Are you stuck on old goals that you can’t achieve? If you’re re-evaluating your career or personal goals, these five tips for setting new intentions might help! Setting “intentions” is a great way to re-evaluate and achieve your goals. Setting intentions seems less rigid and more open to healthy changes in direction.
If you’re stuck on old goals, you’re not alone…
“I can’t quit my goals, and I’ve stuck with things long after they’ve ceased to be useful or healthy,” says 35 year old Rosie, who lives in the UK. “I’ve wasted evenings watching terrible films because ‘I’m not the kind of person who walks out.’ I’ve finished books that I hated from the first chapter, just so I could say that I’d given them the benefit of the doubt.”
If you’re struggling to achieve your goals, you might find Brian Tracy’s Goals! How to Get Everything You Want–Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible helpful – he’s an expert in the personal and career goal-setting field. And, here are several signs it’s time to re-evaluate your goals, plus five tips for setting new intentions…
Signs It’s Time to Re-Evaluate Your Goals
“I’ve stuck with relationships that weren’t making either person happy, not to mention soul-destroying jobs,” says Rosie. “I refused to move out of a house that was costing me a fortune because I didn’t want to look like someone who’d made the wrong decision.”
She’s not alone. Many people have a hard time giving up or re-evaluating goals because it’s often associated with failure and weakness. We hear quips about quitting – “Nobody likes a quitter”, “Winners never quit” and “Quitting is not the answer,” – time and time again, even when quitting is the only answer (and sometimes that’s true!).
W.C. Fields touched on the value of letting go in his quip, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.”
If you have a childhood dream or career goal that you can’t achieve, it may be time to re-evaluate your goals. Here are some signs it’s time to set new goals or create new intentions:
- You’re experiencing anxiety, depression, hopelessness, or extreme amounts of stress as a result of your goal
- The people you trust and respect are giving you objective feedback that your goal isn’t achievable
- You’ve stopped making progress, or have lost interest in or the desire to achieve your goal
- The drawbacks of pursuing your goal outweigh the benefits of achieving it
- The conditions, payoffs, or circumstances of this goal have changed
- You’d feel happier and more peaceful if this goal was no longer part of your life
Giving up on your goals may be the hardest thing you ever do…and perhaps the healthiest! But, the key is not to just give up on your dreams. Instead, you need to re-evaluate your goals and set new intentions.
5 Tips for Setting New Intentions
1. Remember that your life and dreams change. The goals you set last year – or last month – may no longer be worth pursuing for various reasons. Instead of focusing on the negativity that surrounds quitting, recognize that a goal set at any given time may no longer be useful, beneficial, or worthy later on.
2. Identify the physical, emotional, practical benefits of quitting. “Insomnia, stomachaches, and headaches are other physical symptoms of impossible goals,” says Sandra Taylor, a counselor, motivational speaker, and author of Secrets of Success: The Science and Spirit of Real Prosperity. A few years ago Taylor took a leap of faith, quit her teaching job, and pursued other – less stable – writing and counseling opportunities. She says quitting was the most successful thing she ever did; it paved the way to becoming a New York Times bestselling author.
3. Replace old goals with new intentions. Even though you may not think of your new intentions as “goals”, make sure you set yourself up for success! Follow the SMART goals formula, and make sure your intentions are realistic, achievable, and measurable. Clarify your definition of success, and identify the small steps it takes to get there.
4. Focus on internal rewards – not the expectations or accolades of others. When Taylor quit her teaching job, she trusted her gut instincts. “Emotional signals reveal when you’re not resonating with your goals,” she says. “If your goals don’t honor who you are, you’ll experience performance anxiety, nervousness, and depression. Other emotional signs are hopelessness, frustration, and self-doubt.”
5. Recognize that you are more than your intentions. Your intentions or goals don’t define who you are as a man or woman. And, letting go of a goal doesn’t change who you are – and neither does achieving your goals. No matter what intentions or goals you set, remember that they’re simply a part of who you are. Your goals don’t define you.
And remember: there’s a difference between overcoming obstacles to your goals (a healthy thing to do) and giving up when the going gets tough (not so healthy).
Have you given up on your old personal or career goals, and are you setting new intentions? I welcome your thoughts below…
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.