What??! Stop setting goals? That’s crazy! How am I ever going to get anything done or accomplished? That’s what I thought, too, when I first saw Jeff Goins’ blog entry on Zen Habits. After all, there have been plenty of books written about setting goals, there are goal setting workshops, and at work we are told to set SMART goals for the year ahead. Is that all wrong?
Jeff argues that most good things like friendships and falling in love happen without a plan. He suggests setting daily sustainable habits instead that you enjoy and will help you make an impact on the world.
I have always believed in setting intentions. I still believe that’s a powerful thing, especially when phrased in a way as if it has already happened. Goals often make you feel like you “have to” do something when you don’t really want to. An intention is more like a compass that will lead you in the right direction.
I know that new daily habits can be extremely powerful. So what if I couple my intentions with new daily habits as I am beginning a new year? One intention I set yesterday was to spend more time in nature this year, since it nourishes and revives me. I was originally planning to spend more weekends going hiking or walking on the beach. But what would my new daily habit be? Ok, I got one: I will spend at least 5 minutes going outside every morning. I can walk or meditate, as long as I am in contact with some aspect of nature. What intention and new daily habit do you want to create?