For so long, I’ve been obsessed with goals:
- Learn to play the guitar.
- Lose 5 lbs.
- Become a health coach.
- Write a book.
- Run a marathon.
Indeed, goals are a big part of behavior change – the thing that health coaches support.
The No Goals Approach
The past couple of years, simple living guru Leo Babauta has increasingly moved away from goals to a freer flowing life journey. At first, I was in shock. What? A life without goals? How does that work? For a while, I didn’t even read Leo’s blog, because it felt like my world had been turned upside down.
Then 2013 arrived. I sat down with my notebook to do my annual goal review/revision. And I realized…
Goals just become another thing to track. Another thing to fail at. Another thing to procrastinate about. They take the joy out of the journey and result in guilt and stress.
I’m finally on board with Leo’s new philosophy on goals. So no goals in 2013!
Rather, I want to go with the natural flow of the day/week/month. I want to write when I feel like writing. Read when I feel like reading. Eat when I feel like eating.
I’m at a point where I want to start focusing on things that matter to me and my journey as opposed to everybody else’s journey.
Be über productive and not waste my life on social media. Create. Invent. Write.
Trust me, it’s taken all the self control I have not to write down a list of “2013 Goals.” It’s what I do. It makes me feel like I’m going somewhere.
The thing is, there are no goals that must be accomplished. And priorities are constantly changing. Setting yearly goals is like developing software using the “waterfall” approach (usually doesn’t work out very well). I want my life journey to be agile, flexible. Without goals, I can adapt to what’s happening in the world, at work, in my family.
Of course, this doesn’t mean I’m not going to continue to try to be the best (imperfect) person I can be and enjoy life to the fullest. But that does not require goals, but guidelines. Here’s the difference:
Goals are destinations. Guidelines guide you on your journey.
These are ideas and values that guide your everyday life. How you interact with people. How you perform your work. What you do with your free time. How you take care of your body and our planet.
My Life Guidelines
Here is a list of 16 guidelines that help guide my life journey:
- Be kind.
- Do good work.
- Be myself.
- Consume just enough.
- Make music.
- Connect with nature.
- Eat local, organic, whole food.
- Move naturally.
- Be present.
- Write often.
- Minimize screen time.
- Foster community.
- Enjoy a day of rest.
- Love freely.
- Give back.
I think life guidelines evolve over time, and they’re not something you make up. Life guidelines reside in your head and help you live the life you want to live.
Over to You!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this…