If we don’t have goals, we are aimless. We squander time and energy. We are all over the place. So why is it sometimes so difficult to set goals? The reason is simple: Fear. To help yourself overcome that fear, remember:
It’s better to have a wrong goal than no goal. A lot of people fail to set goals because they are afraid to commit to something. So, remind yourself that goals are not set in concrete. Even if you do set the wrong goal, you are going to be able to determine in a short period of time that it’s not right for you, and then you’ll be able to set a more appropriate goal. In this way, wrong goals can actually help you.
Mistakes keep us on track. Did you know a guided missile is actually off-course during most of the time between its launch and reaching its target? The missile constantly starts going off-track, and its negative feedback system constantly course-corrects in tiny increments. We all have a similar internal negative feedback system—it’s how we learn. We have to stop being so concerned about making mistakes, because like the missile, mistakes are ultimately what cause us to stay on track. As you yourself discover this, any zigzagging you may feel in your life becomes less violent and you start to experience flow instead.
We all make mistakes. Maybe you have a negative self-image because you can’t forget mistakes you made in the past. If you tend to resist setting a goal because you fear you might fail, reassure yourself we all make mistakes; it’s only a bad thing when you don’t learn from it, because you’ll keep repeating it over and over again. Change their perspective by looking at mistakes as opportunities to learn. Create short-term goals of a couple of days, or weeks; mid-range goals, which might be a couple of months to a year or two; and then long-term goals.
Mediocre goals produce mediocre results. When you set goals, consider one beyond the scope of your comfort zone. Stretch!
Speaking of big goals, don’t forget: Your life has a purpose. Very few of us have really gotten in touch with our purpose, and when we don’t have a mission or a purpose, we are squandering our energy. We are wasting time. When you have a purpose, when you have a mission, you have incredible focus and power.
We’ve all had problems. If we can give our past problems value, we can move on and grow. Once we have determined our life purpose, all our goals can be brought into alignment with it.
Give yourself permission to experience your purpose, and it will come to you. It might come as a picture, a thought, an emotion or an urge. Say, “I give myself permission to get in touch with my true self, my essence, so I can align with the purpose of my essence.”
Try this exercise: Relax. Take a deep breath in, and let your belly puff out as you breathe in; then slowly breathe out. Each time you breathe out, allow your body to soften. Now close your eyes, slow your breathing, again soften your body, and ask yourself, “What is my life’s purpose?” Then move into deep silence and ask your true self for help.
So many of us are disconnected from our real selves, our essence, and most of us are more in survival mode than really living. Know it’s not selfish to take care of yourself, to get in touch with your real self. As you do, it will give you the power to let other people, through your presence and experiences, get in touch with their power, their true selves. Finding your purpose is very profound—and very necessary.
John F. Barnes, P.T., L.M.T., N.C.T.M.B., is an international lecturer, author and acknowledged expert in the area of myofascial release. He has instructed more than 100,000 therapists worldwide in his Myofascial Release approach, and he is the author of Myofascial Release: the Search for Excellence (Rehabilitation Services Inc., 1990) and Healing Ancient Wounds: the Renegade’s Wisdom (Myofascial Release Treatment Centers & Seminars, 2000). He is on the counsel of advisors of the American Back Society; he is also a member of the American Physical Therapy Association. For more information, visit www.myofascialrelease.com.
For more information about myofascial release, access two excerpts from the Fireside Chat with John F. Barnes, PT DVD on YouTube:
To connect with John Barnes on Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/myofascial.release.