• Rio Watanabe

How to set goals that speak to your emotions


You know that moment when you look back to your list of goals, only to realize that you're lagging behind again?


Being a super-high achiever, I've found myself looking over my goals months later, only to realize how massive some of the goals have been!


I'd fall into the trap of self-criticism, telling myself that I "should have" reached these goals by now.


Red flag!


During the past year, learning this one thing has helped me out of the self-criticism trap, and to reach a state of ease and flow in reaching my goals with intrinsic motivation. This life-changing concept is learning to distinguish the difference between value-based goals and result-based goals.



Result-based goals:

The modern culture and our school system teaches us to set goals that are results-based. Growing up in Japan and the US, my goals as a young woman were always results-based:

  • Obtain straight-A's in school and a high grade-point average

  • Gain admission into the best college

  • Get good grades in school to get a well-paying job

And in life, I used to set goals such as:

  • Be able to run X amount of miles

  • Lose X amount of pounds to get fit

  • Wake up everyday at a certain time

  • Study and work a X number of hours every day

Do you see how dry my goals sound? On top of that, I connected my self-worth to how well I could achieve these goals. Talk about self-esteem issues!


Value-based Goals:

In comparison to result-based goals, value-based goals are based on your state-of-being.


Value-based goals speak to your emotions.

Let's take my current fitness goal: "I want to go to yoga class 3 times a week."

This is a pretty good goal in itself, but how can I word it in a way that speaks to my emotions?


"I want to feel confident, beautiful, and fit by going to yoga class 3 times a week."

Do you see how this goal already invokes positive feelings of health inside? That image of myself feeling awesome already motivates me to put on my yoga outfit, even if I'm feeling sleepy-headed in the morning.


Value-based goals are about "being-ness" instead of the "done it-ness"

Think about how you want to "be" today— how do you want to show up in this world as you? What state of being are you in as you pursue your goal?

The second point refers to the process of you reaching your goal, rather than the end product.


This reminds me of how much I wanted to obtain my Master's degree. I worked so hard for 3 years. As much as I loved school, I sometimes couldn't wait for the stress of my thesis to be over and done with!


But when I stepped out of my graduation ceremony, I had a short-term happiness and euphoria, followed by a sudden emptiness. I had attained my end-goal, but all I had in my hand was a piece of paper— my diploma. I realized, It was actually the beautiful journey of growth and discovery that I went through, that was the most meaningful to me.


**One bonus tip: When setting goals, remember to set a date to it and schedule it in your agenda!


Every week, I make time to schedule in the goals I set myself to do. For example, let's take yoga class 3 times a week. Since my yoga class times differ every week, I sign up and schedule these in at the beginning of each week.


That way, I'll always get a reminder from my iPhone calendar when it's time to go!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on how YOU can change the way you set goals based on what you've just read! Leave a comment below!











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