Goal setting is literally the worst… here is what I do instead
We’re gonna talk about two things.
We’re gonna talk about goal setting and we’re gonna talk about content.
Now, they kind of join together, but we’re gonna go on a journey. So I hope you’re prepared for it.
If you did like this episode be sure to screenshot and share on Instagram and of course tag me, @erinmayhenry
I have started vlogging again. I am actually in the process of recording a vlog right now. I’m gonna put this podcast episode out today. The vlog will come out tomorrow. I’m really excited about it. And I’m having a lot of fun with it. However, the vlog that I’m recording was just like a week in my life kind of vlog. And it was going over from the 28th of February through till the 3rd of March.
So of course I was recording on the 1st of March, and as I was recording on that day I had that feeling of “today’s the 1st of March” so what I need to be doing in this vlog is sitting down and setting some goals. So I went about my day. I did all the things that I needed to do. I ended up going to the beach. I ended up just having a really good day by myself. And then I came home and I was like, “right, I’m gonna sit down and set some goals now.” And honestly, I sat on my bean bag in my vibe corner and I literally went into my notes app and I started writing out my goals.
Now what I wrote out was: work out five days a week, take my supplements, create X amount of pieces of content. And honestly, I just got the ickiest feeling as I was writing out this list.
Turns Out “Goal Setting” Is Just Not My Thing
I was filming myself and I just got the ickiest feeling as I was writing out this list. Honestly, I had a, what the “F*ck am I doing?” kind of moment. I feel like I have written this list out a thousand times. Every single month of every single year I write out the same list. I know what I need to do. I know what my priorities are. I just feel like I keep writing out the same things over and over again. And sometimes I do really well at achieving them and sometimes I don’t, but I started really thinking about this.
And I started really thinking about goal setting. Now I personally believe, and we’ve actually been having a lot of discussions, both here on the podcast with a few of my guests, as well as on Instagram. But I personally believe that not everyone is made for that kind of structured goal setting.
I know a lot of my content at the moment is basically contradicting everything that I have ever created on the internet. And whilst it is kind of scary to a certain degree, I feel a lot of comfort in finally telling the truth. And it’s not like I’m finally telling the truth to my audience, but I’m finally telling the truth to myself because here’s the thing at the time when I was creating content around, “you have to have goals,” “you have to have a morning routine.”
I wasn’t lying at the time. I thought that that was what I needed to do. I was trying to push myself to do those things and therefore share my experience with other people because that’s what everybody in the personal development space and on the internet was telling me that I needed to do. But as I’ve grown into my own more, specifically over the last 12 months, I’ve really started pulling apart. Every single thing that I have learned about success and personal development. And I’ve really started to dissect all the individual things that I personally believe have gotten me to my level of success.
I have been reflecting so much on like, was it the morning routine? Was it the goal setting? Honestly, when I reflect back and this is why I’m kind of contradicting myself or pulling apart everything that other people are saying, and even things that I’ve said in the past is because when I reflect back, I like, I really don’t think that these were the things that got me to these levels of success.
So when it comes to goal setting, the thing that I have always learned, even before I started this kind of like online personal development journey, even in uni, they would always say goal setting. You had to have SMART goals to succeed.
When you couple this with a lot of the manifestation stuff out there that tells you that you should almost be able to smell your visualization. You should be able to go into visualization and know specifically what it’s going to look like when you achieve the things that you wanna achieve. You know, you have to see yourself living that life. So then you can portray that now and like trick your brain into thinking that you have it. So therefore then you’ll attract it.
So both goal setting in a more traditional sense and a lot of new manifestation content tell you that you need to be ultra-specific in almost knowing exactly what the experience is going to look like when you get to where you wanna go.
What Does Work For Me
When I reflect back, nothing looks and feels like what I thought it would. Nothing looks and feels like what I thought would. When I thought about making investments in properties or when I thought about making X amount of money in my business or having an X audience size, none of it looks how I thought it would look. None of it feels how I thought it would feel. I’ve had so many different life changes. I’m in a completely, completely different space to where I thought I would be when I started my business.
I thought it was gonna feel either like a lot of the things I thought I would feel a lot more intensely about. Like I thought having X amount of money was gonna make me feel rich. Not to say that I’m not grateful or anything like that, but I don’t feel rich in the traditional sense of what rich looks like on the internet.
So if it’s not the specificity of those goals that got me here, what did get me here? Like what got me to the point of having the business of my dreams, the life of my dreams, the relationship of my dreams, the body/health of my dreams. What got me to this point?
This is why I have such an aversion to setting goals. Because, for me, it wasn’t writing these specific lists. For the most part, I had a VAGUE idea of where I wanted to go, but do you know the honest truth? You know, the honest truth is most of my success came from me following what It felt good to do at the moment. And having that kind of inner trust that it’s ultimately gonna get me to that result.
I’m following what feels good. What feels good at the moment is prioritizing my podcast and bringing my YouTube channel back. I’m not sitting here saying I need to upload X videos a week. I know that I don’t need to sit here and write it down and create this ultra-strict plan for myself around that concept.
So how can I make it as easy as possible for myself to do the things that I know are going to achieve the result?
How can I conceptually understand what I need to do and try to find ways each and every single day to make it as easy and as fun as possible for me to do the things that I know I need to do in order to get the result that I want?
I know the more quality, entertaining and valuable content I put out into the world, the more likely I have a chance of growing my audience. I don’t have an attachment to a particular goal, but I know the pursuit of getting to my vision of my membership growth is going to come through my content strategy and the content that I put out in the w
This is where the content conversation comes into it…
This also comes down to you listening to your intuition and following what feels simple and fun.
For a long time, it felt really fun for me to create reels. And it was working. My audience was growing. People were finding me. People were converting into my products. But, honestly, in the last month or so, I’ve felt as both a creator and a consumer really bored by reels.
So I asked myself, What’s my current, behavior? How have I found people that I’m enjoying their expertise and I’m watching their content more in-depth?
What I determined is that even the reels that are delivering high value do not connect for me the same way a podcast or a YouTube channel does. So, ‘m starting to podcast more and YouTube more. But this could change. Maybe Instagram changes a little bit and they increase the length of reels like TikTok is now doing. And then, then maybe there’s more opportunity to add more value or maybe there’s a different format that comes out.
Things are always ebbing and flowing and changing. You are always ebbing and flowing and changing. So to say that one strategy is gonna sustain you all the way to your goals without making any intentional iterations along the way, to me, seems absolutely ludicrous. Because what it feels like is that you’re constricting yourself. And then you’re just trying to stick to something for the sake of it, because what you said you were going to, and then ultimately I feel that this is where so many people end up getting burnt out.
I feel like having a more flexible approach to the journey and to the strategy of getting to your vague direction. There is no blanket solution to this particular issue of goal setting and personal achievement. It’s all about experimentation. It’s all about understanding yourself, being self-aware and reflecting on what has worked in the past.
Having a vague direction of what I want for my life and taking feel-good actions to get there. That works for me. That has been the thing that works for me.
But maybe you are someone who likes to write down specifically what you wanna achieve. If a kind of ultra-militant approach works for you. If that feels good, not just if it works, but if that feels good for you. Great do it.
But if you’re someone who continues to write the goals list over and over and over again, maybe a different approach is in order. Maybe trying to do something a little bit more flexible, a little bit more variable, a little bit more intuitive, a little bit flowier, try that, see if that works for you.
All that matters is that you’re always moving forward.
As long as you are moving forward and taking action and feeling good and feeling fulfilled and having a purpose and having passion and having fun, and a zest for life, that’s going to get you somewhere. And if that vaguely goes in the direction of the vision that you have for your life, that’s incredible as well.