Goals for You and Your Future Self

Full moon in a dark sky

Photo by Daniele Levis Pelusi on Unsplash

When I first started coaching years ago, there was something so simple and clear in this quote that spoke to me:

“Do something today your future self will thank you for.”

When we approach every day with this purpose, it can make choosing those healthy foods, or getting out the door to exercise, or taking the next “not-so-comfortable” step in your marketing plan a little bit easier.

It connects the future goals you are working toward to the little steps today.

But it’s still about your future self.

Before I began coaching, I thought of my goals as something I was pushing myself to achieve. I think this is the classic approach to goal setting and achieving – where we set this place in the future we will get to – whether that is completing a marathon, saving up to go on vacation, losing weight, making a certain amount of money, getting a promotion – it is outside of ourselves and sometimes feels like an “event” or moment you are going to be able to check off on a list.

  • There is now – when you haven’t accomplished this goal.
  • There is stuff you “have to do” to make it happen.
  • And then there is the “after” – this happier existence when you have achieved your goal.

Goals were always about the result.

What I have come to learn is our goals are about so much more than the outer accomplishments.

Maybe we set these types of goals because it’s all we have been taught to do?

I wonder what my 25- or 30-year-old self would have “accomplished” and how she would have felt along the way if my goals had been to “love my body” or “invest in the 70-year-old me.” Would losing that weight or building my savings have had a different experience in the moment?

What most of us have been trained to do around “goals” is name those outer results we want to reach. And then work to get them accomplished. Simple and straightforward.

You may have heard of SMART goals as a structure to use: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Makes perfect sense right – good thing we are all logical, organized people when it comes to going for something we really want and have never had before! 😊

There’s nothing wrong with the SMART goal design, really, but to me it is only part of the picture. Once again, it’s about the result we want to get, not the process of getting there.

When I set goals in my life now, and how I guide my clients, is much different than my younger self did these things!

My process is what I have named, “The Stroll Approach.”

The Stroll Approach guides you through a whole inner ~ outer journey to realizing your goals.

Our goals themselves are only one aspect of the journey. Who we become along the way, and the parts of ourselves that we heal, release, love and forgive are essential to the process.

It’s about creating, experiencing, and fully living the lives we want to live.

When we go on a stroll, we are getting to where we want to go, and we are enjoying the experience along the way.

It’s almost graduation season for students, think about your own graduations – whether it was college, graduate, high school or kindergarten – the day you received your diploma wasn’t the whole “goal.”

Can you imagine if you just sat in a room and completed the assignments required to learn the material and then got your diploma? You were graded on right or wrong, complete or incomplete assignments, and attendance. That’s all. No “college/real life experience” or “kindergarten playgroups” or “teenage drama” included! Although the lack of drama may sound enticing, that is part of the whole experience, it’s part of what we need to grow.

This is how we have been taught to approach our goals.

Your goal is to lose weight – you will “receive your diploma” if you exercise 5 days/ week and eat 1500 calories/day for two months. Go!

You want to save money – stop buying coffee at a coffee shop and put that $5/day in a savings account. At the end of a year, you’ll have $1825. Go!

You want to build a service-based business? Follow this “5-step plan” to identify your “ideal client,” create an “irresistible offer,” build your audience, make sales, and deliver! Go!

Simple, right?

There is so much more to realizing our goals than the actual steps to get there (which vary for each of us).

And thank goodness! We are human, after all! 

We are not goal-achieving machines! We are here to learn to express ourselves, to practice self-compassion, self-acceptance, forgiveness, self-love, self-trust and so much more!

So yes, “do something today that your future self will thank you for” and… be sure to check in with your present self and listen for what they need too.

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