Traditional goal-setting methods advise you to pick a goal "out there somewhere" and then suggest you plan how to get there as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Unfortunately, life doesn¹t work that way. Especially when it comes to big things. We make a lot of small decisions that put us on the path to a loving marriage, being a good parent, or choosing the right career. And then we make many more small decisions that keep us on that path.
Here are some ideas on how to move forward in the best direction for you this new year.
1. Fully accept what you have in your life right now. Open yourself up to feel gratitude. You can¹t feel needy and grateful at the same time. Feeling gratitude gets you grounded in the best part of yourself.
2. Organize your life around the "most luminous idea" you can get in touch with. (I'm borrowing the phrase from spiritual teacher Mirra Alfassa.) Try to reach above the lower impulses that will drag down your thoughts and ideals, like neediness, fear, anxiety, and egoic concerns.
3. Acknowledge that there are important aspects of your life and future planning that you can't control. This is a critical step. When you plan for something very specific, and feel you can make it happen by your sheer will, you are likely to feel "driven" as opposed to tuning in to the general direction your life is flowing and riding that current. Opportunities will come into view as you travel your path that you can¹t see from here.
4. As you travel your path, keep turning toward what nurtures your soul. Roseanne Cash shared this story with Larry King recently. Her dad, Johnny Cash, would often tell her as she was growing up, "You can choose evil or you can choose good. I choose the good."
You can apply that choice to finding and staying on your career or life path. Following your path isn't a magical "yellow brick road" that once you spot the first golden bricks, you blindly follow for a lifetime.
Following your path is making one choice after another. Some big, most small. But these choices keep moving you toward what you care about, toward doing what¹s right for you, and toward "the good."
What's your next step?