Setting Goals for 2019? You May Want to Do This Instead


Have you ever achieved a goal and felt empty afterward? Or as if the whole experience were anticlimactic — so built up in your mind that you were convinced it would resolve something or make you feel a certain way, only to reach the goal or get the thing and think, That’s great, I guess. What’s next?

Hearing the word “goals,” especially as a new year and fresh resolutions are getting under way, is just about as common as breathing. Goals are woven into every corner of our lives, from how long we want our eyelashes to be to what car we drive to whether our thoughts are peaceful. We even teach our kids to work toward goals, from seemingly younger and younger ages.

On the plus side, the concept of goals offers ease in communication that helps us understand each other and even keep us moving in the same direction. For example, if you are on a sales team of four people and your manager tells you the goal is to reach at least $100,000 in revenue by the end of the first quarter, divided equally among the team members, you know that you and your teammates must each contribute at least $25,000 in revenue by March 31. Differences may exist about details, like what approach you’ll take or if you’ll exceed the minimum amount, but in a big-picture way the parameters and the desired result are clear to everyone.

The challenge with goals, whether personally or collectively, is that often they are empty. If an external, shiny-object-like thing is desired simply for the thing itself — a home, a relationship, profit — it’s no wonder that getting or achieving it doesn’t bring a sense of fulfillment. The thing to be obtained may look or sound wonderful, but there’s no true substance behind it or the wanting of it, so we’ll always need more, better and greater.

And still we’ll feel empty.

An Alternative

So, does that mean we shouldn’t move forward in life — to be better and do better?

Not at all. It’s just that the details and the how of it are a bit different, and they call for some shifts in thinking and perspective.

Look inside first, not outside.

Think experiences and people, not things.

Focus on vision, intention and action.

These are slight yet powerful adjustments that are likely to get you to the desired result and provide a richer, fuller experience all around.


Age-old wisdom tells us that without a vision, the people perish. As humans, it’s important to know that the inevitable difficulties of life are temporary and better days are ahead. We want to improve and grow, even if it’s in relatively small ways, rather than stagnate.

We be and do better by understanding the difference between form (the external, like a new phone, a promotion or body appearance) and content (internal states like joy, peace and acceptance). Vision means that we focus on content. We see the result we want in our mind’s eye and utilize our creative faculties to feel, sense and experience it internally so that it exists and is real to us already — long before the form of it shows up.

So, if your goal is to lose 40 pounds in 2019, see and feel yourself at that weight in your mind and heart. How does it feel inside to know that your body is healthier and stronger? To be able to slip into clothes that fit your now-lithe body and you feel beautiful in? To revel in the lightness in your step, and the carefree sense of freedom your body has as it moves?

That’s your vision, and you can return to it time and again until the “real” that you’re feeling about it on the inside of you becomes the “real” experience of it on the outside.


In this context, intention is a function of mind and heart working in unison.

Not only do you have an objective that your mind indicates you’d like to achieve, but it’s also connected with something meaningful that your heart is on board with.

For example, you might have the intention to be kinder to yourself, spend more time with a loved one, or focus more of your time, energy, and financial resources in the service of others. Or you might be intending bigger, feeling nudged from within to create something unique or step way out of your comfort zone to share your gifts with the world in a more visible way.

Intention also looks and feels like commitment when times get tough: obstacles keep falling in your path, you experience doubt and wonder if you’re crazy for having the vision in the first place, friends or family encourage you to let it go or outright discourage you, and so on. But the hope and strength of vision and intention, bound together — the intertwining of mind and heart — help sustain you and keep you willing to take yet another step toward bringing your vision to fruition in the world for others to see, feel and experience with you.


When you have formed your vision and set your intentions, you will be better prepared to take action.

Our culture values doing above much of anything else and teaches us that action is the primary way get what we want. We have to work hard, hustle and go for it, pushing and forcing it into being if necessary.

But that’s not how you plant things with the intention for them to grow. If you have sunflower seeds and you want to harvest sunflowers sometime later, you don’t shove the seeds into cold, hard ground and demand that they grow. Rather, you wait until late spring until the ground is warm and prepare the soil. You plant the seeds in a sunny spot, fertilize and water them, giving them what they need to grow. You hold the vision for the eventual sunflower harvest, which is all but inevitable if you’ve taken the steps that are known to produce sunflower plants successfully.

It’s the same with what we want to bring into our experience. We prepare the internal soil and plant the seed with vision and intention, and then take the actions that naturally flow from and support that process. There’s usually some period of time that allows for growth and unfolding, yet the harvest will come as a natural next step if it’s nurtured and allowed to bloom.

If you’ve already set your goals for 2019, you don’t necessarily have to discard them. Revisit them with these thoughts in mind. You may find that they still fit for you with the tweaks and shifts we’ve discussed, or you may have new ideas altogether.

Wherever you are in your process, happy creating. And have an abundantly fulfilling and beautiful new year.

If your vision and intention is to live your purpose and passion fully in the new year and you’re ready to bring them into your life, reach out. Schedule a complimentary clarity call with Kristen to discover how she can help you make them real for you, inside and out.

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  1. Vision and action are the two most important features to setting and achieving goals for us. Our business requires us to constantly look around to see how we compare in quality, creativity, and emotional connectedness. It can be very rewarding when comparing if you have a strong vision. If you don’t have that strong vision, you’ll constantly be chasing others rather than going after what you know is right for you and your business. That’s what we strive to do.

    1. Jennifer, it sounds like you have a great business model, with a strong vision. I love how you incorporate the emotional connectedness piece. May 2019 fulfill your vision for it, and more.