Goal Setting or Heart Aspiration?
At the Coming Home To Your Body Spring Day Retreat on October 22nd we used meditation and movement techniques to discover our deepest desires and personal values - that is our #heartaspirations.
The Day Retreat began by spending time letting go of the high expectations we place on ourselves to achieve and also the associated feelings of shame or unworthiness that can come with that: "I should be doing more of this" or "I need to be more like that". This is something I'm sure everyone can relate to.
The New Moon on October 31st was an opportunity to put pen to paper after the Day Retreat and come up with a list of five aspirations reflecting our hearts deepest longing and we still invite anyone to share us in this movement by using #heartaspriations on Instagram and Facebook.
To live a life that is guided by the compass of our heart and connecting to our deepest desires takes some self-exploration. It requires going further than just what might be nice to experience or have (a holiday or a new car) and listing what truly most matters for you.
The second part is then having the courage to honour those aspirations and to live true to what our heart wants even when our minds may be pulling us in ten different directions all at once! Take scrolling through social media for a few minutes: "those people are fit, I need to lose weight" or "they're so successful, I'm always falling short". If reading magazines or using social media makes us feel like we're not good enough in many different aspects of our lives and we have the uncomfortable feeling falling short we can often set lofty goals of things that we would like to achieve rather than what we aspire to have more of in our lives.
Goals focus on an outcome occurring in the future, which we either accomplish or we fail to reach based upon the actions we take along the way. Whilst goals can move us towards what we say we want, they can take us out of the moment and create a feeling that what we have or who we are isn't enough. We may experience a sense of unease or a sense of shame if our life discounts the present moment or we feel like something is wrong with ourselves.
When you’re working toward a goal it can be the same as saying “I’m not good enough yet, but I will be when I reach my goal.” The problem with this mindset is that you’re teaching yourself to always put happiness and success off until the next thing is achieved. “Once I reach my goal, then I’ll be happy.”
How does it feel when you set lofty goals and say to yourself "I'm going to lose 5kg in three months!"? We do this to ourselves all the time. We place unnecessary stress on ourselves to lose weight or to be successful or to write a best-selling novel. We place high expectations on ourselves and can have a constant feeling that we're not good enough now, but one day when we achieve our goal we will be.
Aspirations focus on the present and provide a guide to living mindfully moment-to-moment. They help to provide more clarity to what our deepest values are. Even if we do or don't achieve an outcome, we build confidence that our actions are in line with our personal beliefs and desires. They help us to live more wholeheartedly and they are adaptive and dynamic.
When we become clear on our aspirations and articulate them into specific intentions we commit to and align our choices and actions with - our life transforms.
Being intentional allows you to focus on how you want to be in the moment, independent of whether you are winning or losing, or if you are achieving or not. It allows your intentions to guide your moment to moment experience, thus you are living from your values and what matters most. Intentions are the inner-relationships we have with our self and with others. Goals are external achievements.
If we can frequently connect with our aspirations and they are in the forefront of our mind it becomes easier to align with them. My own heart aspirations are now front and centre on my fridge and whilst I don't look at them everyday I do read them often. They help with my choices so much when presented with different opportunities or more stressful situations, I simply now ask: is this in line with my aspirations? It helps to let go of the things that don't really matter (decreasing stress) and to bring in more of what does (increasing connection and joy).
A weekly reflection of our aspirations and scheduling actions to take to live by them into our diary strengthens our commitment to live from our deepest desires and values. For example, my number one aspiration is connection with those I love so I will try my best to contact those people or schedule catch up times. Making time to honour what most matters enables us to live more wholeheartedly.
You can simplify your life, live moment-to-moment and reduce stress by focusing on daily processes or practices that are in line with your #heartaspriations rather than worrying about the big, life-changing goals. For example if you wanted to become better at yoga, rather than setting the goal to perform a headstand, you may set the intention for weekly practice.
When you focus on the practice instead of the goal or performance, you can enjoy the present moment and improve at the same time.
Our next Day Retreat is on February 25th and is the Summer Day Retreat. We will be exploring Mindfulness Meditation and Self-Compassion, enjoying Pilates, yoga and some relaxation time and a seasonal vegan feast. You will be given resources to take home for ongoing practice. If you wish to start using meditation in your life to help with stress management and improving your wellbeing but are not sure where to begin this will be a wonderful opportunity to learn a new practice that can enrich your life and your relationships. It is open to men and women 16 years and older.
Pre-register now and you will be contacted when booking open by CLICKING HERE