In the past couple of years I have achieved a lot of goals, while some of these goals were quite diverse there was one thing that they all had in common; the feelings of satisfaction, happiness, achievement and joy that came with their achievement was fleeting.
So fleeting in fact often it wasn’t even there at all.
I have written a couple of books, I have received some qualifications, I have spoken in some interesting companies and at great events, I have been on TV and radio but none of these things brought with them the feelings that I expected they would, none of them helped me to feel what I wanted to feel.
The ultimate goal is and was to feel more happiness, joy and excitement each day and while some of these feelings came, they left all too quickly.
There is value in Goal Setting
For the past 10 years I’ve helped people reach their goals, I’ve helped them take control of their lives and focus on the things they want in their lives, rather than what they don’t want. While goal setting is wonderful for helping us move from victim, (where life is happening to you) to master, (where you are designing and creating your own life), it doesnt always bring happiness that we think it will. We see people achieve massive goals to set another one as quickly.
What happens to a lot of people is when they achieve their goal they realise that it wasnt what they were looking for at all. It’s like reaching for the cookie jar when someone let’s you down or drinking wine when you have had an arguement with someone. Neither examples are the solution for what ails you, just like achieving external goals doesnt fill that piece of you that is missing.
I’m not dismissing the value in setting goals and I continue to set goals myself but what I have realised is that these external goals are not the source or the route to internal happiness.
There may come a day if it hasn’t already come when you realise that the wealth that is more important is inner wealth. That the comfort that you seek in food and alcohol can only come from loving yourself. That the peace that you crave will never be found in the incessant distraction of social media.
Two things have happened in recent times to give me what I have been seeking for 10 years.
– I became more conscious
– I came to understand presence
Let me explain..
Becoming more Conscious
First I started to Rise Before My Bull. Those of you who have read my latest book, Rise Before Your Bull and other habits of successful people, will understand when I speak about the bull. While there is an actual bull in the story, the bull mostly refers to the bull in your head, The type of bullshit you tell yourself in the morning to allow yourself to stay in bed a little longer and not get up and do the things you said you would do.
But the bull doesnt just rear his horns in the morning he hangs around all day telling you you are not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough to live the life you want to live. He sabotages your health and happiness by telling you you don’t need to exercise, another cookie won’t do you any harm or watching another episode of your favourite series on Netflix, when its already 12pm won’t ruin your day tomorrow.
We all have a bull but becoming conscious of this bull intimidates him, this awareness of his presence gradually silences his voice. Once you recognise the bull you will notice when he shows up and the more you observe him the more he starts to retreat back into the corner. This awareness of your inner voice allows you to become more conscious of the life you are choosing to live. This awareness will also help you to recognise the behaviours and beliefs that are holding you back. It will enable you to make more conscious choices about what’s working in your life and what’s not and see which habits both physical and mental are adding something positive to your life.
The second thing that changed my world was understanding what it truly meant to be present., My first real experience of understanding presence and the positive impact of it was on a flight to South Africa a number of years ago. An 11 hour daytime flight to South Africa with my three boys, two of whom still owned bottles and soothers (pacifiers) I was well prepared for the flight with their favourite books, colouring books, games and toys. I realised that day that it was the first time that I was fully present with my boys, not thinking about the work I had to do or the dinner I had to cook, I was with them, I saw them, I listened to them and it felt really good.
Being present means having your mind on the here and now. The impact of learning presence is enormous. When we live in the future we often live worrying about what might happen, trashing through the negative scenarios of what could go wrong. Often when our mind is in the past we are regretting something we said or did and wishing we had done things differently. When we live in the present moment only focused on what is happening right now, we then live with more peace. Being present helps you to focus and get stuff done, it helps you to minimise stress and it helps to deepen your relationships when the people in your life start to feel valued, listened to and heard. Presence happens easily when we play sport, music or engage in creative endeavours, the challenge is to stay present in the rest of your life. To feel the peace that is inside you already there waiting for you.
So while my goals do contribute positively to my life it was only when I started to become more conscious and present that I started to understand what was important was how I feel on the inside and any external achievements weren’t going to shift that.
So begin to uncover the thoughts, beliefs and behaviours that are driving your life and question are they assisting you in become the best version of you or do they need some work? Take some time out to notice the present moment, to observe what’s happening in the here and now. Talk a walk and notice everything around you, the colours, the textures, the smells. Notice how present you are with your family and friends and talk gradual steps to improve it.
Change is challenging, nobody likes to step outside their comfort zone or do things differently but we all know that only when we are willing to change that we can experience the magic that lies on the other side of our fear.