Goal setting with grace is important because I’ve been noticing a lot of people talking about ditching goals altogether. However, when we do that – we don’t experience the progress and growth that makes life feel so enriching.
“It’s not that we have too many goals – it’s that we have a lack of grace to go along with them,” I shared on this episode of Happiness in Progress.
Your goals matter – it’s just that you need to have reasonable expectations, take things slow and do your goal setting with grace.
“I think 2020 happened – and it was filled a lot of loss, sadness, uncertainty and with that came a huge blow to our egos,” I shared on the podcast. With so much disappointment I can understand why we may want to stop creating goals.
But the issue is not with our goals. Our issue is with the lack of grace in setting goals.
We Need Goals
A Psychology Today article cites some research done in 2011 that shows setting goals is linked to self-confidence, motivation and autonomy.
In my personal experience, I’ve witnessed goal setting do the following:
- Improve resilience and fortitude
- Improve abilities
- They help you stay focused and directed toward something you’re hoping to achieve
- And of course self-confidence. The more you learn you are capable of doing something great, the more you feel great…
A lot of people in the public sphere are telling people to get rid of their goals… because it is a lot. It is. I get it… one more thing to add to the list of things to do.
BUT you deserve to get better at something that’s important to you.
You deserve to have a focus for your life.
You deserve to learn resilience.
You deserve to know your are capable of doing hard things.
Again, the issue is not the goal. The issue is the lack of grace. Just make sure you are goal setting with grace in mind.
Setting Goals on Outcomes Hurts
Of course, when we set goals on our outcomes we are giving ourselves a chance to fail. It hurts to fail. Of course, I’m using the word “fail” with the definition of not getting what you had hoped as an outcome.
There’s a billion ways we can miss the preferred outcome:
- we didn’t lose the weight
- We didn’t make the softball team
- We didn’t get the raise
- We didn’t get pregnant
- We didn’t win the tournament
It feels terrible to lose. I’ve lost plenty of times!
The way to add grace is to start measuring growth instead of outcomes alone.
Okay, growth is way harder to measure than a win or pounds lost or a baby in your arms… I get it.
“Measuring the growth is harder. Seeing what you’ve become inside, seeing how you’ve built this incredible resilience – that’s hard to measure,” I shared on the podcast.
Three Ways to Start Measuring Growth
1) Redefine failure
Redefine what failure means in goal setting with grace. In the most obvious sense, failure means you didn’t meet your goal.
But we forget about the process that gets us to a “failure.”
I saw a picture of a whole bunch of bricks. One man has the “failure” bricks and he is using them as stepping stones. Another man has the “failure” bricks burying him.
Failure is nothing but a stepping stone.
It’s like the scientific process. In this episode, I talked about how scientists get to have the scientific process – and things go wrong all the time. They don’t count it as something that is “wrong” or a “failure” they just count it as one step closer to getting it right.
A failure also doesn’t define who we are. In fact, failures are events. People cannot be failures.
2) Determine what you actually did gain
My goal as a kid in high school was to be a reporter in New York City.
Never in my life have I been a New York City reporter.
Would I consider my life a failure? Would I consider my career a failure?
Of course not!
One of my very first job was a radio reporter. Although I wasn’t qualified as a freshman in college. I almost didn’t accept the job because it wasn’t on TV.
Almost instantly in my mind, I had determined a radio reporting job would be a failure. Instead of a stepping stone to where I wanted to be.
It was an incredible stepping stone.
Think about all the things I gained – ability to interview people, editing skills (eh hem that I use today on the podcast), storytelling, doing live reports – and the list goes on.
The gain was huge.
3) Realize which of your goals’ outcomes are determined by another person or outside elements
We are not actually 100% in control of many outcomes.
If we don’t lose weight – it’s not necessarily because we aren’t exercising and eating well. There are a ton of things happening in the body that could prevent the weight loss from happening. We are not 100% in control of this outcome.
Not getting a raise – not up to us.
Not making a team – not up to us.
Even my goal of winning an Emmy wasn’t up to me. That outcome wasn’t up to me.
We have to release some of this obsession and the clinging to outcomes to realize the growth. We can’t see the growth when we are so tied up in an outcome that someone else determines for us.
Check out how you can take control of your mental game to accomplish your goals from this long distance swimmer
This episode explains a process to add grace to your goals