Do you know how to define goals?
Relationship goals are more than a sum of individual goals.
Defining and fulfilling relationship goals is essential for healthy
SMART goals (an acronym used by Ken
Blanchard in The One Minute Manager)
are useful to know,
should by chance you meet people with them.
Do you define your goals? Or do you go through life with an abstract sense of
direction? Do you sometimes feel conflict about your goals? Or do you just avoid the
things you don't want?
Most goals we hear (even from helping professionals) seem rather
abstract or superficial, e.g. "I want to feel better about my work".
To begin, we help people define their goals as
best they can, and then we can fill in the details and plan their fulfillment.
However, we would expect your goals to change and transform
during the planning process as you better realize what you truly want.
Our goalwork is not to find a sequence of upbeat words ... we would rather see
and hear the non-verbal signals that we call goal physiology
- a sense of high motivation and integrity (e.g. vertical congruent posture and
"shining" eyes) without nonverbal objections
(e.g. headshakes / nose rubbing / scratches etc).
Think of a dog who sees a cat! That high-energy
posture and focus is unmistakable.
Desire as a Path to Integrity
With careful goal
definition, people are often surprised to find wonderful goals. Then they say things like, "I always wanted that but
I could never say it before".
We explored what I wanted
... until suddenly I knew what I really wanted ...
something so wonderful that I
never dared dwell on it ...
the pain of wanting it but not having it was horrible ...
to feel enthusiastic about my life!
Your desires can include discovering and experiencing your deepest self!
- Why are you here?
- What is your life purpose?
- What makes sense in your life?
- How will you know that you are fulfilling your life?
These questions may seem ridiculous - or they may seem worthy of
contemplation and discussion.
Your first answers may not seem to relate to your normal,
everyday life. Yet your life consists of normal everyday days. Here is
a normal everyday question: What do you really want?
Do you begin goal sentences with I want....
Or do you say things like Its important that..., It would
be nice if... or People like me need....
Such statements may not reflect what you want, but what you want other people to
think that you believe. Do you have beliefs like, Its bad
to say what you want
If you say what you want you offend people
or Whats the point I cant get it anyway.
During our session you commented
that whenever you asked me what I wanted ...
I would complain. It was not easy to start sentences
with "I want" ...
but since I did, my world is changing.
Useful goals provide
direction and motivation, yet to get to useful goals, you may require
information that is neither logical or conscious. Many people go into dream-like states as they consider
their life goals.
We call this dreaming together or
Most useful goals are specific, for example:
- a wish to complete a specific activity
- an objective to own an item not currently owned
- a desire to experience a certain feeling or emotion
in some context
Most useful goals include specific actions at a specific
times. Abstract goals e.g. I want to feel good all the time often indicate general areas in which
your goal might exist. (I often say that an abstract goal
is the skin of a goal - stuffed with conflicts).
Another type of goal is a complaint, often in the form "I don't
want ..." or "I feel bad about ..."
Complaints usually reflect unpleasant feelings, e.g.:
- statements about perceived conditions (e.g. I
feel bad about my parents)
- statements with a negative grammar (e.g. I don't want
to feel bad about ...)
Conflicting goals take a few forms.
Some simple conflicts are:
- I want A and B
- I want A so that B
- I want Person A to do Action B
I often write down complex goals exactly as spoken.
Then I and my client can carefully dissect the goals and create a
sequence of steps until I see goal physiology. I may not need to
know all the details ... the client knows them and that's enough.
Complex goals are commonplace. A recent example was, "I don't
want my brother to sell our house and to smarten up so that I can do something
useful instead of just goofing off".
The above complex goal when defined became something like ... "I want
to feel motivated when I ask my brother to cooperate with me to clean out the
attic so that I can build an attic apartment as a step towards buying his share
of our parent's home". It is not yet a useful plan
(how to clean out / where to put the junk / how to build an apartment / buy a
share for what price etc) but it is a lot more useful if you want to
decide what to
want a bigger house, more happiness, less suffering. Maybe you may want a
romantic holiday in Hawaii or to get a new car.
Such answers may
reflect your current needs. Yet, if pursued, your goals will lead to questions
of purpose and meaning. When your goals reflect your chosen life purpose - your goals
will be meaningful and achieving them will be fulfilling.
What do you NOT want?
Do you only know what you dont want? Maybe you dont want to be
unhappy. This thought will likely accompany images of unhappiness. Ask
yourself What do I want instead of being unhappy?
Then the questions, How will you know if you are happy?" or What will
that you have enough money? make sense. If you dwell on negative
goals or comparisons - you may be excluding important parts of
yourself from your decisions.
I check if I want to coach each person to reach their goals.
I do not help people achieve goals that I consider illegal,
or that may hurt children. Martyn
What do you want NEXT?
Do you have "double wishes"? Do
you want money and freedom? Do you want a university degree so that
you can find self-respect? Do you want someone to do something for you so that
you know they care?
Double-wishes usually indicate conflict.
We explore the advantages of achieving both goals
even if their simultaneous fulfillment is impossible! What would become
possible for you if you could achieve both those goals - simultaneously?
This often leads to dreaming together to help people find more
important goals. (See
Achieving what goals would convince you that you are
fulfilling your life?
Unresolved issues such as parental alienation or emotional
incest cause or support internal conflict, which can
sabotage your ability to fulfill your dreams and goals.
Contact us to manage your emotions, solve relationship issues,
pursue your dreams and fulfill your visions
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another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.
Plagiarism is theft. Copyright ©
Martyn Carruthers, 1993-2018
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