Our lives are not static and our goals can grow and change in the same way we do. They can be influenced by both internal and external factors. So, as we learn more about ourselves and the world around us – our goal journey can require tweaking.
If you feel out of touch with your goal journey. There is no need to worry. The answer to these three questions can help you evaluate and make required adjustments.
Am I still excited about my goal?
Many things in life can stop us from reaching our life goals. Such as:
Being distracted by other priorities
Feeling unmotivated to take action
Feeling overwhelmed by the process
These are all normal issues we need to overcome as part of the process. But if your goal journey has gone off the rails you should reflect to see if there are deeper reasons to consider.
If you are feeling out of touch with your goals – take the opportunity to check and make sure they are still right for you.
The key to your motivation is to ensure your goal journey still excites you.
Self-reflect on the following:
Am I still feeling excited about achieving my goals? If not, why not?
Once you reflect on the questions above – you should be in one of two places.
Ready to reinvigorate your goal journey: In which case – check-in with your goal plan and make any adjustments you need to move forward.
Ready to start again: It is never a bad idea to go back to the drawing board with your goals.
Has my life shifted?
As our life progresses and our experiences multiply and what brings us meaning will naturally evolve as a result. As this evolves – so will our goals.
If you feel out of touch with your goal journey – take the time to self-reflect. Perhaps subtle (or massive) changes in your life require your goals to shift gears.
Self-reflect on the following:
When I think about what is most important in my life – does anything different come up?
If it does – consider what effect it has on your goals and make any required changes.
Where is my focus?
Sometimes internal factors creep into the way we shape and achieve our goals. These can come from issues such as:
Fear of failure
Comparison with others
These factors can influence goals and behaviors, and change their focus.
We find ourselves focusing on these issues and not the goals we need to be working on. We can find ourselves modifying activities to protect ourselves from being uncomfortable. And we can focus on the dark tunnel and not the light we need to reach on the other side.
Self-reflect on the following:
What am I trying to achieve and what thoughts are stopping me from taking action.
Try to understand why you are having these thoughts. (Continue to ask yourself: But why do I think that until you hit a root cause?)
If required, revisit your goals – and make any changes required.
As your lives evolve – your goal journey will too.
So don’t be afraid to keep re-shaping your goals. Continue to self-reflect and make the changes you need to go full steam ahead.
After you have chosen the right goals – you must make sure you have everything in place you need to achieve them.
This will help you to start thinking logistically about your goal – but also about who you will need to support you and help you to be accountable.
For example, if a key resource can’t make time for you – you must put a plan in place to factor this in.
If they can’t help at this time – don’t automatically set the goal aside until they can. First, think about if there are other people that can help support this goal. Or, consider if there are other ways to achieve this goal.
Completing these three steps will support you to set off on a successful journey in no time. Just remember, the most important part is to understand “why” a goal is important to you. If this foundation is right – you will have clear skies from there.
This is a story about how to live an intentional life.
How to live an intentional life – and why, undisputedly, it is important.
Towards the end of my relationship, I had a consistent building urge to leave everything I had behind, get in the car and drive with nothing else but the clothes I was wearing. This eventually dipped into more severe suicidal thoughts, but I was lucky enough to dig my way back out of those moments and I put that mostly down to being a parent. Turning my thoughts to the children in those times was honestly what held me back from doing something so stupid.
I tried to mask everything from the kids as best I could but my situation and mental state utterly changed who I was and how I was as a parent. I didn’t function well and was prone to sudden outbursts of rage which I couldn’t control and were over the top for any of the situations. The distinct moment it hit me that things needed to change, was when my daughter who was 3 at the time stood there in tears in front of me – as I was having a moment – and said “don’t ever leave me”.
I have no idea how she picked up that that was going on inside my head and it still rattles me to this day that she was that in tune with who I was and what I was feeling.
I think the best way of thinking that I came across during my breakup was actually from a motivational speech that the actor Matthew McConaughey made. It was mostly about trying to simplify everything (I can’t quote it verbatim):
“If you eliminate everything negative from your life, naturally you’re only left with what is good.”
From this message, came the realisation that I don’t have to engage with what I don’t want to. If I don’t want to do something, that’s my choice to make. I have found that one line to be very helpful in simplifying everything.
I think I have almost pulled a complete 180 on where I had been. I no longer take any forms of medication, I don’t need to see the psychologist, I’ve picked up on my hobbies again and just generally enjoy life more.
Perhaps to oversimplify it. These movements ask you to look at your material possessions, life, and lifestyle and strip right back to a bare minimum, the core essentials, or a level that brings you peace and calm.
There is a myriad of methods and checklists out there to help you declutter your closest or fully audit your life. The industry is going strong.
The reported benefits include increased gratitude, reduced stress of living in the moment, greater clarity on goals and a more positive approach to life. All of which is great.
Intentional living can come in all shapes and sizes
When it comes to how to live an intentional life – I think it is important to step back from the noise, methods and devotees. Find the space to self-reflect and tune into your life.
Be aware of what you are doing and why. Take a moment from the neverending rabbit hole that our lives can be – and check in with reality. Make sure it’s one that works for you.
The story above is not by an expert. The story above is not someone that knows anything about the intentional, minimalist or decluttering movements. It is someone that heard a speech about minimalising the negative in their lives.
On the face of it – this doesn’t seem like a revelational message. Yet, it helped them to examine their lives from another angle. It supported them to turn their lives around from the depths of human sadness and presented a practical way forward.
I think the moral of the story is – if we are carried with life’s busy routines. Or, trying to achieve goals and success. Maybe trying to be the best version of ourselves. Or, just trying to survive. We need to be able to take a step back and observe for a moment.
What is sparking joy in your life at the moment?
If you take a moment to self-reflect and realise you need to let go of some negative things in your life – to make room for the good stuff – that sounds like a win-win situation.
But, now a tricky balance presents itself. Are you sacrificing what feels good now – for what might be good for you in the future?
If my personal growth journey to live with more purpose isn’t bringing me joy (sometimes change and purposeful activities aren’t fun) – there is an argument to drop it. Instead of putting in the hard and uncomfortable work now – I might choose to spend my time eating ice cream sundaes and taking trips to the beach.
Intentional living can be defined as intentionally moving towards your definition of success.
As a result, maybe you need to only focus on only the positive right now. Or maybe, you do need to let go of 100 pairs of shoes. Or maybe, you do need to suffer through your body weight in dirty nappies.
Remember that you are unique – so is your definition of success – and so is your version of living intentionally.
So – my number tip on how to live and intentional life
So, with these apparent advantages and flexibility – why can it be hard to do?
As someone that continuously coaches people on the importance of self-reflection – so they can achieve their personal goals. It is shameful how much I do not walk the (self-reflection) walk.
Even though I am constantly reminding my clients of the importance of self-reflection for:
Discovering what brings meaning to their lives
Discovering how they can live aligned to their meaning
Defining perfect life goals that will increase general well-being
Working out the hurdles that need to be overcome
Working out the best way to live their best life day-to-day
When I think about self-reflecting myself – I feel like I am making the choice to floss my teeth instead of eating some delicious dark chocolate.
So, in case you feel the same way. Today, I want to give you some personal examples of why self-reflection is important. (And provide me with a reminder).
Why self-reflection is important to me
You won’t find me keeping a regular self-reflection or gratitude journal. You won’t find me responding to “journal prompts”. To be honest, I’d rather get a tooth pulled out.
Actually, for me, self-reflection is like my approach to dental care. Flossing in particular.
I know I should be flossing regularly. I love how it feels after I do. I know it is the best way to look after my teeth. But as much as I try to get in a good routine – after I while – the routine slowly fades into nothingness.
I know – self-reflection has many benefits for well-being – but…
Self-reflection can involve delving into uncomfortable thoughts and feelings and digging around in areas I would prefer to ignore.
I find this annoyance similar to my flossing routine, which involves me struggling to find the right angles to navigate my tightly packed teeth.
So – instead of self-reflection or flossing – I’d prefer to do something more enjoyable… like eating chocolate…
But – in spite of this – I have to admit – that self-reflection has allowed me to change my life for the better.
Why self-reflection is important: To make sure your personal goals stay on track
I’m not one of those people that consume never-ending self-help books and never puts things into motion. Or, someone that constantly talks about their goals but never puts a plan in place to achieve them. (I am sure you know these people).
I am the kind of person that builds a perfect plan for my goals – but – then lets things end up in the too-hard basket.
In these times – when things seem too tough – I have realised self-reflection is really important.
I have always advocated self-reflection as the starting point for great goals. This is because to discover your perfect personal goals – you need an in-depth knowledge of your values, strengths and what gives you meaning.
But I have only realised recently – how important self-reflection is for me – when I am trying to stick to my goals. Primarily, because of its assists me to get to the bottom of why things have ended up in the too-hard basket.
Why self-reflection is important: So you can truly know yourself
Self-reflection taught me that I am a perfectionist – with a dash of fear of failure & a super negative mindset – that wants to encourage others to improve their lives.
Until I started regular self-reflection – I didn’t know any of this about myself.
But now this information is now fundamental to how I approach my life and plan my goals – so I can facilitate meaning and well-being in my day-to-day.
Why self-reflection is important: So you can grow
Once the uncomfortable work to understand yourself is done – you can do the uncomfortable work to grow.
For example, once I discovered what a true Negative Nellie I was – swimming in a world of limiting beliefs – I could work to address this.
Although, I won’t be winning any awards for my rate of progress. Self-reflection allows me to get better and better at catching myself buy into negative thoughts and beliefs.
This allows me to call them out for what they are – and focus on a more positive and productive mindset.
So, why is self-reflection important? (The recap)
As great as chocolate is – ultimately, eating it is not going to help you improve your life (even if it is divine).
Self-reflection on the other hand – can open up your world for positive change.
In my experience – self-reflection has helped me improve my life – regardless of how much I didn’t want to do it.
(Note to self – put down the chocolate and self-reflect more!)
I feel it would be remiss of me to not mention something that pops up in research.
Yes, there are many great things about self-reflection (eg. points above). But for those of you that like to double down on personal growth activities (not people like me that only double down on chocolate intake) – beware.
Self-reflection is great to a point – but it shouldn’t detract from spontaneous living. All good things in moderation (says the person that has never been able to eat chocolate in moderation).