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My Goals & My Purpose

For the past month or so, I’ve been contemplating the relationship between my goals and my purpose in my life. I think I actually first began this line of thought while hiking in Asheville. (I do most of my best thinking outside, particularly when my body is in motion, and my thoughts may be moving faster than my legs.)

It struck me that my purpose is more important than my goals.

Participants of this art piece were asked to write something on a luminary and to send if off into Lake Nevin at Bernheim Forest; I wrote the statement above
Participants of this art piece were asked to write something on a luminary and to send if off into Lake Nevin at Bernheim Forest; I wrote the statement above

At first, I wasn’t even fully aware of the consequences of that statement. It’s taken me some time to mull over, but what I’ve come to is this: That it is important to set goals for myself. I’ve learned much about goal setting in the past year, and am more intentional about the goals I set. I’m getting better at setting and completing short term goals that may seem simple, but are nonetheless important, like, “I will answer all unread emails in my inbox before the end of the day,” or, “I will vacuum the apartment today.” While occasionally tedious, these goals are relatively easy and unobtrusive.

I am, however, challenged by goals that are not immediate. I struggle at times to find the intention behind the goals that I set for myself. I encounter this in my role as yoga teacher. I volunteer for projects because I am capable of completing them before I consider whether they are mutually beneficial. I believe that my ego plays a certain role in these decisions, constantly looking to feel accomplished. I believe that my “helper” personality plays a role as well. (If you’re not familiar with the Enneagram, you should be.)

But, do these goals feed my spirit? Not always. In fact, they sometimes drain me. Agreeing to meetings and projects that do not meet my long term goals or purpose isn’t sustainable. It’s becoming key for my to identify when a goal is not going to serve me and letting it go.

My purpose is to love and serve others in a way that mutually fills our souls. Some of my goals, such as teaching a weekly yoga class for kids at a community learning center, allow me to experience this. My hope is that I get better and better at identifying which goals fuel my ego and which fuel my fire.

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