Is Your Head Messing with Your Goals?

shooting-hoopsLast month I presented my Heart Goals ARE Smart Goals: Achieve What Matters Most program aspart of the Ignite Creativity Conference put on by the Visual Art Exchange (VAE).

As with everything VAE does, it was fabulous!

The conference focused on the business side of creativity, but even so the CPA in me giggled, snickered, and hooted at the idea of me speaking to a room filled with visual artists, craftspeople, musicians, and filmmakers!

Silly CPA-part-of-me :-). The rest of me knows that no matter what your profession, aspirations, or desires, we all have one thing in common when it comes to achieving our goals.

You will be both successful and happy when your goal is aligned with who you are and what you care about.

That might sound obvious. After all, why would anyone set misaligned goals?!


It happens all the time.

Do any of these sound familiar?

  • I should have this as a goal.
  • I want to be the kind of person who wants this goal.
  • I love the idea of this goal (but the reality of what’s involved is totally unappealing).
  • I will banish my flaws with this goal.
  • Any of the infinite variations on all of the above.

Everything on that list comes from monkey-mind chatter.

I spent years setting those types of goals. No more, though, because they never work. (Never. Ever.)

And that’s because if you don’t care deeply about what you’re working towards, it’s almost impossible to get out of your comfort zone or to navigate the inevitable bumps along the way.

This is why your goals need HEART.

What gives a goal HEART?

Harmony, Energizing, Affirming, Radical, True.

Your goal is in harmony with who you are and with the flow of your life.

Just the thought of working towards your goal gives you energy instead of draining you. You smile, maybe get a little tingly, maybe even a little nervous, but in an “oh wow, this will really be amazing” kind of way.

Your goal is a positive force in your life.

Working towards it makes you feel good about yourself and your efforts. Progress feels great, and those sideways and backwards steps are equally valuable because you see them as learning opportunities.

Your goal goes to the root of what’s important to you; you’re taking a stand for something that matters.

And that, my friend, is a radical act.

You believe you can achieve your goal; you know that it’s absolutely possible. Without this belief, you’re defeated before you even begin.

A somewhat surprising, though not really surprising, thing happened at the VAE program.

In my HEART goals program, I ask everyone to map one of their goals to each of the HEART elements. And every single time, at least half the people in the room discovers they have a misaligned goal.

I wondered if that would hold true at the VAE program. After all, this was a roomful of people working with goals directly related to their passion around art and creativity.

It didn’t matter. The room was filled with misaligned goals, particularly around what one should do to be successful with one’s art. But an awesome thing happened! There was tweaking, refining, and changing of goals. By the time we finished the session, we had a room full of HEART goals.

If you’re thinking, “That’s all well and good, but I can’t worry about heart-based goals right now, I need to be practical!” here’s what’s so cool:

When you align your goal with who you are and what you care about, you dramatically increase your odds of success.

It doesn’t get any more practical than that :-).

What goals are you working on right now? Grab a pen and paper (or open up an electronic document) and assess how your goals align with your HEART. And for any that don’t meet all of the elements of HEART (Harmony, Energizing, Affirming, Radical, True), you’ve got some tweaking, refining, or changing to do.

With almost six months left in the year, you have plenty of time to achieve what matters most to you!

“If we would only give, just once, the same amount of reflection to what we want to get out of life that we give to the question of what to do with a two weeks’ vacation, we would be startled at our false standards and the aimless procession of our busy days.” ~ Dorothy Canfield Fisher


Leave a Comment