Turning Goals into Themes

How do you feel when someone asks you, “what are your goals?” I know I’ve always hated it! Always! Most times, you probably haven’t even thought about it. At best, even if you have thought about your goals, you start to panic. You start thinking things like “Is this a big enough goal? Are they too easy? What are everyone else’s goals? Do mine fall in line?” It’s hard to not let your self-conscious mind take over and start getting anxious. I think about this constantly. What are my business goals? What are my personal goals? Am I on pace to reach them? What if I fail? It has always been one of the first things I talk to clients through as well. The more I think about it, the worse I feel.

Consider this, what happens if you fail to reach your goal? People will tell you that it’s ok, that it’s an opportunity to reflect and figure out what happened to cause you to miss your goal and then fix it. But let’s be real, you feel like garbage! You are less likely to set a new goal and I bet, you sure as hell aren’t going to tell anyone what your goals are anymore! On the flip side, what happens when you reach your goal? You feel great! Well, you feel great for about two minutes until you realize now you need to set new goals and go through it all over again. It’s a never-ending cycle, right? Nothing ever feels quite good enough. The dopamine doesn’t last forever.

What if we start focusing on themes instead? As in, what’s your theme for this week, this month, this year, the next five years? You could even broaden that out and think about it in terms of your overall life. It sounds simple and maybe a little goofy but hear me out. A weekly theme could be something simple like, getting back to the gym. Monthly? Maybe the next few months are about adventure and traveling. If you find fulfillment in giving back, your life’s theme could be service. From there, how are your decisions and behaviors, work, and how you are spending your time, helping to drive that theme in your life?

Look, setting specific goals works for plenty of people and I’m not saying no one should do it. I’m saying for a lot of people, it doesn’t work. It can even cause more harm than good. Life isn’t as black and white as “did I accomplish this or did I fail.” We want it to be! And plenty of successful people will tell you that it is, but it’s not.

I’m always telling clients to focus on what they can control. There are plenty of things in life that are out of your control that could cause you to not accomplish a goal. I’m not trying to make excuses for failures, but it’s true. You can’t control everything, but you can control what the theme of your life is. You can control your decisions to fit within that theme.  You can control your money habits to align with those themes as well. When you do, I’ll venture to guess that you will find more happiness and a more sustainable lifestyle. You’ll also see that those goals you used to set, are being accomplished on their own because you are more focused on the bigger picture.

Not sure where to start? Reach out to an advisor like me at Indy Wealth Solutions to help guide the conversation and build a plan to fit your theme!