In my capacity as a therapist and speaker, I’m often asked how to help people set goals that are not only realistic but also how to keep them moving. It’s always interesting to explore this topic and over the next few columns, I will discuss some steps that can help with the process.
One of the first steps in goal setting is to define for yourself what you really want. Often goals are created based on what you think you should do as opposed to what you need to do to feel more fulfillment in your life. A way to address this dilemma of “should” versus “true need” is to explore your potential goal from the inside out. If you can relax for a few moments and ask yourself what it is you need, you’ll allow your inner voice to emerge. Here’s a way to move into a relaxed state and then examine your needs from a body-mind perspective.
Take a moment to read through these steps and then try them on your own.
1) Find a spot where you can shut your eyes for five to ten minutes.
2) Allow yourself to sit comfortably with your hands in your lap and simply notice your breathing.
3) Allow yourself to scan your body with your mind’s eye from the top of your head to your feet. In other words, while your eyes are closed, imagine yourself taking an inward journey and noticing where in your body you might be tense, relaxed, or holding your breath.
4) Let yourself take a deep breath in through the nose and out through the mouth and see if you can deepen your breathing so that with each inhale and exhale, your abdomen, stomach, and chest are all getting air. Do this three times.
5) Now that you have connected to your breath, ask yourself these questions.
What does my body need right now? What does my body need today? This month? Or maybe even this year?
Although I have you ask what the body needs, it’s not just a question of what the body needs physically, but what you as a person needs overall. I’m not excluding the mind, I’m just allowing the inner voice of the body to have more of a say then it usually does in the self-care process.
6) Let yourself listen for any information you get without questioning it. If you aren’t getting anything, don’t worry, it sometimes takes a few tries to get the body-mind connection familiar with both the physical relaxation and the accessing of information.
I believe that if you address what you need—really deep down need—and fulfill it to the best of your ability, you create a sense of self trust. In my experience as a therapist, I have seen how this trust establishes the inner security you need when you want or are forced to take on even bigger challenges in life.
Next time we will look at five broad areas for goal setting and some questions to ask yourself in regard to each.
(Join Karol on February 21st and February 28th, for her teleseminar (phone seminar), Straight Talk in Relationships, which focuses on the tips and tools for better communication in personal relationships. For information and registration, visit: www.karolward.com.)