New Year, same goals as last year?
A new year is upon us and everyone is setting resolutions for the year, but are the goals you are choosing really in alignment with what you truly want, or are you arbitrarily setting goals just because it's the thing to do this time of year?
If you find yourself making the same general goals year after year, it may be a sign that you need to have more clarity around your goals.
Remember that fuzzy targets don't get hit, so to give yourself the highest chances to get to where you want to go- you have got to spend a little time doing what you can to make sure you can see the path as clearly as you can.
Whether you're going for having the best money year ever or hit those fitness goals whatever else your heart desires, you will benefit from having more clarity about what you want first.
'If you are crystal clear about exactly what you want- that is really wonderful!
But if you struggle with dialing in your personal GPS like me, getting absolute clarity about what you want sometimes can feel really strangely stressful- similar to when my husband asks me to choose where I want to order from for dinner and I'm all like:
Decision fatigue at its best. It's a first-world problem that happens when there are unlimited options. Whether it's ordering food or choosing goals that are in complete alignment with what you want.
You may even be tempted to skip this process completely because it's just easier to google "new years goals I should have", or decide that it's going to be losing those 5 lbs that has been your resolution for the past 5 years and call it a day.
It's natural to want to always choose the path of least resistance. Were biologically coded that way.
I urge you not to though because on the other side of this is you getting what you want faster, more efficiently & without doubt, clouding your vision.
Lack of Clarity around your Goals may look like this
I have noticed that lots of people seem to struggle with goal setting in this way.
In fact, I'd say the #1 problem that my private coaching clients that come to me for PA career advice are a lack of clarity that is disguised as difficulty choosing between two or more paths.
They come to me wanting help becoming independent contractors to make more money but, upon exploring things further together it turns out that what they really want is the freedom and time that would create in their lives- so that they can do what they love at a more sustainable pace because what they want most is to start a family.
In that case, their ultimate goal was to have the time to start a family and be as present as they wanted to be, which their current job did not allow.
So I helped her to design a path where both could exist, a fulfilling career, and the space to be a hands-on parent. For this particular person, the right path for them did turn out to be independent contracting but the entire focus of this career transition was lifestyle entrepreneurship because time and freedom was what she valued most.
Had we not taken the time to comb out her true desires and blindly gone full-throttle on independent contracting for maximum revenue she would not have been happy in the end and lots of energy and resources would have been wasted.
A similar example is with another coaching client who came to me because this person was struggling between going for a Doctorate or Ph.D.? Upon further exploration together, we discovered that what they really wanted was to be intellectually challenged in new ways and that they had a hidden love of academic medicine. So we created teaching opportunities with academic medical programs that were far more in alignment and much more specific to their area of expertise than any Doctorate or Ph.D. program could ever provide at that specific time.
Imagine the tens of thousands of dollars, time, effort, and life energy that would have cost.
Here is the best part: with our plan, one of the programs she will be involved in will pay for a doctorate should this person still wants it down the line & chooses to teach there full time someday.
3 Ways to Find More Clarity Surrounding Your Goals
1. Take note of where you crave change.
When wanting real clarity surrounding your goals, if you are unclear of which direction is right for you- start by observing what areas of your life make you crave change the most.
Here is my own example and how I came to realize that working with people I love is a non-negotiable for me.
More Questions to ask yourself if you want more Clarity
What do you wish was different?
What would you love to have that you haven't quite gotten yet?
What area are you most dissatisfied with and is causing you stress?
If you had a magic wand that could make magical changes- what area of your life would you use it on?
2. Try Superthinking
Super thinking is a set of frameworks, thinking scripts, that promise to radically reduce the time you need to make a decision.
I like to use this super thinking framework to find instant clarity for clearer decision making, before making my next move, like setting a goal & corresponding project plan for that goal.
Grab a piece of paper of open a new document
Write the decision I have to make at the top: For example my most recent one was which free downloadable out of 2 great ideas I had was worth creating to help my clients with money.
Set a timer for 10 minutes.
Proceed to answer yourself in a stream of consciousness as a mentor would and see what comes up.
I find this works extremely well and I have used it over and over again for clarity on small and large decisions.
I now have a notebook just for superthinking and about once a week, before setting my weekly goals I sit down to superthink to gain clarity on what to focus on most.
3. Explore your Why
To take any desire you may have a bit deeper, try asking yourself why it's important to you to have it in the first place.
Knowing your why will put a deeper purpose and meaning behind your mission. Having a meaning behind your goal makes you more personally invested in the pursuit of your desired outcome and has been proven to help you stay the course when obstacles come up.
Step 1 is to ask yourself why you want it.
You can keep asking yourself why & you can do this as many times as necessary to get to the bottom of what is really driving you in that direction.
Here is one of my all-time favorite talks about finding your own why that I use inside of my PA personal Statement course to help my students tap into their true desire to pursue PA school, way beyond, the cliche "because I want to help people."
If you need to hear some highly motivational stuff today, give this a listen, it's worth taking the time because it will shift your energy.
Allow Discomfort to Lead You
Just like the examples I gave of my coaching clients, the underlying reasons why they sought out certain paths and goals had less to do with the goals themselves and more to do what was their ultimate deepest desire.
Those deep desires are often protected by discomfort and hidden from you by the avoidance of that discomfort. It may require a bit of introspection & digging to access, but it will always be worth it.
Then after you gain clarity the right path will reveal itself, those targets will become less fuzzy, and then you can confidently create a project plan to set in motion in that direction.
What's more, is that that plan will feel very different to you, it will feel lighter and better, freer and unencumbered by doubt about which direction is best for you.
You will be in complete alignment with your truest self and deepest desires.