Do you remember being so excited that you ran with every step?
Taking a walk with my son is more like a race with pit stops. He is so excited to be free and explore nature. He only stops to pick up treasures he finds along our path. Otherwise, he races ahead of me. He’s not in a hurry – it’s pure joy.
I get a child’s glimpse of goals. I understand how boring and guilt-producing goal setting can be! In fact, when I define goals to my daughter, she says, “ummm, I don’t want one of those.”
Our kids create small goals all day long; they just don’t know it. Children don’t dread these goals, unless it’s a goal defined by a grown up.
Adults frequently comment on my children’s energy. Secretly, we wish we could bottle and use it for ourselves. I say, let’s do it. Let’s give our goals a child’s dose of life-affirming energy.
7 Ways to Energize Your Goals (Like a Child):
1. Be Curious – A child’s “goal” is based on curiosity. What does he want to explore or know? It’s almost never what he should do.
I don’t think of goals as resolutions. They are stepping stones. What do you want to learn this year? What do you want to work on?
2. Simplify – Kids naturally keep it simple. They learn one thing at a time. Building on the skills as they go.
How do we keep our goals simple? Try simplifying your goal into one word. Last year, my word was confidence. This year it is focus. What is your word?
3. Value-affirming – Kids spend time doing what is important to them. Creating. Exploring. Learning. Removing and replacing. Leaping.
What is important to you? Spirituality. Relationships. Recreation. Education. Financial Success. Health. I only make one goal per value, and only if it is something very important to me. Do your goals align with your values?
4. Specifically measurable – Children dream in specifics. They want to be firemen and ballerinas. They want to ride a bike without help. They want to learn every fact about dinosaurs.
If you are going to dream big, make it measurable. A goal like wanting better relationships is too big. It’s hard to start, if you are unsure of the steps. Instead, be more specific, like being more present in communications with family members. How can you make measurable steps toward your goal?
5. Realistic bites – Kids don’t go on to a new task, until they’ve mastered the previous skill. It’s innate and self-driven.
Take realistic bites out of your goals and dreams. If it’s a delicious goal, you will want to keep chewing on it. If you have too much to eat, you will get full and tired quickly. What is realistic for you to accomplish today, this week, this year?
6. Resourceful – My kids are too young to get bored. Almost anything is a toy. They are resourceful. And, they won’t stop until they have made or found the tools they need.
What tools do you already possess to work on your goals? E-books on your desktop. Wisdom from previous years. What resources do you need to acquire in order to reach your goals? Hire a coach. Take a class. Read a book.
7. Adventure focus – Children seem to know better than us, that life is an adventure. Accidents happen. Obstacles are treasures. Enjoy the moment.
Do you harbor guilt about goals left to attain? Guilt doesn’t belong in an adventure. Each step is important, even if it takes you away from your goal. Change is always in progress. Let go of absolutes and resolutions. Lean into life’s adventure – your learning is already in progress.
“Life is a journey, not a destination.
There are no mistakes, just chances we’ve taken.
Lay down your regrets, cause all we have is now” By India Arie, A Beautiful Day
What are you most excited about learning or growing? Please share how you infuse energy into your goals.
Photo Credit: Ernst Vikne