This Low-Stress, High-Payoff Approach to Goal Setting Is Brilliant

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"When many of us think of creating goals, we tend to see those goals as a bull's-eye or a to-do list—something to accomplish within a certain timeline," says Well+Good Council member and Mama Glow founder Latham Thomas. But she has a different perspective on goal-setting—and not only is this POV less stressful, it actually can help you achieve more than you thought possible. Here's everything you need to shift your own approach as you imagine your future.

I believe that our lives are worth noble missions, and it's our job to explore what those are. So I look at goal-setting as a continuum of fulfilling the mission that you were born to do. Through this lens, there's a little less pressure to hit certain marks, because it's more about being on a certain trajectory. Sure, it's great to have crossed something off your list, but I think we should be orienting ourselves around the process rather than the outcome.

What dream, desire, or activity are you being guided to pursue?

As you think about what you want for your future, ask yourself some mind-opening questions. What do you feel called to change in your life right now? What's inspiring you more than anything else? What dream, desire, or activity are you being guided to pursue? Your answers will help you create a bigger, more expansive picture.

For instance, let's say you've dreamed of opening a salon. Your goal, then, doesn't begin with applying for a loan. Instead, your goal might involve finding inspiration to move you closer to opening a salon, or to practice vulnerability to help you achieve your mission. You might say, "Okay, I want to open this salon, but I have to activate the people around me, like my friends who have started their own businesses. Maybe they can support me. Maybe I can get somebody to sit on my board of directors. Maybe they'll help me learn the ropes of having a new business. Maybe I'll have to ask my parents for help."

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There are other things around the goal that are more important than the goal itself. Here's why: You can open a salon and it can fail! But it's not about the place itself, it's about everything that went into that. Every single person that showed up for you. Every single question that you asked when you were somebody who hated asking for help. Every single time that you picked up the phone to ask a stranger to come to support the business. Whatever it is that takes a lot out of you—because it's your growing edge—that's what's more important than actually achieving the goal.

Whatever you're doing in your life, how you get there is what makes it perfect.

Process makes perfect. Whatever you're doing in your life, how you get there is what makes it perfect. And it takes a lot to get there! Having a personal mission will help you figure out what you really want to be doing, and then you can modulate the steps along the journey. Slowing down is important, because if you're moving at an accelerated pace, you're going to make mistakes. So be careful—and here, I mean full of care—as you move through this process of achieving the personal mission.

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You can set what I call a seed goal. If we think about seeds, they hold a potential for new life. Inside, there's a suspended animation of energy, and in the right circumstances, it can grow fruit. So when you think about a seed goal, it's about concentrated energy of whatever your intention is.

A seed goal is not just a particular thing like getting a new car, buying a house, or getting promoted. Those are just fruits. Instead of aiming for fruit, plant the seeds first. Then you can actually benefit from fruit that you didn't even realize was coming your way—all because you were focused on a larger umbrella of a mission versus trying to tackle these tiny goals.

Inside a seed there's a suspended animation of energy, and in the right circumstances, it can grow fruit.

If you have a seed goal instead of a specific set of things that you want to achieve, then life can take the fastest route to get there because you're aligned. If you're not, guess what: You can get there, but it'll take the long way. Now, setting a seed goal doesn't mean that it's going to be fast, either, but along the way, you'll get signs, coincidences, and moments of clarity—all things that confirm you're on the right path. As you unfold the journey on your way, all of those things happen. Getting the new job, the new car, buying the house…all the things happen as a result of this seed goal unfolding.

So as you think about your hopes and goals, follow your intuition about what you're meant to be doing. You'll never have more time than you have right now to unfold whatever your path may be.


Latham Thomas is a master manifestor and the founder of Mama Glow, a healthy gal's guide to actualization in the modern world. Her second book, Own Your Glow, was recently published by Hay House Inc. 

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