned action towards it? And how will you be able to celebrate when you get there?
Some people are resistant to goal-setting for all kinds of reasons – the work connotation is a big one; some feel it’s pointless; but by far the biggest reason not to set goals is that they’ve lost touch with what it is they actually want out of life.
Anxiety can make it difficult to look ahead and see positive things. When you are mired in the ‘fog’ of anxiety, the panic, the negative forecasting, the obsessing, all take over and there is little room for anything else – believe me, I know!
But imagine… if you can dedicate all this time and energy to forecasting and creating negative outcomes, surely you can at least see the potential in redirecting that energy towards the positive?
You (and your vibration) are a magnet for the experiences and outcomes you believe you deserve and devote most attention to. So, why not realign your focus, and create outcomes you desire and that are most beneficial to you?
The first thing I do with my clients is to ask them how they want to feel.
Sometimes, we are so focused on the anxiety, we have forgotten how we want to feel instead.
Get into a relaxed state – however you usually like to connect with your inspiration/intuition – meditate, deep/slow breathing etc. You can check out this meditation to open up your Third Eye.
Grab your journal and write the question “How do I want to feel?” at the top of the page and just free-write – paragraphs, words, sentences, doodles – whatever comes, don’t censor yourself, just get it out and write for as long as you need to.
Then walk away for a little while – an hour or two, or a day – until you feel you are ready to go over what you have written.
Create some time and space to read through everything. Support yourself, and allow yourself to connect and really feel into your words.
Next group the words, phrases, and sentences that belong together. Look for patterns and distill your thoughts down as far as you can – ideally to one single word, which sums up how you would like to feel.
Next, get back into your relaxed state and say the word out loud. Speak it, whisper it, think it – then feel it in your body. How does your body react to that word? A smile might creep over your face, your body might relax, your shoulders unclench.
Really relax into that feeling and sense how amazing it would be to experience this feeling in your everyday life. Picture it – what will you look like? How will you sound? What will you be doing?
This is your ‘Goal Feeling’.
Your anchor when things get tough. Step into this word and the feeling whenever you need to.
My word is ‘Serene’ and it brings such a peaceful smile to my face when I think about it and how it feels.
As soon as we set ourselves a goal – especially if we write it down and really commit to it – we start to weave it into our identity and to believe it. Our confirmation biases come into play and our brain goes off looking for confirmation and ways to make it happen.
The Law of Attraction also comes into play. Focusing on your goals and talking about them in the present tense (as if they have already happened), day dreaming about them, writing them down, visualising them, and holding them in your minds as often as you can, will raise your vibration and start to attract what you want into your life in wonderful and unusual ways.
SMART goals have their place, don’t get me wrong, but they bring back so many negative memories for me, I wanted to find something else that could work just as well, without all the corporate baggage!
I researched lots of different goal-setting models (yep – there are plenty out there!!) and tried them out on myself until I found two which I thought seemed the most useful.
I go through both of them in my programme, but based on the fact this is a blog, not a book!!!! I’ll just look at my favourite here!
Yes – WOOP! Even the acronym feels positive!
W — Wish – Wish something you want to accomplish for real, one that’s exciting, challenging, realistic.
O — Outcome – Imagine the best outcome of your goal, and sense how would the outcome make you feel.
O — Obstacle – Imagine the personal obstacles that prevent you from accomplishing your goal.
P — Plan – Make an ‘if/then’ plan to name an action you could do if your obstacle occurs.
For example, you might want to set yourself the goal of getting up early every morning and completing your meditation and gratitude practice. Your WOOP goal (I just like saying it!!!) could be:
“I get up at 6am every day and complete my meditation and gratitude practice. This makes me feel connected and switched on – ready to have the best day, achieving everything I set my mind to. Sometimes though my bed is so warm and cosy – I don’t want to leave it. So, if I falter, I will use the 54321 method to jump out of bed and drink the lemon water I prepped the night before, so I can hydrate and feel great!”
Now, doesn’t that just sound wonderful?
So, have I convinced you goal-setting isn’t just for work?!
What could your ‘Goal Feeling’ or ‘Anchor Word’ be? And what would be your WOOP goal?
I’d love to hear if you try either of these exercises and whether they help you connect more fully with a future you can feel really positive about.
If you would like to understand more about how goal-setting could get you started on the journey to transforming your relationship with anxiety – WOOP! Drop me a line and let’s connect. Or jump into our Facebook Group and join the conversation there.
Hi there, my name’s Kathryn and I’m an Anxiety Release Coach at My Chakra Life.
My mission is to help open-minded professional women who want to transform their relationship with anxiety so they can fall back in love with their work and life.
Over the last ten years, I have honed and tweaked the tools and techniques which worked for me, into my three-stage Anxiety Release Process:
Why not join us in our Facebook Group – our community for creative, professional women learning to live anxiety-free, reconnect with their inner-selves, and shine in their career or business with conscious, calm, confidence.
Or you can download my guide: ‘Journal your way to CONSCIOUS, CALM, CONFIDENT‘ to give you a little ‘Consciousness Jumpstart’!