Goals and Word of the Year (Episode 233)
We're about halfway through January, and of course the biggie on people's minds are all those goals and resolutions...and the obligation, dread and pressure that often roll with that.
Goal-setting can be overwhelming, horrible, or...what fuels you forward. In the episode below, Nathan and I share about how we approach goals in a very different way - not writing out my list with specific details, but focusing on the feelings behind them.
The best gift you can give to a giver is to receive the gift well.
A different Approach to Goal-Setting
When it comes to setting goals, there are so many approaches to it. Where some people plot it all out with checkpoints and exactly how much money they might make or books they will read, others might take a little different approach -
Yep, for some people, they are more inclined to live by John O'Donahue's quote,
"I love to flow like the river flows;
carried by the surprise of its own unfolding."
Nathan is definitely more wired to let life come to him as it flows, and embracing the moments. For me, I have a tendency to want to plan and plot out every path. What I've learned, however, is that being too prepared can box me in to a plan that may not remain a fit as I'm moving forward.
Our goals are ultimately there, not to be the looming punishment, but to move us toward the feelings we want to achieve in life. Ultimately, is it really about the goal, or the feeling you experience with it?
When we went on our ten year anniversary trip, we got sucked in to the book I was reading - the Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte. And in this book, she talks about getting to the true root of the desires and emotions behind the goals we set.
For us, that is way, way more important.
You want a goal of a six figure income. What will that do for you? What does that really look and feel like in your life?
You want a goal of losing weight - Why? Because it's nicer to see a lower weight on the scale? For your health? How will you feel if you lost weight - would you be healthier? Would your self-confidence shift? What is deeper than the weight loss?
Be sure you integrate both head and heart
Get the hippie and banker together. Get them to talk to the little kid in your mind and let them know what's going on. If this is truly confusing, listen to the episode above!
What I mean by this is that you have to address all parts of this - it's not just about logically laying something out on paper and adopting it as your goal. It's integrating the mind/body/soul approach. What is the deepest "why" behind the desire? What is the feeling you hope to step into? What will this open up for you?
Recognize your fears and hesitations and determine what is procrastination due to perfectionism or avoidance of struggle. Pay attention to your "wanter" and if the desires are truly logical. In our 48 Days Eagles community, one of our fabulous members, Roxanne, created an acronym for goals that spells out Eagle that I absolutely love:
E - Does the Goal give you Energy?
A - Are you in a place to take Action?
G - Is there opportunity for Growth?
L - Are you ready to Live it?
E - Do you have Encouragement from others?
When it comes to goals - and to sales - it's not just about the end accomplishment. It's building relationships and moving forward. Nathan shared about the bottom line goal...will you show up and still be a support if/when things get hard? Are you willing to go into relationships vs. just looking at the goal on the surface?
We talked on the podcast about the selling process, and how much is focused on relationship building. Trust and rapport are so critical when it comes to sales, and shifting perspectives on selling to be about relationship-building is a different strategy to reach a goal. Nathan might have made real-estate commissions as part of his work, yet when he would share the news with me, he would tell me, "I helped this family buy their home today!" While the goal wasn't the money, the deeper goal of connection through serving another well and showing up fully resulted in not only fostering a friendship - it also positively impacted our bank account.
Breaking it down to the steps to reach your Desire
We have an exercise we do with our children to help them better understand a growth mindset. We lay out something they have accomplished or achieved in their life, and then break it down to all the little steps they had to learn and do before they could make that happen. The more you see that things are a process of taking those little steps forward, the more you can identify how to really reach those bigger goals by breaking them down into something manageable.
And, when you start to break it down to the basic steps,
with each step forward you gain grace for growth in your goals.
Yes, grace for growth. This is a critical component. Are you willing to course-correct? Are you willing to allow grace for the fact that you might gain new insights, and what you thought you wanted may change?
Remember Your Family Vision
A family vision is a way for each person to be able to share their dreams and desires for what "home" looks and feels like to them, and then to use that as a framework to create a common ground where the family can move forward as a team with a clear vision versus everyone in their own lane.
When we started with a family vision, we all got on the same page with our desires - what we all wanted in our lives in order to thrive. This helped us create a common theme that opened the door to what goals we wanted to create. Explore, respect, listen, connect, learn & love. Yes, that is our family vision in its entirety. It doesn't have to be complicated. It's to focus in on the theme of what emotions and goals we want to do to better connect - with ourselves and others. And then, instead of specific goal checkpoints, we focused in on a theme for each year.
Our Words for the Year
So, for us, instead of specifically writing out all of our goals for the year, we started looking at what words could become a theme for intentionality in our year. Here are some examples (and links to dig deeper) with words we've themed our years around -
- Letting go of "one day" - (2015) - The constant theme of "it'll always remain 'one day' until you put a date on it" became a year of making things happen, not putting it off, and getting really intentional about what was truly a dream of ours we wanted to make a reality.
- The year of awe - (2016)- wow, was this a year to really focus in on the feelings behind the goals. The feeling we wanted to embrace - with so many goals - was an emotion of awe and curiosity, of being present and appreciating what was.
- Getting our FOCUS - (2017) - I really pursued clarity on what I was offering and coaching on this year, creating acronyms to keep me on track, and we had many conversations around where our focus was and what was serving us well, and where we might better direct our attentions.
- The year of "and" - (2018) - this definitely became a theme that has stuck, as it's rare we see either/or solutions in life. Our year of "and" opened up a ton of doors, and definitely pushed us outside the box of what we thought was possible.
- Unhurried Spaciousness - (2019) - looking back, how incredible that we focused on the themes we did, as each built on and better prepared us for the years to come. As we slowed down this year after some of our whirlwind travels, we were able to open the door to new opportunities, and experience some incredible things just by slowing our pace enough to make time to support others.
- 5 Senses to Break the Cycle of a Negative Mindset - (2020) - how fitting for us to have focused on our most basic senses as the way to walk through 2020...in a year of complete upheaval and uncertainty, and people actually losing their senses of taste and smell...we set the direction at the beginning of the year to truly focus on and find gratitude in all the senses - and yes, we don't take taste and smell for granted at all, and are truly grateful we were able to engage all of the senses to keep us steady through the storms.
- Nurture what is growing - (2021) - last year, we chose the word nurture, as we were looking at our new house purchase in Venice, Florida, and what we might create and foster there. We purchased a house in Florida because we were tired of the "campground shuffle" every winter when we'd come here in our RV. Yet, ironically, once we'd done that, a new door of opportunity opened with volunteering in the Florida Keys at the State Parks down there. We nurtured a different spark, and built beautiful relationships with rangers, volunteers and more down in the Keys. While our focus shifted, we implemented our word in a different way, and have nurtured an experience in the Keys that is so wonderful we committed to a full six months of volunteering there again this winter.
Our word for 2022
I went back to that blog post above after we had recorded our episode this week...and had completely forgotten it was the exact word we picked last year! You might question how it's helpful if I didn't even remember it was our word last year. Yes, "unhurried spaciousness" stands out a bit more as easy to remember vs. "nurture." With it being something we've wanted to implement, I just forgot it was THE word we established - we just started integrating it into our life!
So yes, this year, it's nurture, take 2. Why are we okay with the same word? Let me explain.
I looked at what all I had laid out for us to nurture last year -
- Nurturing Clara's interest in herpetology by staying closer to Florida this year and working with the State Parks and other orgs to curb the invasive iguanas in the Keys as well as other snake/reptile rehabilitation programs, like the indigo snakes here in Venice.
- Nurturing all the girl's love of animals by having a home that is able to foster animals as we help them find their forever homes.
- Going deeper with our own knowledge about the area where we bought our house - getting to know the stores, restaurants, beaches and more that are around here as we aim for this house being more of our home-base than our Nashville home.
- Nurturing relationships with our neighbors, friends and family - getting more intentional with snail mail and writing letters.
- Nurturing the slower pace that 2020 gave us, and recognizing we have welcomed that into our home and are better for it.
And I look at what we accomplished. The word "nurture" was there all along, yet we didn't know what all would show up for us to nurture that year! While we thought we'd nurture Clara's love of herping here in Venice, we jumped at the opportunity to work in the Keys, and we nurtured a deep education not only on snakes (yes, she added to her snakes for a total of five and has plans for breeding), but also working with the bird rescue in Marathon, tracking, rescuing and learning all about sea turtles, learning about Keys life and the ocean world, steps toward SCUBA certification, and many relationships down in the Keys meeting people of all walks of life and differing perspectives, and nurturing growth and support in relationships.
I look at this list, and I'm a-okay with keeping the theme another year. You don't have to force a new word if the focus is working well toward your growth. I look at all we nurtured in the Keys last year, and this new world we established down there - we love the role of volunteering with the State Parks. And now, we're back at our Venice home for a stretch before we go back down. And we've decided to truly experience the stationary world a bit, and encourage more people to come to us this year instead of our own travels.
When I asked Nathan what the word meant to him on this podcast episode above, he said, "nurture means all those little spaces in us that we've forgotten about that need our attention. Now is a time to dig and sit with those and see what comes out of it. It's amazing when you give something that might have been neglected/forgotten about a little attention and to see what truly blossoms."
So we'll continue to nurture - there are countless things to nurture in our lives - our personal growth and development, our connections and experiences here in Venice, and even the literal growth of all the plants we've been sowing seeds for in our yard!
Funny enough...in the podcast, Nathan referenced that the word "nurture" could be our theme for a decade...apparently we're on year two of reenforcing what this means in our world!
Your Weekly Challenge:
What is your focus this year? What do you want to accomplish? Can you truly identify the feelings behind the goals and desires you have?
Have you explored what the point of money is in your life? Of your work? your relationships?
Are you setting goals that allow grace for growth, so you aren't doggedly sticking to something that no longer aligns with the new insights you've gained?
Remember the point of goals. It's not to bog you down; it's to move you forward. A goal is to fuel you forward to the next step of growth. And with every step forward, you have the opportunity to assess those goals and your intentions, and if they continue to align with the growth you have along the way. Give yourself grace for growth, and keep your goals and intentions as support to move you forward; not lock you down. Nurture the roots you want to establish that bring forth your best fruit, and celebrate along the way how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.
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