A big reason so many of us don’t accomplish our goals is because we don’t really know what we truly want in the first place.
Sure, you might set goals that initially seem exciting and fulfilling. But then as the days pass, you lose interest. You lose steam. You lose momentum. Somehow, there’s no time to work on these goals.
But maybe if you were to dig a little deeper, you’d discover that those goals weren’t all that exciting, fulfilling, and meaningful on a soul level. Because those goals were chosen by someone else. Maybe they’re prescribed by society or your spouse or your social circle or even social media.
Or maybe you simply haven’t carved out the necessary time to explore what you want.
“People get so tied up in responsibilities—going from have-to to have-to, from day-to-day—that they are constantly in crunch-mode. It’s really difficult to make room for other things,” said Debra Eckerling, author of the new book Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals.
Eckerling created the D*E*B METHOD, which helps “people zero-in on what they want and how to get it.” The “D” stands for “Determine Your Mission.” And what’s what she shared with me to help us discover our deepest goals.
Here are her tips:
- Visualize the life you want. Close your eyes and think about your ideal life, Eckerling said. “What does that look like?” To help you figure that out, she suggested journaling and meditating. In Your Goal Guide, Eckerling mentions using the Insight Timer app, which features over 25,000 free guided meditations. Give yourself a good chunk of time for this step. It might take you a week or even a month to come up with genuinely meaningful goals. (Or it might take 15 minutes.) Either way, allow yourself the space to linger, change your mind, and discover a goal that deeply resonates with you.
- Pen different bios. Eckerling suggested creating a current biography and future biography, which “will give you an idea of where you are versus where you want to go.” For example, your current biography can include your accomplishments, experience, strengths, and values. If you’re stumped, in Your Goal Guide, Eckerling suggests asking your friends (e.g., how would you describe me to someone else?). For your future biography, you might compose three different versions: a bio one year from now, five years from now, and even 10 years from now.
- Create a mission statement. According to Eckerling, your mission statement is who you are plus what you want. To create your statement, reflect on your motivation behind what you want, your special skills, and how you can use those skills to impact others. “Then, condense your mission statement into a short, snappy, and memorable motto. That’s the compass that keeps you focused on pursuing your goals.”
The rest of Eckerling’s method focuses on exploring your options (the E) and brainstorming your path (the B). That is, research what you’d need in order to achieve your goals and lay out your plan (including your long-term and short-term goals, benchmarks, and actionable tasks).
When you find yourself doubting whether you can even accomplish your important goal, consider Eckerling’s words: “I believe anything is possible, especially in this technological day and age where you have resources at your fingertips. If you put in the time, even if it’s a little each week, you will eventually get where you want to go.”