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Please note that Current of Life was previously published under the title: Living Your Potential

Living Your Potential

To Goal or Not to Goal?

To goal or not to goal, that is the question.

Every January, I hear the same conversations and read the same articles.  They pose the question of whether resolutions and goals are worth the effort.  After all, they argue, so many people fail at this process and just feel worse later.  Some people don’t like the word 'goal' and would rather replace it with some other euphemism.  Call it whatever you like, but as Shakespeare said, a goal by any other name is still a goal.  (Okay, I stretched poetic license on that one.)

Goals often create anxiety.  In fact to a certain degree, that’s their job, because they call attention to the gap: where we are vs. where we want to be.  The tension is there to propel us forward.  The problem is that sometimes we let that anxiety dominate.  We recall our previous failed attempts and focus disproportionately on what we’ll have to give up instead of what we’ll gain.

There they are again.

You’ve seen them before: Exercise more.  Lose weight.  Get my finances under control.  Get a new job.  These goals need a makeover!

Studies have shown that writing down your goals actually increases your chances of achieving them.  However, if your goals don’t excite you, don’t bother.

There are many tips out there on how to set effective goals.  I think the most important one is this:  Make sure you want —really want —  your goals.  If they feel lifeless, too familiar, or like goals you’re supposed to want but really don’t, think again. 

Get to the heart of it.

The best way to create goals that feel more alive is to keep asking Why.  That is, ask yourself: Why do I want this?  Then, addressing that answer, ask:  Why do I want that?  Don’t just answer on auto pilot.  Keep going until you’ve gotten to the deepest reason.  What will that give me?  What difference will it make?  What is the cost of not pursuing this goal? 

Once you’ve reached the heart of what you’re really after, check to see that the language you use to state your goal expresses this fundamental desire.  You will know you’re there when you truly feel drawn toward your goal, already starting to bridge that gap.

To goal or not to goal?  My answer is yes, set goals, and put your heart into it.

Here's to you,
Ginny's signature

© 2006, Virginia M. Kravitz and In the Current®. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to reproduce this article provided it is without any alteration, includes the copyright above, and if distributing electronically includes a link to

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