A Mindful Guide to Monitoring your Goals

Nine benefits of mindful awareness in setting & reviewing goals

Goal-setting is believed to be an important first step in attaining success. However, goals need not necessarily be set in a specific manner. Neither should success possess a universal definition.

Goal-setting can be compared to choosing a destination; and as you would map a route to your destination, it’s advisable to have a map to guide you towards achieving your goals. In setting goals, I recommend considering the different aspects of your life (e.g. work, relationships, health, self-care, personal qualities, etc.) and thinking about ways in which you feel you should improve on these different areas of your life. To begin with, it is important to have your personal definition of success.

While the concept of mindfulness (being in the present)may seem out of sync with goal-setting (which is future-oriented) mindful awareness is beneficial to ensure that your goals are aligned to your core values. Mindful awareness is important when setting goals, as you become aware of how the thought of striving towards and reaching your goals makes you feel. You are thus more likely to make goals that are important to YOU, and not dictated by society or anyone else. Once you have decided on your goals, as with reaching a physical destination, you will need a route to attain these goals. Creative expression of your larger goals and the steps towards achieving them serves as a reminder of what you are working towards. Whether its a vision board, a Pinterest board or a list, it helps to have a reminder of what you are striving towards.

The benefits of mindfulness in monitoring your progress are as follows:

  1. When we are mindful, we are more aware of our thoughts and feelings. Being aware of what motivates you can help set goals that are meaningful to us.
  2. Mindfulness will remind you to focus on the present and what you can do today to help you get closer to the goal.
  3. Take a few mindful moments every day to ‘check in’ with yourself. Without judging yourself, consider what you have done during the day to take you closer to your goal.
  4. Mindfulness reminds you to live in the present, which will prevent you from focusing on past events that may have delayed you from reaching your goal.
  5. Mindful practice can help set intentions that will guide your daily activities.
  6. Mindfulness helps keep you focused on what you can do now, instead of worrying about whether or not you will reach the goal, which can create feelings of anxiety.
  7. Mindfulness allows you to enjoy and appreciate the journey towards reaching your goals, instead of focusing on the outcome.
  8. Mindful practice will help you reflect and review your goals. Be open to the possibility that goals may change as time progresses.
  9. Mindful reviewing of goals will help you notice how you are feeling about these goals. Feelings about certain goals may change over time. Accept it if it does change, and use your feelings to guide you towards a new direction that is in harmony with your feelings.

Whatever your definition of success and whatever goals you choose, the most important factor is that you enjoy the process (by living in the present) instead of focusing on the future when the goal is achieved.