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How to Set and Achieve Goals Using the Sedona Method

I was a volunteer counsellor on a parents' helpline. I have taken courses in non-violent communication, mindfulness, and the Sedona Method.

Achieving goals can be fun.

Achieving goals can be fun.

Setting and Achieving Your Goals

Since you are reading this article, there’s a good chance you have unfulfilled goals and that you would like to change that. Maybe you have tried several times to set goals and follow through, but it’s just not happening, and you feel disheartened. Perhaps you feel like giving up.

Please don’t. I know how you feel, and I know it can get better. A year ago, if someone had suggested I could write an article on achieving goals, I would have thought they were a little crazy! For years, I avoided even setting goals for many reasons, all of them spurious.

My spurious reasons for not setting goals are similar to the reasons most people don’t achieve goals. This article will introduce you to ways of uncovering your own spurious reasons and releasing them. The ideas in this article are my interpretations of the Sedona Method’s goal process.

The Sedona Method’s approach to goals is different from any other process I’ve come across. Yet, it also works well with other goal processes, making whatever technique you already use more effective. Using these practices has vastly changed my success with goals, and if it can do that for me, it can do so for anyone!

Before We Move On, Consider These Questions

  • What makes you want to achieve your goal?
  • What do you think achieving your goal will give you?
  • These may seem like silly questions, but really: Why do you want a fast car, $10,0000, the figure of a supermodel, or a head for figures?

Introducing the "Wants"

Lester Levenson, whose discoveries inspired the Sedona Method, identified basic wants that drive us. (Various other systems identify similar drives.)

According to Lester Levenson, the wants are for control, approval, security, separation and oneness.

What is your ultimate goal in life? I’m guessing it’s much the same as mine: happiness, fulfillment, and inner peace.

We often want to prove something to others or to ourselves and think we will do that by achieving our goals. But if you feel the need to prove yourself, you don’t feel good enough as you are right now, and no amount of achievement can give you that. There are brain surgeons who feel fulfilled and peaceful, and brain surgeons who are miserable, just as there are street cleaners who are happy and others who are not. So happiness and fulfillment do not come from what we do but from how we feel about what we do. In other words, it comes from within.

If you find this a little hard to accept, think of Elvis Presley, Amy Winehouse or Marilyn Monroe. All had phenomenal material success that did not bring them happiness or self-esteem.

The Wants Identified by Lester Levenson

Control: Want to change things, but feel unable to? That’s wanting to control.

Approval: Wish people respected you more? Feel unloved and unwanted? That’s wanting approval.

Security: Worrying about your job, or health? That’s wanting security

Separation: Wanting to stand out, to be the best, or maybe just to avoid people? Wanting Separation.

Oneness: Wish you felt like you belonged? Want to merge with others, or with life? That’s wanting oneness.

With the Sedona Method, you use a material goal as a catalyst to bring to awareness any beliefs and feelings that are currently preventing you from feeling whole and complete exactly as you are.

There is no beating yourself for not achieving, and no forcing yourself to push on through hell or high water. Instead achieving goals begins to feel like fun!

As you release feelings and desires, you may achieve your goal – or you may find that you no longer feel driven to pursue it. Either way you will be happy, which is, after all, the reason you wanted to achieve the goal in the first place!

An Example Using Weight Loss

"This all sounds interesting, but I don’t fully understand it. An example would be nice."

Your wish is my command!

Let’s say your goal is to lose weight.

Is this because:

  1. You’d like to wear a bikini or swimming trunks on the beach in the summer, or . . .
  2. You are afraid your excess weight is damaging your health?

Answer one suggests it’s likely you are driven by a desire to get others' good opinion of you (wanting approval).

Answer two suggests it’s likely you are driven by a desire to feel safe (wanting security).

There’s nothing wrong with either desire. As we’ve already seen, these are basic human wants shared by us all.

So you don’t have to get rid of the want. The chances are you’ve been trying to do that for years, while simultaneously clinging on to it.

This comes about because we often hold conflicting beliefs. One way to recognise if you are both holding onto a belief or want and trying to get rid of it is to check if you feel a sense of inner push-pull about your goal. Another way to recognise it would be you have started a project full of excitement but then find yourself holding back. Inner conflict makes it very hard to move freely into action.

To make this a little clearer: in the example above, if you want approval but think you shouldn’t, you might tell yourself you don’t care what others think about your appearance, only to find yourself preparing for a night out with friends by desperately trying to squeeze yourself into a pair of jeans several sizes too small.

Or have you ever had a fear of something, say spiders or mice, and told yourself your fear is silly and tried to make yourself stop being afraid? Can you see that with that there is a push-pull feeling? That’s because of conflicting wants.

Don't "Should" Yourself

I want to say that it’s easy when reading articles like this one to think that you should be doing what the author says, and shouldn’t be making the mistakes she points out. If you have recognised yourself in the examples above and are now feeling guilty, please know that

(a) you have done nothing wrong

(b) almost everyone else either feels the same way or has done so in the past.

How does the Sedona Method help with these conflicting desires, and what do these have to do with goals?

Instead of trying to force yourself to change, or berating yourself for having a hidden motive for your goal, with the Sedona Method, you welcome all the feelings, thoughts and images that arise when you think of or read your goal.

What, You Mean I’m Supposed to Welcome These Awful Feelings?

Yes, and no. First, you’re not supposed to do anything. But if what I’ve written so far seems helpful, then keep reading. Welcoming a feeling, thought or desire doesn’t mean you will hang on to it forever. Nor does it mean you act on the desire or feeling.

Welcoming simply means you acknowledge whatever is there and don’t judge yourself because of it.

We have the thoughts and feelings we do in an attempt to protect ourselves, and welcoming is really a way of acknowledging that, and of accepting what is here right now. It also leaves the way open for what is here right now to change in the next moment, whereas resisting means we get caught up in a struggle that keeps alive the very feeling we want rid of. Resisting what here is right now means that your energy is directed into that trying to change what has already happened, instead of onto taking action to achieve your goal.

An Example From My Own Life of Goal-Setting With the Sedona Method

First, as with most goals processes, write the goal in the present tense, and in the positive. Include how you would like to feel in your goal. I’d like to feel at ease so I include the word “easily”.

Goal: I easily complete the first draft of my novel by the end of January.

Now notice your reaction:

My first thought is, “Fat chance!” I feel tense, and a sinking sensation comes in my gut.

I welcome that. This may seem counter intuitive, but as I do I feel better, more relaxed. The goal actually feels possible. I remember how much I enjoy working on my novel, and feel eager to get back to it after having had a break.

I think about my goal again, and doubt surfaces, along with a thought: “I’ll fritter time away and never be able do it.” The image that comes to my mind is of me on January 31st, having done nothing and feeling disappointed.

I welcome that. As I do, I spontaneously breathe out, and relax. I see now that the thought and image are old habits, just part of the old-fashioned way of trying to use fear to force change (wanting control, and wanting approval.)

Now I realise that perhaps my original goal could be unrealistic and part of an old habit of trying to compensate for what I believed to be lack of drive by pushing myself. (Remember that push-pull we looked at before? It’s now easy to see that these conflicting beliefs have been holding me back.)

I see that a more realistic goal would be to complete the first draft by the end of February. That way, I leave time for other projects, such as writing articles or working on learning more about search engine optimisation. I also now notice that the original goal was creating a sense of feeling rushed, which made it hard to focus on the task in hand. I feel much calmer now, and more confident that I can work towards my goal.

Notice that throughout this process I didn’t try to figure out what was the best thing to do, but a solution showed up as I welcomed. This is a major aspect of The Sedona Method, that instead of spending hours weighing up pros and cons, which usually results in feeling caught in a loop, we welcome feelings and our minds naturally become clearer.

It may seem counter-intuitive to welcome so-called negative feelings or wants that hold us back, but the moment we do so our emotional state goes from negative to positive. The very act of welcoming is an act of courage and creates acceptance, and in a state of courage or acceptance, we are able to move forward easily to reach our goals.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on April 22, 2015:

Hello, Amrit. I haven't been on Hubpages for a while, so I'm glad I checked in just now.

With any process such as the Sedona Method, it's very easy to feel we are doing things wrong, particularly if we don't see massive results at first. But really, you can't do it wrong, because any releasing will help. For me, welcoming is by far the most powerful aspect. What I find is that sometimes when I experience a lot of resistance to welcoming or to letting go, it helps to "bottom out." By that I mean, just find what you can welcome. If you can't welcome how you feel, then welcome that - literally welcome (or allow) that you feel resistance to how you feel. That releases some of the sense of stuckness that comes with the feeling we are doing it wrong! And do visit the Sedona Method forum where coaches and other experienced releasers are happy to help.

Amrit on April 16, 2015:

Hi Melovy, hopefully you are still reachable! :P

Very nice article. I myself have been feeling a little stuck with the goals process. I find it hard to welcome and let go, because I don't know if I'm doing it right. Do you find the release occurs at the welcoming stage for you, or after you've consciously decided to let go?

Thanks! :)

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on September 11, 2012:

nanderson500, thanks!

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on September 11, 2012:

Terrye, glad this will be useful to you. I have found it very helpful for meeting goals and have lots of opportunities to use these techniques when meeting deadlines for the Apprenticeship program! I doubt if I would have got through without. Thanks for your comment and for sharing.

nanderson500 from Seattle, WA on September 07, 2012:

This is good advice. Very well-written too. Voted up and interesting.

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on September 07, 2012:

Melovy, thank you for this! I have been struggling with meeting some goals I have set for myself and this will surely help me to obtain those goals. Voted up and sharing. :)

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on January 09, 2012:

Hi Born2care2001,

I am delighted to read that you found this hub so useful. Thank you very much for your comment, and please do come back and let me know how you get on.

Rev Bruce S Noll HMN from Asheville NC on January 08, 2012:

Hi Melovy,

You have opened a window for me. Telling you your hub is well written would be anticlimactic for someone of your caliber but I will say how grateful I am that you decided to write it!

I didn't have enough time to read it at length at first, but you made me come back for more!

Thank you, I'll let you know how it affects my outcome!


Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on January 07, 2012:

@Maren - thanks!

@ ThinBen, I’m glad you found it helpful. Thanks for your comment.

ThinBen from texas on January 05, 2012:

Very Helpful, good thoughts and helpful in where to focus your attention

Maren Elizabeth Morgan from Pennsylvania on January 04, 2012:

VU. :)

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on January 04, 2012:

Hi Eiddwen,

Thanks for reading, and for the comment and vote up. Glad you found it handy!

Eiddwen from Wales on January 04, 2012:

A very handy hub which I am sure will benefit many readers.

I vote up and here's to many more hubs to share on here.

Take care and enjoy your day.


Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on January 03, 2012:

HI Simone,

I’m so glad you like this approach. And you’ve summed it up very neatly - our goals are indeed indicative of deeper wants and needs, and when we let go of our attachment to those it’s so much easier to see the way forward.

Many thanks for your comment and for your good wishes with the novel draft.

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on January 03, 2012:

This is such an interesting approach! I like it. Especially since so many goals are just indicative of deeper wants and needs, and it's best to understand those first before going forward. I wish you the best of luck with the novel draft!

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on January 03, 2012:


Good to hear you enjoyed the examples. I find it helpful to have examples of how to do something, so hoped it would be useful to others. Your feedback is very useful for me, as it the feedback about the format. I think I’ll go back to earlier hubs soon and reformat them.

I agree with what you say about people wanting to achieve instead of being happy now. It’s all too easy to fall into that trap, but as long as we aren’t happy till we “get that one more thing”, we’ll never be happy. Far better to be happy now.

Thanks very much for your thought-provoking comment.

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on January 02, 2012:

Hi Melovy! This was a great approach! I really enjoyed the examples too...I do think a lot of people keep looking to achieve instead of enjoying the now. Like wanting too much or not being happy until you just get that one more thing!

I also love how it looks - the layout and photos! Up and everything!

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on January 02, 2012:

Hello Pam,

I’m glad you found the hub interesting, and that you find the descriptions of the Sedona Method useful. Thanks very much for your comment.

Pam Bennett on January 02, 2012:

I was really interested to see this article and I can relate to the problems you are having with goal setting. I too have heard of the Sedona Method, and find the descriptions you use are very good to help understand the basic principles.

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on January 02, 2012:

Hi Nancy, nice to see you again. I am glad you feel you’ve learned something as I wasn’t sure how well I’d got the process across. It’s not easy to describe, but very, very useful.

Thanks very much for your comment.

Nancy Owens from USA on January 02, 2012:

Hi Melovy! What a great Hub. I agree that it is important to recognise why we have set a goal. Are we doing it to please someone else, ourselves, or just because we think we should do it? I learned something from your interpretations of the Sedona Method Way. Voted up and Useful.

Yvonne Spence (author) from UK on January 02, 2012:

Hello L.L.Woodward, good to meet you, and I am glad to hear you enjoy making goals. The Sedona Method is indeed a fruitful way to reach goals. Thanks very much for your comment.

L.L. Woodard from Oklahoma City on January 02, 2012:

I firmly believe I will always have goals in my life -- at least I hope so. I think doing so is important to a vital life. The Sedona Method as you've explained it seems to offer a fruitful way to reach those goals.