There’s a lot of talk about goals, especially around the new year. Maybe you’ve been a goal setter in the past only to get disappointed in yourself when those goals were never accomplished.
Believe me, I’ve been there too.
I used to be a big goal setter in my teens and twenties. But setting those goals always made me feel like a failure. Either I wouldn’t meet the goals I set, or I’d change paths and decide that goal wasn’t what I really wanted.
So goals haven’t worked for me, but I’ve still made positive changes in my life.
Maybe goals haven’t worked out in the past for you either. Does that mean you can’t change your life for the better? Absolutely not!
Here’s what has worked for me instead.
How to Change Your Life Without Setting Goals
Choose a word to describe the change you want.
Over the last couple of years I’ve chosen words I want to describe my changed self.
In 2018 my word was stronger. I wanted to become stronger in all aspects of my life. That word was continually in my thoughts. As I interacted with other people or worked on my business, I consistently asked myself if I was making changes that would make my relationships or business stronger.
In 2019 my word was confident. Again, that word was consistently on my mind. Whenever I made a choice, I asked myself if I was acting in confidence or not.
Before 2019 I would NOT have described myself as strong or confident. In fact, growing up I was often told how shy, quiet, and nonassertive I was. I let other people run over me, I constantly second guessed myself, and “people-pleasing” was my middle name!
But when I started making decisions based on the words I wanted to be described as, that’s when I made changes.
I encourage you to choose a word which describes the change you wish to make in your life. If you can’t think of a word, think of an over arching phrase that would describe the changes you want to see.
Change the things you think about.
Did you know that the person who talks to you the most is yourself? You do it without even realizing it.
I used to say so many negative things about myself to myself. I would replay all the times I messed up, hurt someone, said the wrong thing, made a mistake, failed.
Those negative thoughts would replay over and over.
When I made a mistake, I would say things like, “You’re such an idiot! What a stupid thing to do. No one wants to be your friend. You’re not good enough.”
What awful things to say about someone! There is no way I would ever tell anyone else those things, yet I said them to myself every day.
None of the things I said were true, but I believed them about myself and acted on those beliefs.
I write to moms most of the time, so maybe you are a mom thinking, “I’m a bad mom. My house isn’t clean enough. I’ll never get organized. I’m fat. I’m not pretty enough.” The list could go on and on.
The thoughts you think are like a song that gets stuck in your head and played over and over again. But here’s the thing about songs, there’s a lot to choose from and you get to choose which one gets played.
If you’ve been thinking negative thoughts about yourself, it’s time to change the song.
Over the next 24 hours, get intentional about your thoughts. When a negative idea pops in your mind, take that thought captive and change it!
This takes disciplined practice. It’s easy to let your mind mull over negative things from the past or hurtful things other people have said, but I encourage you to purposefully, stop them and replace them with the truth.
It wasn’t until a couple of years ago, that I finally realized a very important truth. I used to think that everyone else knew better than me, and whatever they said was true. But the only truth you will find in this world comes from God.
Just because someone says something about you that doesn’t make it true. You don’t have to live out of the lies someone else has told you.
Change your thoughts. Change your life.
Make small changes every day with new habits.
Big changes happen a little at a time when you make small changes.
I certainly didn’t become a strong confident person over night after being a shy people-pleaser for over 30 years!
I read the book Boundaries: When to Say Yes. How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life (affiliate link) which I highly recommend. Actually, I listened to it on Audible because its incredibly long and I’m a busy mom!
But that book encouraged me to make small changes that took courage to make.
Instead of agreeing with everyone all the time, I started sharing my opinion even if the other person didn’t like what I had to say.
I stopped giving everyone an explanation for my choices and asking for their approval.
I asked for things I needed, and told people things I needed to say even when it was uncomfortable.
The first time I spoke my truth, it was intentional and felt like work, but over time speaking my truth has become much easier and more natural to do.
Small changes led to big changes.
How do you want to change your life? Think about the big picture, and then work your way backwards and think of small steps that will get you there.
- Do you want to have a cleaner house? Start cleaning up the kitchen every night.
- Do you want to get healthy? Replace your sugary drinks with water.
- Do you want to be more present with your children? Read them a book today.
- Do you want to get your home organized? Stop buying more clutter.
Making one positive change will lead to another positive change. It’s the way momentum works. Every choice you make impacts another choice.