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Life coach says September goals don't have to be realistic

New North by Northwest columnist Rebecca Hass says there is no such thing as a crazy goal, and people should focus on 'what' they want, not the 'how'

New North by Northwest columnist says there are no crazy goals, only exciting ones

If you make a goal to exercise only because you feel like you "should" be more active, then you're doomed to fail, says life coach Rebecca Hass. (Markus Bernhard/Getty Images)

Life coach Rebecca Hass finds September to be an even more popular time for people to set new goals and start new habits, such as hitting the gym more often.  

Rebecca Hass is North by Northwest's newest columnist. (Rebecca Hass)

"Most of my clients come into the fall with that memory of childhood, they just want a fresh start, and it feels like a clean slate for them," said Hass, a new columnist on North by Northwest.

But, like New Year's resolutions, goals set in September are just as easily to be abandoned after a short while, or not even started.

"People aren't good at goal setting because they get an idea and they feel like it's pie in the sky," she told host Sheryl MacKay.

"It doesn't feel realistic or doable so they say I'm not going to do it."

How do you set good goals then? Here are Hass' tips:

1. 'Should' isn't motivating

Hass said many people feel like they should do a certain thing — "I should get exercising, I should lose 10 pounds".

She said that is problematic because the goal becomes something to check off a list, rather than celebrate, once it's accomplished (like "I should do the laundry").

"If we fail then at that 'should'...then we just go back into our self-abuse. 'Should' is just a stick we beat ourselves with."

2. Realistic goals aren't always good

Hass, quoting motivational speaker Les Brown, said, "The problem isn't that we aim high and miss, we aim low and hit."

She said people are terrified at being disappointed at failing, and often choose goals that are comfortable and safe — even when it doesn't give one happiness or fulfillment.

Hass said comedian Jim Carrey illustrated that point clearly in his commencement speech to Maharishi University last year:

"I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don't want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love"

3. A goal should excite you

"Your goal needs fuel. It should make your heart beat faster, you should want to jump out of bed and do it. It needs to speak to you in a meaningful way. It's like the gas in your tank," Hass said

4. There are no crazy goals

Hass gives the example of an American life coach's client who said she wanted to be Queen of England. The coach took it seriously — and they brainstormed all the things she'd need to do, such as a job in England, more education, and so on.

She went on to achieve those steps, and moved to England — but she didn't actually become the Queen.

"Is she Kate Middleton? No, she's not, but I would argue that that wasn't a failure. She lives in England, she married a lovely man, she has a job she loves, it's a good life," Haas said.

She said this client's goal reflected the client's values and who she wanted to be in life. With an inspiring goal she made daily changes that got her to the life she wanted.

5. Be accountable

Hass recommends that once a person sets a goal, they should tell someone.

"You'll notice how many people believe in you. So all those times you have self-doubt and feel like you can't, you'll actually create your own cheerleading team."

Hass says to decide what you intend to change in the New Year, and have a small ritual to mark your plan to carry out that change. (Inmist Media House)

Sharing your goal with others can also open up opportunities and resources — perhaps someone has a contact in the country you'd like to move to and live in, Hass says.

6.What, not how

Ultimately, Hass said people should focus not on the end goal, and not the means of getting there.

"Start with 'what' — what do you want, not how you will get it. 'How' is the voice of fear...and it will stop you before you start."

Hass says to remember to find a high-aiming goal that you find thrilling. Then brainstorm the steps to get there, and then put them in order and develop your plan, looking as far as five to ten years in the future.

"Dream large, dream into the future, and remember to dance with whatever shows up," she said.

Hass joins Sheryl MacKay on North by Northwest once a month.


To hear the full interview listen to the audio labelled: Life coach gives tips for setting goals

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