Goal setting and creating meaningful change

By planetm | December 16, 2021

Live the life you want, not the one that everyone thinks you should have, says Leah Larwood. Explore how to create meaningful change in your life through goal setting.

How is your year working out for you so far? Putting the complications of a pandemic aside for a moment, where are you underneath all the noise? Have you checked in with yourself recently to ask what you really want out of your one wild and precious life? Although only one in ten of us actually achieve the New Year’s resolutions we set every January, as humans it’s a natural ambition to strive for the best life we can imagine for ourselves.

A big reason why we sometimes struggle with goal-achieving is because we don’t fully understand why we want that change. We may have an inkling or even a good idea about what it is we want, but often there can be emotive reasons and other psychological notions that underpin our desire for change.

Perhaps the hardest part is making sense of what’s truly going on for us, and least of all, navigating that transition in the best-possible direction. Being just one degree off centre can mean our final destination can lead us down a very different path. Often, goal-setting can seem to be the easy part but what we need is a holistic approach that considers a whole range of things before we move towards taking action.

Kim Palmer, Founder of women’s hypnotherapy and wellness app, Clementine, identified a very real need among women wishing to make meaningful and long-lasting changes to their lives. She created Reboot, a self-guided course and workbook (that comes in a printed format) for people feeling bored, sucked of energy, unhappy with aspects of their life or generally just stuck at home, at work or in their relationships.

“It’s easy to live the life we feel we should have or the life that everyone else thinks we should have but actually, you want your own, and rightly so,” says Kim. “I discovered a process that helps people understand their needs, so they will be able to make informed decisions about what to keep in their life and what to ditch. It’s important to find focus and clarity before you formulate a workable plan.”

Kim discovered first-hand that goal-setting and resolutions just weren’t working for her. “In 2016, I decided that I wanted to climb the corporate career ladder. However, after some reflection, it all felt wrong but I couldn’t work out why I felt like this,” she tells us. “The truth was, it never made me happy. I did some long, hard, deep thinking and it started by getting to grips with what was important to me – my values. I also learnt how to create a vision board, how to ask difficult questions, how to set SMART objectives and how to literally give my life a rebrand.

“After this process, I realised I was in the wrong job and that my true desire was to start my own business. I realised that I did want to have another child. I realised that I had some friendships that were no longer working. I realised that I wanted complete financial freedom, and much more.”

The reason why the Reboot workbook feels like a more rigorous way to reassess our lives is because it combines life coaching with a business-minded approach. However, it’s not short on empathy and psychological rigour either, because it also includes a person-centred approach with therapeutic writing techniques and self-hypnosis tools that can be adapted to the individual.

I agree with Kim that it’s important to understand your values in life. Only then can you set goals that are aligned with your essence. Another way to cultivate meaningful change is to find a stronger sense of self and a clearer understanding of your needs and desires.

Ultimately, to live the life you really want, you need to do a bit of soul-searching. It’s not just about the logical right-brain stuff of goal setting on a practical level, it’s a left-brain activity too, feeling into what it is you need underneath it all. It’s about discovering what’s going on for you, whether that’s with the aid of a therapist, coach or loved one, or embarking on a self-guided journey.

Either way, it’s that driving force that is bubbling around deep inside of you, it’s about learning to listen to that ‘knowing’. That is the part of you that will create long-lasting change that will over-ride other people’s shoulds, coulds, and maybes, and instead, places your wildest dreams in the driving seat.

6 stages of meaningful change

  1. Review your life: Start by identifying what brings you joy, what you’re most proud of, what you wish you had more of, times you’ve felt stressed and things you can’t live without.
  2. Decide what’s important. Score each area of your life: Home surroundings, fun and recreation, family and friends, love and romance, health and wellbeing, career, money and personal growth. Where are the opportunities for change?
  3. Set boundaries: Decide what you want to say no to and what you want to say yes to.
  4. Explore your values: When you are choosing to change aspects of your life like your career or your personal life, make sure it aligns with your core values.
  5. Think smartly: Now’s the time to set some goals. It’s important to be clear about what the finish line looks like. SMART goals are a great way to set goals that you will stick to.
  6. Make it happen: Shape your vision and manifest your dream. Learn how to overcome resistance, cope with stress, ask those difficult questions and find the right support.

Discover more

This article first appeared in issue 16 of Planet Mindful magazine. Want to live more mindfully? Check out more mindfulness techniques here.

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