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Is it time to stop setting goals?

Journey vs. Destination: goals

I have a lot of experience setting goals—personal goals, professional goals… and I also have a long history of making plans—plans for tomorrow, plans for the weekend…one-year plans, five-year plans.

In fact, a few years ago I created a course called What Matters Most 365: Life By Design to help you design your life and make the next 365 days your best yet. And the tagline for the course? A vibrant happy life starts with a life plan.

In addition to offering this program to others, I did What Matters Most 365 each and every year, like clockwork.

So I think it’s accurate to say the version of me prior to my obsession with all things Law of Attraction was very much focused on goals and plans. Goals and plans were really the only way I knew to try to create what I wanted in my life.

Well, the me of today sees goals and plans differently.

One motivation for this post is to explore exactly what that difference is—and share what I now think about goals and plans through the lens of Law of Attraction.

The second reason I wanted to do this post is because of something I’ve been noticing with a number of my clients and several of my friends. They are setting goals and making plans, but no one really seems to be particularly enjoying all that goal setting and life planning.

Instead, I’m noticing friction associated with the goals being set and the plans being made. There’s overwhelm and somewhat a grin-and-bear-it mentality.

  • For instance, one of my clients was setting career goals for 2019, and she was feeling a lot of friction in the process. When I asked her why she wanted to set career goals for the coming year in the first place, she said, But shouldn’t I? If I want to advance in my career, it feels like this is what I should do.
  • A friend of mine was making a plan for the upcoming year, but instead of positive expectation and excitement, she was feeling stressed and doubtful. She was coming up with what sounded like really juicy goals, but her emotional state didn’t match up. She seemed anxious and tense.

So what’s up?

  • Why are we setting goals if we’re not excited about them?
  • Why are we making plans that don’t light us up?

“If you’re not excited about it, it’s not the right path.” —Abraham

So first and foremost, I would encourage you to check in with yourself: Are you truly excited about the goals you’re setting and the plans you’re making?

Because if you’re not, it’s not the right path. Period.

The other thing I notice about goals and plans is the willingness to sacrifice how we feel today to some future we think is going to be better.

For instance, there’s hustle and grind going on to achieve goals—and the belief is that’s what it takes to get what you want. There’s a lot of striving and struggling driven by the belief the payoff will be worth it in the end.

Another way to say it: Achieving the goal will make all the slogging worth it. Doing what the plan says and ticking off the boxes—no matter how friction-filled it makes life today—will be worth it in the end.

Well, you know what I say to that, right? I say, Phooey!

The journey is everything!

No destination—no matter how amazing you think it’s going to be when you arrive—is worth slogging to get there.

“The journey has to feel the way you want the destination to feel.” —Danielle Laporte

The journey to your goal has to feel every bit as wonderful as you think it will feel when you reach your goal. Same with your one-year plan or three-year plan—or however long your plan is for what it is you are wanting.

So here’s what I wonder: How many of us are setting goals and making plans with Danielle’s advice to guide us? When you set a goal, is an essential criteria that you feel good on your way to achieving it?

Because feeling good in the present moment matters.

Why would you want to endure and tolerate and suffer just to stick to some 5-year plan you created?

“If you had one goal, and that was to feel good, you would never again need to hear another word from anyone. You would live successfully and happily and in a way of fulfilling your life’s purpose ever after.” —Abraham

So what about it? What if your one goal was to feel good? I imagine that would be a very different goal than you’ve had in the past.

Now, here’s the thing, which might seem contradictory at first. I happen to think goals and plans are wonderful!

  • A goal you really want to achieve can feel inspiring and put such a spring in your step.
  • A plan you feel full of positive expectation about can be truly life-enhancing.

“The reason for desires, goals…is because they are life-giving things of the Universe. Without objects of attention, or objects of desire, Life Force does not come through any of us.” —Abraham

In the past, I certainly didn’t think of goals as life-giving things of the Universe, but they are!

Or consider this perspective from Abraham:

“People say, ‘The joy is in the journey,’ but they rarely understand what they are saying. You are in this focused time/space reality with goals and objectives that call you because as you identify a desire it literally summons life through you. Life summoning through you is what it’s all about, not the completion of anything.” —Abraham

Wow! That’s a paradigm shift for most of us.

So when a particular goal calls to you, when you identify a desire, it is literally summoning life through you. And that is the whole point. Even more so than achieving the goal or getting to where your plan takes you.

Now I happen to think that’s pretty cool. And it’s a big relief. It takes the pressure off and puts your goals and plans in a different perspective. One that’s lighter and more joyful.

“There is not something you’re supposed to do. There’s not something that you should do. There is only that which you are inspired to do. And how do you get inspired except by the contrast? It’s the life experience that gives you the idea of the desire, and then as you focus upon the desire, the Energy flows.” —Abraham

Let me shine a light on that last part: “As you focus upon the desire, the Energy flows.”

That’s what happens when you set the right goal, make the right plan. The Energy flows! You are enthusiastic and inspired to take action. You head downstream, going with the flow, connecting the dots. The Universe conspires with you. The right people and resources appear.

And as all that happens—from setting a goal to moving forward with your plan—you are summoning life through you.

“Dreams and goals keep us young and interested in life.” —Louise Hay

These days I have a different approach to goal setting and life planning—one that is decidedly through the lens of the Law of Attraction.

So what’s really different in how I approach goals now vs. then?

  • Today I think more in terms of wants and desires than goals and plans. That might seem like a subtle difference. But emphasizing wants and desires versus goals and plans creates space for inspired action, flow, and the Universe to figure out the how’s.
  • I’m no longer willing to sacrifice how I feel along the way to the achievement of any goal. Period. This is absolutely non-negotiable.
  • I take to heart Abraham’s wisdom: If I’m not excited about it, it’s not the right path. This eliminates shoulding myself into setting a goal.
  • I’ve all but abandoned any sort of goal setting and goal management paraphernalia—you know, the planners, to do lists, bullet journals, project planning apps, templates, worksheets, printables, etc. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with any of those things, but none of the goal management paraphernalia feels like alignment to me these days.
  • These days the way I move a goal or plan forward is to check in with myself and do whatever the inspired action is in that moment. My alignment is too important to me to rigidly stick with a project plan I put together in the past.

All that being said, here’s the real difference between my past goal setting and life planning versus today through the lens of Law of Attraction: These days, my goal is joy; my 3-year plan is joy.

Joy is what I’m trying to achieve.

Joy is my measure of success. Joy is my goal and my plan.

“You think that the goal is to be over there, and we say the goal is the journey over there; the goal is the fun you have along the way on your way to over there.” —Abraham

So, should you set goals and make plans? Absolutely—if those goals and plans feel good. Set goals and make plans if it’s fun to do so.

But if you’re not feeling truly excited about setting goals, then don’t. Really. Put away your focus journal and post-it notes and planner.

“You’re never going to get to any final place. And so, we want to remind you to relax and start having fun on the way.” —Abraham

Don’t feel pressured to set goals. Don’t feel you “should” make plans.

Remember what’s important is how you feel. It’s not the goals or the plans.

“We would like your goals to be, rather than the thing or that experience or that lover or that whatever, we would like your new goal to be, ‘I would like my mood to be eager. I would like my mood to be optimistic. I would like my mood to be anticipating wonderful things.’” —Abraham

When’s the last time your goal was to anticipate wonderful things?

I often return to this, perhaps my very favorite Abraham quote of all time:

“Whether it’s a trophy, money, relationships, or things, the achievement of anything that you desire must be considered success. But if you will let your standard of success be your achievement of joy, everything else will then fall easily into place. For in the finding of joy, you are finding vibrational alignment with the resources of the Universe.” —Law of Attraction Cards

What if the achievement of joy is your ultimate goal and your overarching plan? I happen to think the achievement of joy is about the best goal you could ever set for yourself.

But as a fellow growth-seeking Being, I know there will be other things you want. There will be other objects of desire.

If you can’t answer a resounding Yes! to all three questions, I encourage you to re-think your goal or plan.

As you think about setting goals and making plans, here are three questions you might want to ask yourself to vet your goals and plans.

  1. Are the goals I’m setting and plans I’m making truly my own?  Or am I seeking approval or chasing worthiness with my goals? Am I comparing myself and making what others are doing the basis for my plans?
  2. Am I genuinely enthusiastic about my goals and plans?  If you’re not experiencing emotions on the high-end of the emotional scale, like empowerment and passion, eagerness and optimism, that’s a sign. A big red flag you probably want to rethink whatever goal you’re setting or plan you’re making.
  3. Am I filled with positive expectation and excitement—not just about reaching my goal, but also the journey getting there?  Be committed to feeling good not just when you set a goal, but all the way to its achievement. After all, most of life is the journey. Refuse to sacrifice feeling good today for a payoff in the future.

“Let go of goal orientation and focus on joy orientation.” —Abraham

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