How to Set Goals Differently

Your work as a wellness practitioner affects those around you in a wide variety of ways. 

You improve people’s lives through healing, build long lasting relationships, and (we hope) uplift other business owners in your community

Yup, it’s a pretty sweet gig. 

And you want to do it even better. But what exactly does a “better job” even mean?

In this instalment of the Symmetry Collective blog, we’re going to talk about goal-setting

We hope that you have heard of SMART goal setting and other popular techniques before in your entrepreneurial journey. We will be going deeper than that by talking about how goal setting is different for wellness practitioners than it is for most business owners, and how you can take steps towards finding the right goals today.

How Your Goals Fit Together

When you ask most massage therapists, bodyworkers,  reiki practitioners, or any other kind of wellness entrepreneur what their main goals for their business are, you will probably receive similar statements. 

People want growth for their business.

They want the financial freedom to stop worrying so much about monthly bills.

They want a stable client base, and dedicated people working under them.

They want work-life balance, with the ability to earn enough and the time to enjoy it.

These are great endpoints to work towards, and they can be made SMART by adding all sorts of features, like earning “x” amount of money per year, five years from now.

But hitting these goals can mean making lots of small sacrifices along the way, which can get in the way of other goals you have set for yourself.

Unfortunately, these are often the goals we set for our mental health, wellbeing, time with friends and family, and much more.

As wellness practitioners, we are constantly facing this Catch-22. 

Even as we put so much energy into the wellbeing of others, we sacrifice our own.

This is the purpose of this blog post, to find the balance. To set the right goals, so that we don’t sacrifice too much to achieve something that we have always wanted. 

Here’s one way to get started.

Create Anti-Goals

Instead of starting your goal-setting process by imagining things you want to achieve, another way to approach things is by working backwards.

Imagine your worst possible day at work. Maybe this means working with difficult clients or spending time in the evening doing menial tasks instead of enjoying being with your friends and family.

Now, set rules for yourself that make avoiding these scenarios possible, like:

  • Hard stop times on work days – you only get done what you accomplish during your pre-set work time.
  • Dropping any clients who display problematic behavior, even if it means a sacrifice in earnings.

This strategy prevents you from being complicit in creating the conditions that you don’t want.

Only once these goals are met, can you focus on larger goals like your yearly growth plans. This means that your goals start from a place of productivity and happiness in your day, not “grinding through it” to get the job done.

Pick Annual Themes To Focus Your Energy

Setting a variety of goals across all aspects of your life and business is a great way to motivate yourself. 

But it can also leave you feeling scattered and overstretched. It’s difficult to “context switch” over the course of the work week, and prioritizing your laundry list of goals can feel like a constant battle.

Instead, try setting an annual theme to organize your goals around. This could be something like “giving back,” where you spend time using your business to reach out to the community and mentor other business owners.

Or how about “money matters” – taking extra time to improve your financial literacy and experiment with money management tools.

Here’s another one: “year of relationships.” Focus your year on your relationships with your friends and family, and lean extra hard into growing your business network.

The purpose of the annual theme is to find a deeper level of focus and intention by looking at all aspects of your business through a single lens.

Here’s another benefit: it makes for great social media or blog content, and you can challenge your followers and network to do the same.

Enjoying the Journey

Reaching a long-awaited milestone feels pretty sweet.

If this means retiring early, paying off debts, or owning a successful wellness practitioner business, then we salute you on your journey.

But we also want to bring attention to that part: the journey.

The entrepreneurial journey is done best when it is fulfilling and enjoyable.

Sure, there will be suffering along the way. But don’t let “hustle culture” convince you that it should be your default setting. 

Part of this comes from embracing fear and uncertainty, and finding the right people to keep around you.

But it’s also about the mindset of what the journey should be.

To some people, that means setting no goals at all.

Just ask Leo Babauta, the author behind Zen Habits, who has written extensively about the power of setting no goals at all.

Okay, we’ll admit it, that might be a little difficult for most business owners out there – but it’s the thought that counts!

Don’t be afraid to start from “common knowledge” approaches to business and goal setting to find something that works for you. It’s the only way to find effective strategies that are personalized to how you do good work.

If you are in the Denver metro area, check out some of our upcoming events at Symmetry Collective to find your place in our community of like-minded wellness practitioners.