Traditional goal-setting is all about determining what you want and taking consistent action, until you achieve it. It’s an approach associated with the ‘warrior’ mind-set, overcoming challenges, pushing through ‘no matter what’ and striving until you arrive.
This approach is useful if you are a novice when it comes to personal development work, or if you are trying to bring a sense of proactivity into your life. It can also be effective for breaking down big goals into smaller chunks and establishing new empowering habits.
In the West, particularly in the US, this acquisition approach has been dominant. Society on the whole admires and rewards those who apply the science of achievement, even if they have to tread on a few people’s toes to get what they want. At an extreme, it’s an approach that could be summarised by the Malcolm Forbes quote – ‘he who has the most toys wins.’ (note the pronoun!)
Of course these high-achievers, focused on their desired results have contributed greatly to society. But there can be a shadow side to this approach. If some people are labelled ‘successful,’ or ‘winners in life,’ then it presupposes there are the ‘unsuccessful,’ ‘the also-rans,’ ‘the losers.’ This is a notion that doesn’t sit well with me. If someone is not achieving a certain level of success (usually defined in financial terms) they are often deemed weak, unmotivated, lazy or a failure. For me, people are always doing their best with the knowledge, awareness and resources at their disposal.People are always doing their best with the knowledge, awareness and resources at their disposal. Click To Tweet
So what’s the alternative?
In recent years, manifesting and harnessing the Law of Attraction, has become my preferred approach to ‘goal-setting,’ or as I call it ‘setting my intention.’ It sits more neatly with my spiritual awareness and world view. Plus it is far easier and less stressful.
The Law of Attraction’s central beliefs are ‘like attracts like,’ ‘thoughts are energy,’ and ‘we don’t attract what we want, we attract who we are (the energy we vibrate.)’ This philosophy is more Eastern and is concerned more with ‘being’ not ‘doing.’ For me, the approach is about harnessing the power that creates worlds. Think of the farmer planting seeds. Does the farmer do they growing? No, life, the Universe, God, Divine energy whatever you label it, does the growing. The farmer decides what seeds to grow, ensures they are watered and nurtured and co-creates with Life.
Many people get confused (as I used to) in that they attempt to use the Law of Attraction as a tool for acquisition. They see it as another strategy for getting stuff. Whereas the Law of Attraction is really a way of being, engaging with the world from a place of trust and faith. I’m sure you’ve experienced those moments when you just knew you would win a raffle, get a parking space, or bump into someone you’d just thought about. It’ about knowing, not hoping. In this regard, I’m reminded of the Bible quote – ‘happy are those who don’t see and yet believe.’ (John 20:29)
The acquisition approach to goal-setting goes something like– if I have more money, I will be able to do more of the things I enjoy doing, and then I will be happy. The equation is Have, Do, Be. However the Law of Attraction works the other way around. If you can be right now the person you would be when you achieve your goal or acquire the object of your desire, then it’s that energy that attracts the good things into your life. So the equation is Be Have Do.
“We are not chasing the goal, we are chasing the feeling we want on achieving the goal.”
Ironically, behind every goal we have is a request to feel more of a positive emotion – love, fulfilment, happiness. If we can tap into that emotion now, (because we already know what it feels like, if we didn’t we wouldn’t know its absence) then we are harnessing the power of the Law of Attraction. What the heart wants to feel is a more powerful motivator than what the head or ego wants to achieve.What the heart wants to feel is a more powerful motivator than what the head or ego wants to achieve. Click To Tweet
Of course, it’s not just about wishful thinking, action is required, but a certain type of action known as inspired action. (The last six letters in the word ‘attraction’ spell ‘action!’) We all had those days when it feels like you’re pushing a rock up a hill, whilst on other days everything you touch just works out. The former might equate to using a spade to chip away at digging a hole. The latter is having the spark of inspiration to call an acquaintance who lets you borrow a digger. Inspired action is a bi-product of head, heart and soul alignment and will feel exciting. Action that feels like drudgery will usually be counter-productive. When it comes to taking action, I don’t want to feel like I’m wading through treacle, I want to swim downstream.
As I often say to audiences, the number one reason why people don’t get what they want is that they don’t know what they want. Closely followed by they don’t believe that what they want is possible for them and are therefore not open to receiving. But with these two approaches to ‘goal-setting’ available to us, my invitation to you is to try them out. Gather some evidence and see not only which one works best for you, but which one feels better, because ultimately it’s not only about the feeling of achievement, but feeling great in the process of achievement.
You might also enjoy – Success – A modern definition