Setting Goals: The Power of “Why”

Fiona_Playground

Last week, I used the principles of fiction writing as an analogy for creating well focused goals. I invited you to explore the idea of creating one primary goal for you "story" and formulating secondary goals that support your "plot line." This week, I introduce another element of fiction writing to help you examine your goals:  Outer motivation versus inner motivation.

If you examine a work of fiction closely, you will see that most main characters have a tangible, specific goal they want to accomplish by the end of the story.  For instance, in the original "Rocky" movie, Rocky wants to go all 15 rounds with Apollo Creed.  This goal is Rocky’s outer motivation. 

In one scene in the movie, Rocky reveals to Adrian why this goal is important to him.  He's tired of people thinking he's a bum. Essentially, going 15 rounds with Apollo is a chance for Rocky to redeem himself.  This is Rocky’s inner motivation, the emotional goal of the story.  It explains why the goal is important to him. This inner motivation is what gives meaning to Rocky’s goal.

With these principles in mind, I realized that it might be worth checking out the inner motivations of my weekly chase goals and examining if and why they are meaningful to me. 

Are they meaningful to my well-being?

Or are they meaningful to my ego?

If they are meaningful to my ego, am I attached to them in an unhealthy way?  

Let’s examine some of the goals I have set during the weekly chase and break them down.

1)      Spend more time with my kids:  This is ego driven, motivated by guilt, since I did not think I was spending enough “quality time” with my children.  Here’s the deal on goals driven by guilt.  They may work in the short term but they don’t work in the long term.  We all want to be good parents, but was this goal really about my kids?  No.  It was to stave off my sense of guilt. 

 I did wind up tweaking the above goal to the following:

2)      Reserve an hour a day for myself.  This was the “right” goal, since by allowing myself to put my own needs first, I felt “free” for the rest of the day to be present for my kids.  The consequences of this goal :  I may be cranky if I am forced to go a few days without my “hour,”  but I’ll survive.  In the big picture, it’s important to maintain this goal for the sake of balance, since all of us mamas need some time to ourselves.

3)      Sleep:  Taking care of our basic needs is paramount to living the life we love.  When I am well rested, I am healthier, more level headed, and more energetic.   The consequences for lack of sleep are illness, irritability, and lowered productivity.  Therefore, this goal is meaningful to my well-being.

4)      Run my fastest mile:  This was ego driven.  Ego driven goals are not “bad things,” so long as we don’t get overly attached to them.  The consequences for me if I don’t reach this goal are inconsequential.    

5)      Meditate:   For my life to work seamlessly, I need to stay consistent to my meditation practice.  I need time in the morning to clear my thoughts and to remind myself that I have control over them.  Simply stated, I cannot exist sanely in this world without meditating.  My well-being depends on this goal!   

If I had to pick and choose goals this week, the choices are clear.  I need to meditate and I need to sleep. After that, all else will fall into place.

Ego goals are fine, so long as we are not clinging to those goals so tightly that our hands shake from the grip. If you feel like you are in an epic battle to get "it" accomplished, “battle” being the operative word, then maybe it’s time to ask yourself "Why is this so important to me?"  “Is it meaningful to my well-being?”  “Can I live without it?”  “If not, why?”

Deciding we must accomplish something at all costs makes for an exciting movie plot, but it does not make for a manageable life.

Believe in yourself.   Aim high.  Know when to let go.

Namaste, Divas!

©2012 Ilene Evans

 

 


Comments

Setting Goals: The Power of “Why” — 29 Comments

  1. I love this post too. You do such a great job illuminating the other side of goal setting – not just the SMART criteria but the why behind it all. I love how you relate this to fiction writing and stories because really, that’s what we’re all about right? Stories? Sleep and meditate sounds like fabulous goals for me too.

  2. Thank you so much! Seeing my ego in my goals is helpful and it also allows me to have more acceptance when things dont go my way. I still like aiming high, but I get a little less frantic about outcomes when I remember these things!
    Sent from my Droid Charge on Verizon 4GLTE

  3. This was a fantastic post, Ilene. I love that you really dig into your goals and their whys. Sometimes re-wording the goal makes all the difference. Having “me time” is so extremely important to us mommas…and I’ve tried driving that idea into my sister’s head a lot lately. Her husband’s deployed right now, and she’s going NUTS with her two boys. I’ve tried explaining why having an hour to herself would help her patience and focus tremendously, but she sees it as “selfish”. Spending more time with this kids is an awesome goal…but if you don’t have time to yourself, too, then the quality of that time really suffers.
    I love your goals…and meditating…I need to buy some candles for my new house…and set them up so that I can wake myself up early, light them, let the sun rise through the windows, and meditate. I need it. <3

  4. You NAILED it when you said quality time, because if I have not gotten a few bare essentials out of the way, then I am scattered the rest of the day and everyone is at a loss.
    Meditation is so good. So, so good. I don’t do candles but I love incense. I sit on a towel on my yoga mat in my overcrowded office, close my eyes, and “OM” away 🙂

  5. What would the name of that movie be? How about “The path of the chose fierce diva!” I would go see that.
    Great list and always good to give a good “check in” to see how you are doing and ways to adjust to accomplish them. Kudos.

  6. I really love your posts. You are so calming to read. I’m a list person, I like to know what I have to get done and envision marking them off. I never really think about the WHY’s. Maybe that’s the accountant in me. I really want to start seeing my goals in this manner. I need to get more in touch with myself. With 4 kids and never ending responsibilities and engagements, I hardly ever slow down long enough to focus on myself and my needs (other than when I run). Thanks for your post and good luck with your goals! I love sleep! Have a great week!

  7. I really love your posts. You are so calming to read. I’m a list person, I like to know what I have to get done and envision marking them off. I never really think about the WHY’s. Maybe that’s the accountant in me. I really want to start seeing my goals in this manner. I need to get more in touch with myself. With 4 kids and never ending responsibilities and engagements, I hardly ever slow down long enough to focus on myself and my needs (other than when I run). Thanks for your post and good luck with your goals! I love sleep! Have a great week!

  8. I am so glad that you found value in this post!
    I needed to start asking myself why to see if some of my goals were even worth adding on my super full plate. I have a hard time sitting still as well which is another reason why I needed to check in because I can get way out of touch too.
    Have a great week!

  9. Love the way you reframed the first goal! Having “me” time is critical for me. Designating an hour seems to be enough time but not so much one should feel guilty. Great job on your goals and thank you for helping me see our common goal through different eyes.

  10. I so need to sleep too! I have been neglecting it and I am sure it is stirring up all kinds of trouble in my head and heart. It is my number one priority this week. I think you definitely nailed it that with sleep and peace of mind through meditation…everything else will fall into place.

  11. Have you read Darren Hardy’s The Compound Effect? It’s a great book, and one of the topics he covers is how to use the power of why in goal setting.
    I love how you took your goals right down to the why, and found your ego lurking at the bottom of some of them. Ouch.
    From my perspective, I see this as idolizing. When I attach so much importance to something that it’s presence defines me as a winner and it’s absence defines me as a loser, I realize I have some attitude adjustment that needs to be done!

  12. I love how you put that:
    When I attach so much importance to something that it’s presence defines me as a winner and it’s absence defines me as a loser, I realize I have some attitude adjustment that needs to be done!
    I know when I attach too much importance to something that I want, it’s never a good thing. I can aim high, but there’s an element of letting go that has to be present as well.
    thank you for the book suggestion!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge