Relational Goals

A nice way to identify goals, especially for the New Year, is to clarify how you’d like to upgrade your relationships with different aspects of life. Then identify and commit to action-based goals that you expect would improve these relationships.

For example, you have a relationship with:

  • money
  • your body
  • each key person in your life
  • your work
  • your habits
  • your daily routine
  • your exercise routine
  • your diet
  • sleep
  • life
  • reality
  • your skills
  • your emotions
  • your past self
  • your future self
  • your website
  • your home
  • your workspace
  • your lifestyle

You could start by rating each of these relationships on a scale of 1-10. Which of your most important relationships are getting relatively low ratings? These are areas where your current way of relating isn’t working for you. So accept the obvious truth that you must stop relating to these low-rated areas in the same ways you’ve been doing in the past.

Now go another step and describe your existing relationships with the weaker areas. Then contrast this with how you like these relationships to be. You may find clues to your desired relationships within your stronger areas.

Suppose you rated your relationship with money as a 2 out of 10. Perhaps this relationship is full of tension, stress, worry, and anxiety. Clearly your current way of relating to money isn’t working for you. So accept that you must relate to money differently going forward. You must heal the broken relationship.

So where would you like to take this relationship? How would you like to see it improve? Suppose your answer is that you want to relate to money with feelings of ease, lightness, confidence, flow, abundance, playfulness, fun, and trust. Perhaps you want to enjoy and appreciate money and not fear it or stress out about it.

You can transform this relationship with money to make it the way you want it to be, but you have to pick the right kinds of goals that are aligned with this transformation. This means you have to pick different money-related goals than you did in the past. You can’t keep picking goals that stem from a broken relationship. You have to shift to goals that can heal, repair, and upgrade this relationship.

What sense does it make to set income goals such as to make a certain amount of money if you’re piling them on top of a broken relationship? That would be like adding more furniture to a house that’s on fire. If the relationship isn’t working, don’t add more. Set goals to turn that relationship in a more aligned direction.

Often when a relationship isn’t working well, it’s because you aren’t being very strong in your boundaries. It’s the same with relationships among human beings. Without good boundary management, you’ll likely end up miserable.

Targeting a goal like “make more money” is like saying you want to connect with more people – that only works if you’re already good at boundary management. It makes little sense to use this approach if you’re filling your life with abusive relationships. You’re just inviting more conflict and abuse then.

Using our money example, here are some sample goals that may help you transform the relationship in the direction you want it to go:

  • If your job isn’t aligned with ease, lightness, confidence, flow, abundance, playfulness, fun, and trust, quit the job. If the job is keeping you from creating your desired relationship with money, it has to go. Henceforth make sure that your approach to income generation is aligned with your desired relationship with money. Don’t settle for less.
  • Buy a small item or upgrade one of your possessions just because you’ll enjoy and appreciate it. Gift yourself with a joyful expenditure to remind yourself that you can enjoy money with ease and lightness. Each time your mind tries to stress over the minor expense, use this item to remind yourself to align with trust and abundance. Keep it around as a symbol of your pending transformation. Remind yourself that you never would have bought this item if you were stuck in stressful scarcity thinking.
  • Perform a small act of kindness for someone else. Give a small but playful gift. Do a little favor for someone. Lean into the feeling of having excess capacity. So this is another goal to do some specific action that’s incompatible with your old relationship with money. The key is to start taking actions that your old relationship style wouldn’t allow you to take but which are nicely compatible with your new relationship style.
  • Brainstorm a list of 100 different ways to generate income that are aligned with ease, lightness, confidence, flow, abundance, playfulness, fun, and trust. Review this list each day for 30 days in a row. After you review the full list each day, pick one item and let yourself daydream about actually doing it for five minutes. This will begin training your mind to start thinking in a direction that’s more aligned with your new relationship with money.
  • Do a modest-sized passive income project based on something you’ll enjoy. Create a new stream of income in a way that honors your desired relationship with money. For instance, one Conscious Growth Club member recently designed and published a new journal that she sells on Amazon, thereby creating her first passive income stream.

Note that these goals are specific and actionable, and they’re intended to shift the relationship from the undesirable to the desirable. When you focus on the relationship you want, you’ll set different kinds of goals. You won’t just be pushing yourself to go further down an old path with an old relational style that isn’t working for you anyway.

Getting the relationship right is the key to sustainable motivation. How will you motivate yourself to work on income generating projects if you’re relating to this area of life with stress and worry? You’ll probably procrastinate and do something else instead because it will make you feel better.

Remember that all of your relationships with different parts of life exist in your mind. Therefore you have the power to change them.

If you can elevate your relationships with different areas of life to a place of feeling good even when the circumstances look challenging, this creates an intelligent base for further investment. You’ll want to keep investing because it will feel good. The motivation is similar to being in love with someone. You naturally want to spend time together because it feels good to do so. And when a human relationship isn’t working well, you’re more likely to want to avoid each other.

This is a simple but powerful frame for setting goals that not only give you a sense of achievement, but they also improve your day-to-day quality of life. Moreover, this approach helps you gain access to bigger achievements and explorations that require more commitment, investment, and motivation – and to enjoy the process of working towards those goals.

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Steve Pavlina

Steve Pavlina is an American self-help author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur. He is the author of the web site and the book Personal Development for Smart People.

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