Healthy Goal Setting

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4 mins read

It is that time of year again… when we tend to reflect on the past year and start to set goals for ourselves for the year to come. 

Goal setting is a healthy practice to engage in, but I encourage you to be mindful of what is driving the goals that you choose. 

Ideally, our goals come from a place of worth and belonging versus a place of shame and need. By need, I do not mean actual necessity, like a goal of getting a job because you need to pay the bills. Rather, a need that is driven by shame and feelings of inadequacy. 

Brene Brown defines shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging—something we’ve experienced, done or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection. If your goals are from a place of believing you are flawed, unworthy or inadequate, then your goals are being driven by shame. 

Here is what common goals can sound like when coming from a place of shame: 

Setting a goal of losing weight because you do not feel you are good enough for relationships as you are now. You believe your weight causes you to be flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging. 

Setting a goal of accomplishing more projects at work because you believe you should be doing more and fear others see you as inadequate at your job. “Should statements” often signify that shame is present. If you feel you should be doing something, ask yourself why. Is it because other people are doing it? Has someone told you that you should? Is it because you feel inadequate?  Shame likes to make us compare and convince us we are inadequate when compared to others.

Setting a goal of being more organized because nobody in your social circle is as unorganized as you are. Shame pushes us towards isolation and convinces us we are alone. If your goal is driven by fear of  “being the only one” then shame has likely convinced you of this isolation. 

Here is what those same goals can sound like when coming from a place of worth and belonging: 

Setting a goal of losing weight because you know you have physically felt better when you have been at a lower weight, and you have more energy to engage in hobbies you enjoy.

Setting a goal of accomplishing more projects at work because you want to challenge yourself intellectually and work towards a job promotion because you enjoy leading and managing others. 

Setting a goal of being more organized because your lack of organization causes you to feel stressed, and when you have been more organized, you feel more clear-headed and calm. 

If you find that your current goals are driven by shame, write them out and then work towards rewording them from a place of worth and belonging. Can you reword them so that they come from a place of believing you are doing the best you can AND you could do better?

Warmly, 

Kylie Larson, MA, LPC

www.illuminate-counseling.com

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Outside of the therapy room, Kylie enjoys spending time with her family, exploring the world through the eyes of her son, adventuring with her husband, running around with her dogs, cheering on our Kansas City teams, gardening, being active, reading and exploring new recipes.

Professional Background
Bachelors in Elementary Education from Kansas State University, 2015
Master of Arts in Counseling from MidAmerica Nazarene University, 2020

Memberships
Kansas Counseling Association
American Counseling Association

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