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Writing (and Engaging) Goals that Matter

Can you imagine trying to open a coconut with your bare hands? When I was around ten years old, this is exactly what I had set to do on a humid summer day at the beach. I started early. I went searching for a coconut that looked like it had just fallen. I found one, brought it back, and started to work. My cousin and I each had one, and we began tearing every little fiber we could get to. After about six hours, I had managed to tear off about half of the coconut’s husk. I was exhausted and my fingertips were numb. We continued the next day. Once we removed most of the husk, we got to the hard shell. At that point, we realized that opening it with our bare hands was not going to happen. I didn’t get to open it, but I felt happy.

Why would I want to open a coconut in the first place? In retrospect, I see that I had set a goal: to open a coconut using my own hands. The goal worked, since I engaged to try to open it, applied different strategies, and learned as a result of it. My goal was simple, action-oriented and based on my belief in abundance! As we approach the end of the year, it’s natural to wonder what we’d like to do the following year. So let’s explore goal setting and maybe we’ll feel empowered to go on a mission—like the coconut adventure.

Setting goals can be a messy process. Usually, we don’t spend enough time thinking about our goals, and we don’t take them seriously because they often feel pushy and empty. This has happened to me when I focus on goals that are externally driven. You know—goals that focus on end results, financial gain, praise, or external validation. Those are consequences, not motives. If my coconut adventure had been externally driven, I would have focused only on drinking the coconut water. I would probably have given up after my fingers went numb and asked my parents to buy me one. But what good is that? We would be missing the point. No, it was about engaging in a mission to experience abundance. 

Goals are meant to compel you to move! They help provide clarity and inspiration. You’ll know you have a goal worth pursuing when it’s written in a way that exhilarates you! Goals are about experiencing more internally, and proving less externally. Goal setting takes some goal cleaning: gently drop the shoulds and the vague statements that make goals uneasy. The lack of movement is often a lack of clarity. Instead, write goals that express what you desire, and feel empowered knowing that it’s ultimately your choice to act on them!

  • Commit to find the goals that make you excited!
  • Elaborate three to four goals with clear and powerful statements.
  • Write them down.
  • Use “I am, I want, I can, I will”.

Back in that summer, I wanted to open the coconut to experience that nature is abundant. I realized that instead of paying for one, I could go find one. It provoked in me such a natural desire to go looking for a coconut to open, that I hardly thought of it as work. However, I learned that abundance requires more effort to get past that hard shell! But as long as we allow ourselves to pursue what we believe in (or want to believe), we’ll tap into energy we’ve long forgotten. What do you already believe in? What would you love to see happen next year?

Juan F. Diaz

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Thanks for reminding methat the process is more rewarding than the results. I almost forgot to focus on the ride.

Juan F. Diaz

Jorge- We definitely can choose to focus more on the ride! Glad you found this a good reminder!

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