If you are anything like me, you probably have a goal list from here to infinity. I have always been a dreamer, as well as someone who believes in limitless possibilities. And it is for this reason that I never stop myself from dreaming big. But, as a result of dreaming big, I always seem to have an on-going list of goals to which I continuously add.
If you are a dreamer like me, you also know that your dreaming never stops. Instead, you are constantly being inspired by the beauty of the world around you. Ideas pop into your head like popcorn, and sometimes you simply don’t know where to begin. Now, I understand that for some this might seem a bit overwhelming, even if it is a positive thing to be creative and curious. But what I have learned over the years is that it is always best to narrow your goals to their very fundamental origins. That way everything becomes crystal clear to you, from your motivations, to your creations, to your actions, to your results.
So, the first thing that I do when I feel overwhelmed by all of my ideas of what I want to create next is that I start with establishing three basic categories into which my goals must fall:
1) Do I enjoy it?
When I think of my goal, the first test that it must pass is the test of joy. Does it express my passions, love, and happiness? Does it feel good to me? Does it inspire me? Does it fuel my creativity? Does it bring me joy? Does it represent my authentic self? Does it line up with my view of who I aspire to be (i.e., the fullness of my potential)? These are all key questions that I like to ask myself, many of which answer themselves quite quickly. And the answer is always quite simple: If it brings me joy and expresses my innate creativity, then I go for it. If it doesn’t feel quite right, I either rework it until it does, change my perspective about it if needed, or I just let it go and move on to something that feels better.
Too many of us create goals because we think that it is what we are supposed to do. Society tells us what we are supposed to want. And our friends, family, and peers sometimes try to dictate to us what our lives are supposed to look like. But what if we have other ideas?
When we ask ourselves the very fundamental question of, "Does this bring me joy?" we no longer feel the need to play by other people's rules. And when we no longer succumb to pressures from the outside world, we become much happier and feel much freer to express who we truly are versus who we think we are supposed to be.
2) Does it aim to inspire others?
One of the best ways to find harmony and balance in this world is to live by the universal law of reciprocity. Everything at its core is energy and, thus, by its very nature, energy must circulate if it is to flow naturally into our lives. If you look around at any healthy symbiosis, whether it is within nature itself or it is represented in the nature of our relationships, the ones that thrive the most are the ones that feed off of each other. There is a give and take, or an offering and receiving that takes place that, even if not always equal at the same time, eventually balances itself out.
So, when I assess my goals, I always want them to be inspirational to others, whether directly or indirectly. For the record, direct inspiration is when you set out to do something with the goal to inspire others. Indirect inspiration, however, occurs when you embody your own joy and automatically inspire others via your example. Consequently, the question of inspiration isn’t all that complicated to answer when your motivation is solely to be authentic and true to yourself. The key, however, is to not get attached to the outcome of how other people will perceive you or your efforts. We should never make our goal about receiving approval or validation from the outside world, nor do we even have to know whom we have inspired; we simply need to know that our motivation is of the heart, and allow that to be good enough.
Also important to note, when our goal is about reciprocity, that does not necessarily translate to “an eye for an eye.” Meaning, we may not receive from the same place to which we gave. So the point is to give with a gracious heart, have healthy boundaries so that we are not taken advantage of, and then trust that the universe always has our back. But remember, inspiring others is best done when we don’t even realize that we are doing it, and that only happens when we are simply focused on living our personal truth. So the real question to ask here is, “Is my goal representative of my authentic truth?
3) Will it leave me enriched?
None of us ever wants anything for any other reason other than we believe it will make us feel fulfilled. And while some people might think that this is a selfish motivation, I respectfully disagree. You see, it is really difficult to inspire others when you don’t feel inspired. It’s hard to try to uplift other people when you don’t feel uplifted yourself. But, when YOU feel passionate, fulfilled, purposeful, and well taken care of, that is when your joy overflows into every area of your life, as well as with everyone that you meet.
It is important, however, that your goal does not become aligned with a very narrowly defined expectation of a certain outcome, or an attachment to a specific result. Instead, let the goal of enrichment take on its own meaning and form in your life. Because the more that you let go of needing to know how it will all come together, the more inspired ideas you will have, and the more pleasant surprises you will manifest. Let your goal be to feel enriched, and then let the form of that enrichment take on its own shape. You do not need to control every aspect of your goals or their manifestations. All you need to do is aim for the good feelings that you want to have, and then let the universe take care of the rest as it shows you exactly what inspires you, as well as the steps that you will need to take in order to manifest your heart’s desires.
As you can see, setting goals needn’t be tedious or overwhelming as long as your goals fit these three criteria. So, make it simple; because when you simplify your goals they become so much easier to achieve, and your decisions become so much easier to make. For when everything lines up with your authenticity, nothing that you do can ever be wrong.