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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we approach our life and activities — and the affect it has on how we reach our goals.

Our culture is very focused on milestones and landmarks. We make to-do lists and set specific tasks to complete. This can help keep us focused and productive. It can also lead to a “forest for the trees” myopia where we get so focused on small goals we forget the bigger picture.

Ask yourself: are your goals integrated or isolated?


Integrated goals support well-being and create positive structure

Integrated goals are part of a big picture, they keep the whole scope of your life in the frame, and are designed to help you gradually work towards long-term achievements. An integrated goal, for example, might be to enhance your well-being by doing x number of yoga classes per week. You choose the number based on your other priorities and needs, and you are attentive to the way each of them interacts.

Isolated goals are usually short-term, and focus on a single outcome. For example, I’m going to lose three kilos by July. There is nothing wrong with a specific aim unless it doesn’t take into account the other needs and demands in your life. Maybe losing that much weight is wrong for your body type, maybe you need to do work around emotional issues with eating, maybe you need to address work stress that is trapping you in a cycle of busy-ness and poor eating.

If we are going to achieve positive change in our lives, we need to be honest with ourselves. Quick fixes, such as losing weight, taking up a hobby, or even practicing yoga, can paper over deeper issues.

When we’re constantly rushing to tick off a to-do list we don’t have time to be present with ourselves or cultivate the mindfulness we need to create something new.

As you face the new year, check in with yourself, study your goals, and make sure they are integrated in a way that will promote well-being and happiness.

Share your goals in the comments!