From an early age, we are told that goal setting is the foundation for the yellow brick road to success. Starting as early as kindergarten or first grade, teachers and parents measure what kind of person we are by the goals we have achieved. By adulthood, the culture of goal attainment is so ingrained in our sense of self-worth that often we use goals to completely define our identity.
With our society's focus on competition and being the "best," it seems that in order to achieve any sort of success in life, one must actively strive to better themselves. Of course, goal setting is often seen as the ideal way to achieve this purpose.
Most experts will argue that goal setting helps us maintain focus on long-term vision as well as increase motivation in the short-terms. However, when one really examines how goal setting works, the reality isn't so magical.
Setting a goal, in essence, reinforces the belief that a situation is only acceptable sometime in the future, once an external marker is achieved. More importantly, goal-setting fuels the lack mindset, emphasizing what is missing from our lives.
The Universe is always listening to our thoughts, feelings, and desires. When we set a goal, we repeatedly focus our mind on something we don't have. It is far too easy for our mind to attach the state of happiness with a time in the future. This future-oriented mindsets prevents us from enjoying the present and developing a sense of gratitude for what is positive in our lives.
Additionally, the focus of what we do not have only makes the goal seem further away. While there are a few people who can conquer this perception and maintain an attitude of positivity throughout the journey, for many, this is too difficult. How often do New Year's Resolutions to lose weight fail? Even if one starts out energized and passionate about their goal, the constant reminder of what we don't have, or what we have not yet achieved attracts more ruminating thoughts on this matter, thus making the goal seem even harder to achieve.
So, are we to give up our hopes and dreams of achieving great things in our lives? Of course not! However, it is the mindset and the language that must change. By setting intentions, as opposed to goals, we come from a place of acceptance that what we want is already ours. What a liberating realization!
7 Strategies to Shift from Goal-Setting to Manifesting
1. Use present tense language. By framing your intentions in the present tense, you are putting your vibrations in a state in which you already have which you desire. Since like thoughts attract more like thoughts, you are creating a space so that your desires will be attracted to your life.
2. Identify the feelings that your intentions will bring. Why do you want to lose weight or earn more money? Chances are, it is not the actual goal or intention, but the feeling that will result once it has been realized. Perhaps you want to lose more weight to feel more confident. More money might activate feelings of freedom or security. Be clear and identify how you will feel once your intentions are made a reality.
3. Use emotionally charged visualizations to fuel the fire of your intentions. One of the fastest ways to manifest your intentions is to add real emotion behind the thoughts. The universe responds not just to thoughts and words, but to the feelings which are attached to those thoughts and words. When you state your intentions, concentrate on feeling the way you would feel if your dream had been achieved.
4. Affirm your intentions daily. Setting an intention once and never going back to it is like planting a seed and never watering the plant. For an intention to manifest, it must be nurtured daily. Take 5 minutes each morning, before you begin your day, to review your intentions. Say them aloud and visualize yourself already living as if it has been completed.
5. Start living as closely as you can to how you would after your intention has been manifested. Envision your life after your intention has been manifested. How does your environment look? Are there any changes to your appearance? Do you have any different habits or mannerisms? Step by step, try adding those elements to your current life. Add a piece of furniture to your home that better reflects the style of your future self. Start dressing as you would if your intention had already been achieved. Or, spend a day exactly as you would after all of your manifesting has generated success.
6. Incorporate activities which activate the feelings you hope to achieve. You don't have to wait until your dreams have been realized to feel great! Make a list of 10-20 activities that spark the same feelings. Perhaps a date night with your partner inspires feelings of connection. Your weekly yoga class might make you feel grounded. Or taking a nap during the day might activate your feelings of freedom. Commit to doing 3-5 activities from your list each day to ensure that you are attracting more and more of your desired feelings.
7. Be open to allowing your intentions to manifest in unexpected ways. Often, we become some focused on the exact way we want our intentions to manifest, that we close of other avenues that might bring us the same feelings we are hoping to create in our life. Focus on how you want to feel, not just what you believe will bring those feelings. When stating your intentions, add the phrase "I now manifest this or something better, in divine, appropriate timing." You might just be surprised how your dreams might show up in you life!