Goal setting can be a powerful tool in attaining the life we desire. Whether in our yoga practices or daily lives, intentional living is the way.
When teaching Yoga and Goal Setting workshops at festivals and conferences, I inevitably get the same question: “How is goal setting a yoga practice when yoga is about being present and goals are about the future?”
It is a great question and makes total sense why there would be an initial disconnect. Here’s my answer: A big part of the yoga practice is aligning oneself with one’s dharmic path, the intention for being manifested on this plane of consciousness. Only by rooting oneself in the present moment can the heart’s calling be heard clearly. To make your heart’s calling an effective reality, a systematic approach is required.
Easy Goal Setting:
Back to the Future
Start by writing down your life vision in 10 years using “stream of consciousness” journaling. This means you don’t stop and think or analyze, but keep moving the pen on the paper. This allows for your subconscious mind to take the wheel rather than your ego.
As you write, describe where you live, whom you live with, and how you spend your time, paying extra attention to the areas of health and wellness, personal relationships, and business and financial desires.
Five, Three, One
From the ideal life you have created for yourself in 10 years, work backward making a chart. One side of the chart has three rows: 5 years from now, 3 years and 1 year. Divide these rows by 3 columns from the categories above: Health, Personal and Business.
In each box, write down what needs to be accomplished in that time frame to make the ultimate 10-year goal achievable.
What can you do today, this week, and this month to get to your one-year goals? Hang a white board where you can see it every day and write down goals for the month. Write daily goals on a pad of paper you carry with you or on a calendar, circling the item on the list that you get done no matter what. For example: “Ask gym for a trainer who specializes in distance running.”
Bringing Yoga into Goal Setting:
Yoga teaches us how to adapt mentally, physically and emotionally to life’s ups and downs. When life doesn’t go as planned, it will be easier to reset your goals and accept the Universe’s influence on your goals without feeling defeated. Remember that goals will change as we get to know ourselves better through yoga.
Practicing goal setting is also a path to self-realization, the same reason we come to the yoga mat. The goal setting techniques above can be incorporated into a self-practice as a way of having a conversation with your inner self.
Visualization in Meditation
In a meditation practice it is common to use a technique to help the mind reach one-pointedness. It’s difficult to just sit down and expect the mind to be still. If you sit in mediation for about 10 minutes, set an alarm and use the first two minutes to visualize yourself having achieved specific goals. Add a smile to your face so your muscle memory is a positive response to the future you are evolving into. Use the rest of your meditation time to focus on mindful breathing and allow your visualization to sink in on a cellular level.
Make the Future Your New Now:
Just because you are setting up a plan for your life does not mean you are living in the future. When writing your 10-year plan or listing your goals, always write them in the present moment, as if you are simply stating what is currently happening in your life. Walk around as the person you wish to become and sooner rather than later it will be a reality.
Norman Vincent Peale said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” Goal setting is simply shooting for the moon. The intention isn’t to conquer every goal you set, but to be in a constant trajectory toward your dharma.
[image: via shutterstock]
About the Author
Olivia Kvitne is program director for Yoga for First Responders, a program supported by Give Back Yoga Foundation, and an Assistant Editor for LA Yoga magazine. She also has an ongoing column in Yoga Iowa magazine reviewing statewide vegetarian restaurants. Olivia enjoys practicing at festivals as well as in the quiet of her home studio in Des Moines, IA where she lives with her husband, dog and cat.