How Can I Define And Implement Sustainable Goals?
A guest article by Lena Luisa Brabender
I don't know about you. But now it's February yet again – it felt like in the blink of an eye, the month was over. Maybe the first New Year's energy boost has already faded? Or are you still fully motivated? Here's a little opportunity to check in with yourself for a minute. How are you doing? How are you feeling? If you have set yourself special goals for this year and actually want to achieve them, then this article is just right for you. I would like to give you a few tips and tricks on how you can sustainably define and implement your goals.
Let's get started. Take a piece of paper and a pen and write down a few goals for this year. Do it spontaneously, from your gut, without thinking about it or evaluating it. I recommend 3-5 items. We will come back to them later and see if we can make them even more sustainable and easier to implement.
First of all, I would like to go a little deeper and explain to you why it can be so difficult to be motivated to pursue your goals at all times. Because you can't hold on to your old feelings and create a new future – that's a fact. Your brain is a record of the past.
But what does that mean?
If you think the same thoughts, make the same decisions, engage in the same behaviours, repeat the same experiences that shape the same networks of neurons into the same patterns and then create the same emotions – then your brain becomes wired into a signature. So if you don't define yourself by a vision bigger than yourself, and if you don't get excited about and emotionally feel and experience that vision and its goals, then the old hardware of the past will get stuck in your mindset, and you will be predictable in your life.
Beobachte deine Gedanken erneut. Wo liegt dein Fokus? Denkst du ständig daran, was du noch nicht hast, was du noch nicht weißt oder was noch nicht so ist, wie du es dir wünschst? Kleiner Tipp: Ständig an das zu denken, was fehlt, bringt dir nur noch weniger.
Many people spend most of their lives talking about why they will never achieve their future vision and goals. Because of a past experience. Does this sound familiar? If so, you can change it right now. You have to start with yourself. This is actually the most important point when it comes to defining your goals, desires and direction. Take some time and answer a few questions that relate solely to you and your personality.
1. Who are you? Write down a few "I am" statements.
2. What makes YOU up as a person?
3. What and who do you want to reach with your voice?
4. Why do you care, why is it important to you?
In the next step, we will look at your values. If you need some ideas, just type "values" into Google. Write down the words and values that seem important to you or that you can most identify with
My top 3 values, for example, are freedom, connection and authenticity. Knowing and being able to name your values is one thing, but what do they mean to you? What does "freedom" mean to you? To me, it doesn't just mean travelling, seeing the world and being financially independent, but it can also be adapted to other areas. To have the freedom to dress the way I like, to express myself the way I like and to write the rules in my business.
As you can see, there's a lot behind a few words. And it's exactly this awareness, this information, that we need to make your goals achievable and tangible. This way, the motivation comes from yourself, from your inner drive and not from external influences, opinions or ideas.
Now, here comes the fun part, are you ready? You now have collected points about yourself and your values. Now come back to your goals that you wrote down at the beginning and analyse them. Do your goals match YOU and your VALUES? Where in your goals do you find parts of your personality and of what you value in life?
Here is another example: At the beginning of the year I set a goal to myself to be present more often. In my business with my clients, but also with my family and friends. To realise this, I wanted to meditate at least ten minutes a day. Then I looked at how the goal matches ME. My "I am" statements often say: I am curious, full of life energy and a pleasure person. Having these qualities in mind reaffirmed me in my goal. Meditating daily and becoming present will reassure me even more.
Does it also match my values – freedom, connection and authenticity? Definitely. When I practice presence, the connections with my fellow human beings will strengthen, as will authenticity towards myself and others. Through this small practice, I don't just see the task of having to meditate for ten minutes every day. I see the big, whole picture and connect strongly with my future vision. I want to feel light, free and relaxed, and I think this goal and this task will contribute to that.
Perhaps you might want to sit down and redefine your goals now. Try to include your personal qualities, preferences and values. A few more questions that may be helpful:
• Who are YOU in the whole picture?
• How will you feel when you have reached your goal?
• What stands between you and your goal?
• What needs your attention to close this gap?
• What are small daily steps to get closer to your goal?
Even if it takes a bit of patience and time, you can certainly realise your goals this way. I am curious how your perspective on your goals has changed? If you still need help or would like to dive deeper into the topic of life vision, from my heart I can recommend my six-week online course "What are you doing with your life? You can find more info below.
Finally, I will share my top tip for gaining and keeping motivation. The magic word is: FOCUS. If you are working on your newly defined goals every day and notice that your motivation is decreasing, observe where your focus is right now:
• On things you can control/things you can't control?
• On positive or negative thoughts, feelings or people?
• Are you busy to just be busy? Or are you really productive?
• In the past, present, future?
• On stress or on gratitude?
LENA LUISA BRABENDER
Lena Luisa lives in Cologne and, as a life & leadership coach, helps executives achieve a better performance and better results with a harmonic work-life balance. She also offers a six-week online class where people interested can dive deeper into the topic of emotions (understanding, managing & learning to manoeuvre). On Instagram, she regularly posts about her work in Emotional Intelligence, Mental Health & Mindfulness.