Setting Goals - Monthly Meditation, January 2019

Setting Goals - Article by Michael Arndt - Photo by AngMoKio - Wikipedia - CC BY 2_5

by Michael Arndt, Alumni Coordinator

As we ring in the new year, almost all of us begin the process of making New Year’s resolutions. There are standard ones like getting back into shape, quitting smoking, budgeting better, spending less time on social media, etc, and, as most of us have experienced, these resolutions generally have a lifespan of about a month. Not because we lack gumption or willpower, but generally because we lack clarity and we are unrealistic.

In order to set attainable goals for ourselves, we must first be very clear about what it is we want. Setting the goal of ‘getting back in shape’ for example, is not very clear, there is no ‘how’ behind it, but setting the goal of going to the gym 5x a week for an hour is much more clear, it explains how you are going to start working towards your goal. There is structure there in the form of a schedule that you have set for yourself. This goal is therefore more attainable.

For the sake of argument however, let’s say you have this same goal of going to the gym 5x a week for an hour but you also work 60 hours a week and haven’t worked out in years. This goal then would be unrealistic for you. There is nothing wrong with starting small. It would be more realistic for you to go to the gym 2x a week and just do cardio and some basic exercises. You can then build on your success after a few weeks. Slow and steady wins the race.

The same can be said of our goals for the most important aspect of our lives: our relationship with ourselves. Are we determined to be more compassionate with ourselves? To truly know ourselves? To accept all the parts of ourselves? When we cultivate an inner-life of love and integrity, we begin to reflect this onto our relationships not only with the people in our lives, but with how we perceive the world and life itself. When we practice this, we begin to build a life that makes reaching our goals much easier and much more worthwhile.