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I’ve had clients who came to me with hundreds of “goals” spread across countless wish lists. The lists kept growing as new goals outpaced achievement. While a powerful motivator for many, goals can become a statement that you are currently in some way incomplete and will only be complete when all the goals have been achieved. With those lists growing longer you can just imagine the inner dialogue: I never achieve anything, I’ve no self-discipline, I’ve no motivation, I’m no good. They felt overwhelmed with so much to do and so little time. One lady could hardly get out of her chair when she felt the weight of all that she had to do. And yet when she lived in the moment her sense of joie de vivre was infectious. She had simply created the narrative that she needed lots of goals to have a happy life. And yet the issue was more in the scattergun approach to choosing goals than anything else. She set a “goal” today in a moment of excitement without any real thought as to whether this would improve life for her future self or make her feel guilty for not fully achieving it.

So what would it feel like if you imagined literally dropping all your goals on the floor? Which ones do you feel like picking up? Which ones will you let melt away?

Setting a goal is easy and yet we are creating homework for our future self. We need to choose wisely. And what if we gave ourselves permission to reassess each day whether the goals still make sense? My daughter spent 4 years playing violin and one day came to me saying she no longer wanted to play. She wanted to learn piano instead. In my head I naturally thought – after all the time and effort these past years you’re going to give up now? But she was simply asking us for permission to release her from a past goal. How could I refuse!