This ancient Jewish concept will help you actualize your goals 

Finish studying, land your dream job, make money, hit the gym three times a week, or volunteer every week and make a difference to others. Whatever the goal you put down as your new year’s resolution – there is an age-old Jewish technique that could help you get there. And stay there.

It simply involves taking time out to think and analyse where you are now, where you want to be and how you can get there. In practical terms, it’s a three-step process you can do now (just get yourself a pen and paper). We call these 3 steps Cheshbon hanefesh, which literally translates as “the evaluation of one’s soul”. Like yoga and adaptogens, this ancient method is tried and tested to work in our modern world. 

Step 1 – Identify your goal

You can’t achieve a goal if you don’t know what it is, right? So, the first step is to think about what you want to achieve. Take a few moments right now to think about what your goals are for this year. Have some?  Great! Write them down. Now ask yourself if it’s a clear goal and a goal that is up to you to achieve and not reliant on others. It is? Great! Let’s move to step 2.

Step 2 – Acknowledge where you are 

Just like Google Maps isn’t going to be able to tell you how to get to the next destination without knowing your current location, you can’t achieve your goals without first knowing where you are. 

Take a moment and think about that goal you want to achieve and then look at where you are in relation to it. Close? Far? Again – write it down! Knowing this is going to help with step 3. 

Check out the Olami Hybrid Fellowship website for the full range of courses. Fellowship graduates earn $150 upon completion of the course.

Step 3 – Make a plan to get there

Like anything in life, when you have a clear goal in mind (step 1) and know where you are currently (step 2), you need to make a clear plan to get there (step 3). This plan should outline the practical and actionable steps you have to take to get there. Take time to write down exactly what you need to do to achieve your goal. 

To keep yourself on track, you need a daily check-in with yourself to make sure you’re getting closer to your goal. You need to take time to analyse where you are, where you want to go and how you’re going to get there, making sure that every day you’re doing something small that changes your current location to get closer to achieving your goal.

When you take the time to do cheshbon hanefesh, an honest check-in on yourself, you can identify what bad things are stopping you from achieving your goals and what good things are bringing you closer. 

It may sound pretty obvious. But it’s a game-changer in slowly shifting your behaviour and reaching your goals. Especially when you focus on the positive actions that are getting you closer to your goals. 

How often should you be doing cheshbon hanefesh

Jewish mystics tell us twice a day – like brushing your teeth. 

In the morning to determine what your plan is for the day and in the night to analyse what you did that day to succeed in your mission. 

Two quick-standing meetings to do by yourself for yourself.

You may even find it useful to carry a cheshbon hanefesh journal where you track and assess your goals daily. But remember – always put a clear focus on the positive, that will help you stay motivated to keep going. 

This is an extract from the ‘Purpose of Life’ course, part of the Olami Hybrid Fellowship. Want to tap into more practical wisdom for daily living? Check out the Olami Hybrid Fellowship website for the full range of courses. Fellowship graduates earn $150 upon completion of the course.
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