That Dirty Four-Letter Word
In person, I can be quite the potty-mouth. It’s one of the more lovely and endearing qualities I’ve acquired during my days as a bartender hanging with the big boys. Those dirty four-letter words don’t phase me, and I let them pass through my lips, when appropriate, of course -- as I am a lady -- like no big deal.
I will share that there is this one word that I do feel strongly about. This four-letter word simply does not sit well with me, and I am actually more conscious of this term than I am of the more fun ones that start with ‘S’ or ‘F.’ When I do hear this juicy one coming out of my mouth, I feel downright skeevy and icky.
So as not to offend anyone, I shall spell it out: G - O - A - L.
"Goal." There, I said it. Eek, pass the soap. To be honest, I don’t like it.
Alas, I can already see the furrowed brows and hear the counterblast of reactions coming at me for that one.
Now this may come as a surprise since I am in the business of helping people to actualize their health, fitness and overall lifestyle goals (*shudder*). I've just learned to take a different approach.
Honestly, these days, the word ‘goal’ carries no weight for me, at least when I use it for myself. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always been one to aim high, over-achieve, someone who traditionally set “goals.” And looking back now at the times when I’ve said “I have a goal to get a six pack,” or “My goal this year is to floss everyday, ” I realize I rarely ever meant what I said, especially when it came to the really big ones. The idea of it all was great, but how many of those challenging goals did I accomplish? When you tell someone you have a goal, do you mean it and actually follow through?
The times when I’ve actually flown at warp speed toward any objectives and actually completed them was when I nixed the word “goal” and instead framed my desires into “Commitments.” I was introduced to this way of thinking by my Vision/Business Coach a few years ago and continue to practice this way of “goal-setting" with my current Accountability Trainer-mentor, and it is the basis of what I do now.
I do refer to ‘goals’ in my writing and in conversation, despite my distaste for the word, because it is what most people understand when it comes to discussing the dreams they’d like to craft into reality. Still, I don’t think the word 'goal' is very effective, for me and for people in general.
So, today I’m going to take a stand with myself and finally share this with you. I invite you to consider your current concept of a ‘goal’ and shift your thinking towards the word ‘Commitment.’
A goal is like a target, something in the distance that you aim for, which can prove helpful as a guide. It gives you some direction. Ok, cool. Now, consider Commitment. Yes, similar to a goal, but so much more. A commitment has power and weight to it. Commitment, as I’ve been taught, is a force, like gravity. It just is; it is done. It’s a decision, an agreement that you’ve made to yourself that carries the will and spark of intention with it. And once you are committed to a result, you will do what it takes to honor that commitment, so much that you are open to whatever path that force leads you on.
By taking your goal, say, to eat a salad everyday for a month, and holding it instead as a commitment, you shift your thinking and add meaning behind it. Now this salad-eating business carries the same weight as other things we would traditionally view as commitments, like marriage, raising a child, going to work each day. Is it a goal of yours to stay with your spouse for life, is your goal to take care of your kid for as long as you can, or to make it to work? I would think, and hope, that there's more conviction than just aiming for a target. When you commit, you have made a decision, set your trajectory, and you will take whatever action to keep your commitment. You. will. eat. your. salad. And you will see that when you are committed, you gain a heightened consciousness and things around you start to work in your favor so that you actually do keep the commitment, and you also attract so much more.
I feel dirty when I say the word 'goal' because I know in my heart that whatever plans I attach to it are not really serious, because, after being exposed to making commitments and being held accountable to them, I now know the difference between my flaky words and real intention. When you decide to make commitments, as opposed to goals, you'll find that you will be more careful with your words. When you commit, you declare -- to yourself, to whomever you're speaking to, like an accountability partner or coach, and to the Universe. You won't be as flighty with what you say you will do. Your wishy-washies and that-would-be-nice-to-have dreams transform into a consciousness around what you truly want and what you are willing to do to get it.
I realize that maybe it’s just a matter of a different taste of vocabulary. If you like the word ‘goal’ and it’s working for you, awesome -- keep on doing what gets you results. If things are not working out for you, perhaps the idea of adopting the concept of commitment into your mindset might help.
I want to challenge you. Picture your dreams, objectives, those ridiculously cray-cray amazing what-if’s that I know you have in your heart. Now see them as already yours in real life, see them simply as a series of actionable commitments that you keep no matter what. Whether it’s competing in a weightlifting competition, paying off your credit card debt, writing a book, gaining 10 more clients next month, de-cluttering your garage, dropping your smoking habit, drinking a gallon of water a day. What would it do for you if you viewed all those desires as more than targets, and, instead, as not-so-distant realities achieved by the the force of your intention.
Start simple. Start by tightening up your language, vocabulary, your way of thinking. That simple shift might just give you that extra oomph to take your, pardon my french, goals to the next level.