Life is perfect as it is. It is perfectly itself, whole and complete, lacking nothing.
That may seem like a funny way to begin an essay on goal setting. "If my life is fine the way it is," you may think, "why bother with setting goals?"
This question betrays a rather desperate attitude toward goal setting, don't you think? It assumes that setting goals is something you do to escape a maze, as if you're a mouse who won't get fed until you figure your way out of the maze. Naturally, when you attach that much tension and anxiety to it, goal setting sounds like a real drag. When you start from the realization that life is already perfect, goal setting becomes something else entirely. Our minds are problem-solving machines; so much so that, even when there are no problems, our minds have a tendency to create them. That would be fine, except that some of us create problems of such drama and intensity; we literally scare ourselves to death with stress-related illnesses.
It's as if we put ourselves on a thrill ride at an amusement park – remote control in hand. We get sick and then forget how to stop the ride. We even forget that we are the only ones that can stop it! But I digress…
Goal setting is not drudgery. It's a better way to keep life interesting; better than creating the drama we otherwise create. Setting and meeting goals is a way to enjoy the adrenaline rush of going into new territory, the thrill of risk, without making ourselves sick and miserable.
Goal setting is even more than healthy amusement, though. It's a way to practice loving our lives and ourselves. We make a commitment, and we keep that commitment, no matter what, and no matter how long it takes.
An author I know was writing her first book, and she faced doubts about whether she’d ever find a publisher for it. Jim, who’d met plenty of creative goals, told her something that put those doubts to rest and re-focused her efforts. He said, "Whenever I’m working on something, the important thing is not to abandon myself during the process. It's not about how anyone else responds to it." The writer realized that she was the one to determine whether her book got published, even if she had to print copies of her manuscript for her closest friends. Her job was to make it the best book it could be. Of course, she found a wonderful publisher.
So how do you determine what goals to set for yourself? Should you build something, plan a trip, or begin a family? Only you can determine that. It's helpful to spend some time each day just with yourself, even if it's just a few minutes. When you take a break from being inundated with other people's goals, you can hear the still small voice within that reveals your deepest longings.
If you're like a lot of people, there's one particular goal you’ve been avoiding all of your life. It doesn't matter why. Just know this: The power to accomplish it awaits only your commitment. If you try to substitute other goals, those goals you think someone else would approve of, you won't have access to all of your power. But if you set the goal you really want, you will find the power to work miracles.
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