16 Mar Staying on track with your goals for 2017
How are you feeling about the goals you set for 2017? Does your life feel pretty much in line with the purpose and priorities you set for yourself at the beginning of the year?
I’m writing this blog in Mysore, Southern India. I’m here for the month of March to study Ashtanga Yoga with Saraswathi as taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. It’s an ambitious goal for me – a newby to the practise, with my little ones in tow, in a foreign country. Whilst here I’ve been reflecting on the the ways in which we go about working towards the goals we set for ourselves…
Goals are a part of human life – going to the shops to buy a pint of milk is a goal, or even deciding that your not going to set yourself any goals for the year, is in itself a goal. Human nature is essentially about survival and creation – i.e. doing, making, creating…goals.
In yoga, how I approach my practise each morning, how I manage my frustrations with a posture, how focused my mind is on what I’m doing, all have a big impact on my overall experience …some mornings my practise seems to flow, the next day it feels disjointed and especially difficult. There’s no perfect practise, it doesn’t exist, and some days are just going to be easier then others – the same is true for any goals we set in life. The difference then becomes in our attitude, in showing up, having a go and doing our best with what we have in that moment. Goals can also be an opportunity to explore and express our creativity.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna told Arjuna that to be a true yogi, he had to be willing to move forward in the battle of life without attachment to the fruits of his labor. As you battle through your creative process to achieve your goals, try letting yourself embrace the journey without expecting any particular outcome. If you keep your heart and mind on the journey, the destination will eventually reveal itself.
On the creative journey, remember to reward effort, motivation and tenacity. Feeling proud, satisfied, fulfilled, relieved etc are all important. Take them in. Over time these feelings build our self worth and confidence. And importantly our resilience and self belief. It’s also important to note that you can feel all these things even when a goal is missed – recognise and reward effort, improvement, progress and little steps towards bigger goals. For example, maybe you haven’t bought that first home yet but you’ve almost saved the deposit, your debt is down, and your overall net worth is up, or you haven’t secured that promotion at work you’ve been aiming for but you’ve developed your skills, and had some positive feedback about your contributions on a project.
It’s also powerful to tell the truth to yourself about the facts. For example, if you really wanted to get your ‘feel good’ body this year and it’s just not happening, can you reflect honestly on the reasons?…is it because you’re eating a block of chocolate every day? or skipping exercise class? or in hindsight was the goal a bit ambitious considering you had a new baby and a toddler to look after? Once the truth is out you can make a choice about what next – perhaps there are other external factors in the mix that are making it difficult for you to focus on this goal right now and you adjust your target in light of this. Or, you decide to give yourself a compassionate kick up the bottom and get back on track. And I emphasise the compassionate. We’re human. ‘Falling off’ is part of the process.
So I hope you are having fun with your goals in 2017! and feeling rewarded by the journey and by your effort. It’s healthy to set goals, even goals that seem ambitious, but try to do so without attachment, just give them your best shot and encourage the processes that may lead to the outcome that you want.
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