Mindfulness teaches us to be present - to not dwell in the past or the future and instead live in the ‘right now’. For many ambitious and creative people, this can be challenging. Practicing mindfulness while still having a driving ambition can sometimes feel paradoxical. You want to think ahead and set goals, without getting caught up in the infinite unsatisfying cycle of constantly moving from goal onto the next. The error here is the total focus on the outcome, and not on the process. I’ve written some tips below on how to bring more presence into personal goal setting, by shifting the focus onto the process and use the present moment to take action on your ambition.
1. Long term goals: Give time to visualising the future, get excited, then let it go.
The biggest problem with setting goals is it makes the present feel as though it is not enough. It creates the illusion that you can only be happy once you’ve achieved whatever it is you’re aiming for. When you have an ambition, whether this is for your career, your business or your lifestyle - visualise it and feel as if you know it is coming. Get excited, imagine how you will feel when you have achieved it…
And then do nothing.
Come back to the present and follow the flow of each day. Imagine you’ve popped this ambition in your Amazon shopping basket and it’s been dispatched with the delivery date unknown. If your ambition is supposed to be realised it will, you don’t have to meticulously plan out a strategy of how to get there. Let the idea of knowing what you want is coming, motivate you to take opportunities that show up in your present. Enjoy the process, and enjoy the surprises along the way.
2. New Years resolutions and goals for the year: Get real!
If you like to make New Years resolutions or goals for the year, ask why you want to start this habit? Is this realistic in your existing schedule? Do you really want this or do you just feel you should? Is it essential to do this everyday? Or every week? How will you/ your life be different if you achieve this goal?
Give thought to it’s value in the present moment and make sure you’re setting a goal with a purpose that aligns with what you really want. I personally find New Years resolutions and year goals impossible, so I don’t tend to set them. Instead I start with a monthly intention and flow it into each month if it feels right to continue with it. Don’t get too caught up in routine and habit. Let go of the illusion your resolution is ruined if you slip up or don’t stick to it everyday. And most importantly, let go of the outcome - the process and the present is enough.
3. Short term goals: Know when to take action.
I’m a big fan of to do lists, my notes app on my phone is constantly in use, but they can be a huge cause of anxiety. Looking at a huge to do list can feel super daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! If you don’t tick everything off, that’s really okay. Make lists of short terms goals, but only take action on the things you feel inspired to do when it feels aligning or fun. I like to consult my to do list as a gentle reminder of the things I could do if I’m struggling for inspiration.
How do you incorporate goal setting into your mindfulness practice? Leave a comment or drop me a message!