It’s the day before Christmas and I am on vacation, but I with reserversanted to share this short story about the power of intentions.
As many of you know, I am at a family beach vacation for my mother’s 80th birthday. Five years ago, she had a brush with death and has been managing a chronic illness, quite well, with a daily chemo cocktail and immune infusions. Her big goal, since getting ill, has been “Making it to my 80th birthday party.” This seemed a bit specific, and rather limiting, for a goal. In fact, all my siblings have made suggestions to Mom to push her goal out a bit further so she didn’t keel over at her party.
Despite going strong the whole week before we arrived, the day before her giant party, Mom came down with a horrible cough – which is not a good thing to have with a chronic lung condition.
I took her to the hospital to get checked out, since we didn’t want her birthday to turn into an Irish wake with her laid out on the dining room table. With a few reservations, they let her go home with a new antibiotic and some major knock out cough syrup so she could make it through her party. And she did, holding court from her bedroom – alive if not well.
My mother’s situation exemplifies the danger in getting too specific with 0ur goals. We tried to get Mom to change her mantra to wanting to be happy and healthy for her 80th birthday party knowing that there is power in the the language we use to frame our beliefs, which gets played over and over in our heads everyday. Even if you are not a new age type, you have to know that the stories we tell ourselves can have a very powerful impact on our behavior and others’ behavior towards us.
This time of year, the blog posts I have been reading are filled with the importance of setting your goals for the next year and yada, yada, yada, as Jerry Seinfeld would say.
I think setting specific goals for the year is very much like making New Year’s resolutions, and we all know how effective those are as we see the gym crowded in January and empty come March.
Last January, I made a plan to get together with a friend on a regular basis to support each other in meeting our business goals for the year. Our first meeting started by each getting a dry erase marker and writing one side of my giant white board our plans for the year. I wrote a few simple high order plans to raise my rates, hire a couple more people and lose weight.
Meanwhile, my friend was going to town on her side of the board, filling it up with very big, specific, projections, including dollar amounts associated with each of her multiple products. I was totally intimidated, and we never met again. That type of goal setting was not going to work for me.
If I set a specific number of dollars or pounds and didn’t reach the numbers within that time frame, I would have probably gotten discouraged and given up. As it turns out, my higher order, more global, intentions were effective for me, and I did really well this year in each category. But I knew what I was working towards, and figured out a plan of action I needed to take to get there. I figured that if I kept doing the right things, then the right results would follow. It seemed to work.
I am having knee surgery on January Fifth for an old skiing injury, so the biggest intention I have right now is to get through the surgery and on to optimal health.
If the idea of setting very specific goals doesn’t sit well with you either, have an eggnog, and make an intention about where you want to end up this time next year. Write it down. Do this just the same way as you would if you were in New York and wanted to get to California. You have to know where it is you want to be or you will never get there. But the specific route or time of arrival can and will vary as you take the journey.
Don’t let yourself be intimidated by people telling you to set goals that you really don’t see yourself being able to keep. And watch your language please. Our words have more power than we think.
Every moment of your life is infinitely creative and the Universe is endlessly bountiful. Just put forth a clear enough request and everything your heart desires must come to you.