It is week three of 2020 and I am feeling overwhelmed by my goals and my plans for myself this year and the next ten years. Am I alone?
I spent the whole month of December focused on all things goal setting and it brought up a lot of ‘feelings’ for me about my own goals and accomplishments. On the one hand, I am surprised looking back over the decade at how happy I am with what I have accomplished. On the other hand, I am still hung up on a few areas, or goals, that I wish I had actually completed.
I began to explore this more during a coaching session with a fellow classmate (side note: I love coaching school because of all the free coaching…maybe almost as great as massage school!?). What I realized was twofold:
- Who I am and what I am proud of about myself is directly linked to my accomplishments and I don’t know how to describe myself outside of my accomplishments
- I am judging myself worth by my accomplishments and the accomplishments I judge from my expectations not my observations
Let me explain
If you have read any of my previous posts in ‘coach’s corner’ you will be familiar with the fact that I need to change my thought pattern around my self-worth and my accomplishments. You may also recall that I have mentioned the realization that I need to look at myself and my life through my observations not my expectations.
Well here I am talking about this all over again from a slightly different angle…I think my personal hang-ups are rather obvious at this point…
So, in diving into my goalsetting and looking at my past accomplishments I have realized, yet again:
My self-worth needs to be outside of my activities. When I was asked: what am I proud of about myself? All I could think of were specific activities or accomplishments. I could not pinpoint an adjective, a description of who I am. I realized that I had never tried to think about it this way. My focus had always been on the verb, the action, the result.
In only focusing on the activities I am in essence telling myself that I am only proud of the activities not the person I had to be in order to accomplish them. I need to look at the intrinsic characteristics that I have that allowed me to accomplish a goal or a feat, not just the feat itself for praise, self-worth, and validation.
This is probably the root problem: tying my self-worth to my accomplishments, but another big revelation I had was that my accomplishments are also getting short ended! I realize that my goal setting and satisfaction with my accomplishments only occurs when I get the SPECIFIC goal or experience I was looking for. I find that I am rather hard on myself and I need to lighten up a bit and give myself some credit. When I look back, the things I regret are the things that didn’t turn out exactly as I expected or wanted.
It is so important to understand the difference between expectations and observations. Expectations come with so much emotion and judgment, but observations are facts, they are circumstantial, no feelings and emotion attached. We are so often quick to judge ourselves and each other from a place of expectations. When we do this, we will always be disappointed. When something does not live up to our expectations, we will more than likely be disappointed, discouraged, or upset.
I realize that the places I am the hardest on myself over the last decade were the activities/goals/relationships where I had a certain outcome in mind and that outcome, that expectation was not met and so I feel I failed. But in reality I gained so much from those experiences too, even if they were not what I wanted.
What I need to remember and always tell myself (and chances are you do too) is that I will often have expectations that go unmet, and I will be frustrated because of it, yet I don’t have to be. I have to remember to let my OBSERVATION take precedence over my EXPECTATION. When I come into a situation and my expectations are not met, I need to let my observation take the lead, discarding my expectations in the moment and deal instead with the reality at hand.
Moving forward, I have very ambitious goals for myself for the next year and next ten years. I am a bit scared to set these goals because of my past. In my past I have set ambitious goals and then not achieved them and beaten myself up because of it. This year, and decade, I am planning on looking at my goals as an end point that right now, in this moment, I see as the result I want BUT I will hold space for myself when and if (and chances are they will) my goals change and shift.
I am more concerned with looking at the process, and the person I have to become along the way to my goals, not the end goal itself.
I want to focus on the adjectives, not the verbs!