Every morning I wake up with tons of goals I want to achieve, and by the end of the day I always seem to have fallen short. How can I achieve my goals without getting distracted?
Steven S., Newport, RI
ANSWER: I love to-do lists. I love checking off little boxes. It gives me a rush. In fact, I’m not alone. Studies show that to-do lists decrease anxiety and boost productivity. This is definitely true for me, as well. However, to-do lists miss the mark on one important aspect of goal setting. The check mark only measures single, isolated tasks completed. How can we go one step further to measure internal change, shifts of consciousness, or obstacles overcome in the pursuit of our goals?
I love the idea of “to-be” lists. It’s like a to-do list, but instead of it being a list of things to do, it’s a list of ways to be in order to accomplish what’s on the to-do list. If you’re clear about what you need to be, who you want to become, and what you really value, you are less likely to be distracted from your purpose. Furthermore, checking off those to-dos will be easier, almost automatic, because you have effected change at the seed level.
It’s easy to get distracted from your goals or discouraged because of a lack of progress. A to-be list is a good way to keep priorities on track. Often the things that distract us are obstacles meant to test us. Stay the course. Large projects can be daunting, and breaking them into smaller, more easily accomplished tasks not only increases our chances of staying on target, it eases anxiety commonly associated with big goals. Your to-be list is another way of breaking down goals.
Start by taking a close look at your long and short-term goals. No matter what your goal is, ask yourself, who do I need to become in order to achieve these goals? Dig in. Is your focus on being something, or doing something? If you’ve been spending your time trying to accomplish tasks rather than creating fundamental shifts in your life, ask yourself what you are avoiding. Once you identify your true purpose, that is who you are meant to be, you can tighten your focus on being the person you need to be in order to do the things you want to do.
For example, imagine you are reading about the latest natural disaster on the news. It’s horrible and you feel bad for the people affected, so you write “donate supplies” on your to-do list. That’s just one small task. You can, of course, donate supplies or money to a reputable organization, and this action will undoubtedly bring more Light into the world. However, what’s the larger goal? Is it to be a generous person? Is it to be an activist in the community? Once you know who you want to be, you can see more clearly what you need to do and increase the Light you channel into your life. Yes, collect those supplies, or write that check. But the true goal is who you want to become. Everything else – meaningful change and deep connection – unfolds from there. Add it to your to-do list, but also add it to your to-be list. Let your to-be list lead – your to-do list will follow.
Each day is different than any other, therefore, the energy available to us and what we can reveal is different from day-to-day. There’s never something you should be doing or you should’ve done. Do what you feel you need to do, but be mindful of what you can do more of by knowing exactly who you want to be in this lifetime. Distraction only comes from the outside. Go inside.