Setting and achieving powerful goals 

It’s that time of year again – the New Year is here!  And for many people, this is a time to reflect on the year that has just passed, and think about our goals (or resolutions) for the New Year.

Setting goals can be a powerful tool – they are prayers, intentions, creative energy set in motion.  So like all powerful tools, it makes sense to take the time to understand a little more about what you are doing, and if possible, ensuring that any goals you set are taking you towards your highest divine potential.

Be careful what you wish for!

I’m reminded of a story that I’ve heard my favourite astrologer, teacher and powerful storyteller – Steven Forrest – tell on a number of occasions.  The story starts with two young wizards deciding they will play a trick on a little girl who is around 8 or 9 years old.  They go and visit the girl and tell her that they are there to grant all her wishes.  They tell her that she can have anything she asks for.  There is only one catch – she can’t have it for 28 years.

The little girl thinks this is great, and in the manner of all little girls starts listing the things she wants.  She wants to be able to stay up all night and not have to go to bed.  She wants to be able to eat as much ice cream as she wants all the time.  She wants a pony.  Oh, and she wants nothing to do with boys, because they all have germs.  The wizards thank her for her wishes, and tell her that in 28 years time, they will all come true.

Not wanting to wait 28 years to play out their prank, the two young wizards travel through time to 28 years later. The little girl is now in her mid to late 30s, married and has two young boys of her own.  The two wizards appear before her and tell her that it is now time for her wishes to be granted.  She has only a vague recollection of what she wished for – remembering only that she had wished for what was then her heart’s desire – so she starts to get excited.

Later that day her husband comes to see her. He tells her he is leaving her and taking the kids with him (no more boy germs!).  The only thing he leaves behind is the kids’ rocking horse (a pony).  She goes home that night and sits on the couch eating ice cream to drown her sorrows. She is so upset, that it doesn’t matter what she does, she can’t get to sleep (she gets to stay up all night).

I’ve paraphrased Steven’s story here, and not told it nearly as well – but the gist of the message is the same – ‘be careful what you wish for’! When you are setting goals or resolutions, you are making wishes, you are setting intentions, you are putting energy in motion for the future.  But when you are making wishes or setting goals for your future today, you can’t know what your circumstances will be in the future.  So when setting your goals in motion, ideally describe what you are trying to achieve by it, rather than being specific.

For example – in the case of the story above,  if the little girl had wished for an abundance of the food that she loves (rather than ice cream), being surrounded by people that she enjoys being with (rather than wishing not to be near boys) and having the freedom to make her own choices (rather than being able to stay up all nigh), then the outcome of her wishes would have been far more beneficial for her!

Why New Year’s Resolutions so often fail

One of the reasons people so often fail with their goals, is that they focus only on one aspect of the problem they are trying to solve or goal they are trying to achieve.  This is the equivalent of trying to build a table with a single leg in only one corner.  If you are truly seeking to effect change in your life whether to resolve a problem or bring about something new, then you need to tackle each of the Four Pillars of Being using the archetypal energies that support each Pillar.

For those of you who aren’t studying with me, here’s a quick crash course in the Four Pillars and their Archetypes:

  • Action - the first pillar is related to the physical realm and ‘doing’.  When we set goals around an exercise program, our health, making changes to our house or anything else in the physical realm, then we are focusing in the area of the first pillar.

               First Pillar Archetypes: Victim, Warrior

  • Emotions - the second pillar is related to the way that we feel.  It also deals with our creativity and how we connect with and communicate with others – our relationships (eg. family, friends, romantic).  If you are setting any creative or relationship goals, these are second pillar goals.

              Second Pillar Archetypes: Prostitute, Lover

  • Thoughts - the third pillar is focused on with how we think and our belief systems.  It is less about knowledge (which is more first pillar as it deals with the physical realm) and more about wisdom, which is what you do with that knowledge.  It is also associated with any illusions or blind-spots that we may have about ourselves and others.

            Third Pillar Archetypes: Saboteur, Magician

  • Empowerment/Sovereignty  - this is associated with your spirit, your will, your soul and breathing life or power into who you are and your goals.  It is where the other three pillars are co-ordinated from and come together.

              Fourth Pillar Archetypes:  Child, Sovereign

How the Four Pillars work

The Four Pillars of Being essentially describe the four cornerstones of being human, of living on this planet.  This is why you can find them reflected everywhere – from religion, philosophy, pop culture, astrology, colour through to science.  Each Pillar is supported by core archetypes – and it is from these four core archetypes (which Caroline Myss refers to as survival archetypes), that all other archetypal energies are formed.  Just like a colour printer has four ink colours in it – and from these ink colours, all other colours in the rainbow are created, so is it with archetypes.

Like the four legs of a table, these four pillars ‘hold you up’ or bring you and your goals into being.  If one or more of the four pillars is weak, or not taken into account, then the table will be weak and/or might even fall over!

Note: The above is just a brief overview of the Four Pillars.  To understand more about how the Pillars work and the archetypes that support them, click here.

Using the Four Pillars of Being to set your goals

So how do you use this information about the Four Pillars to help you to set powerful goals?  You ensure that for each goal you set, you have considered all four aspects of being. For example, if you wanted to commit to exercising five days a week this year – that’s a first pillar goal (as it relates to the physical).  So you need to look a how you ensure that the other three pillars are also working with you to achieve your first pillar goal.  If you only make plans for action (ie you plan to exercise every day), and don’t make plans for how the other three pillars can support your goal, then there is a good chance you will fail.   

For each of the Four Pillars, I’ve highlighted some of the questions or things you may want to think about:

  • For the first pillar - “What do I need to do to make this happen?”  “What are my physical goals?”  “What are my back up plans?”  “What will be different in the physical world, when I have achieved this?”

To help you to do this, you can call on the archetypes of the Victim and the Warrior.  Ask them to help you to identify all the questions you need to ask yourself, and help you identify the best way forward to make your goal a physical reality.

  • For the second pillar, consider things like – “How do I feel abut this?” , “How can I engage with other people to support me in my goal?”  “What impact will this have on my relationships?

To work with you on this, you can call on the archetypes of the Prostitute and the Lover.  Ask them to help you to explore your emotions, your relationships and your creativity – looking for support, creative ideas on how to proceed etc.


  • For the third pillar, consider things like “What beliefs do I have that support or hinder this goal?” eg.  Do you think “I always fail at exercise programs.” OR “I am bad at exercise”.  In particular focus on any ‘always’ or ‘never’ statements that you make about your goals (eg. I never achieve my New Year’s resolutions.)  Once you have identified these beliefs or illusions, look at whether they are really true or not, and replace them with a belief that supports what you are trying to achieve.  (Note – if you can’t do this, it may mean that you have identified an area that you need help with in terms of healing.)

The Saboteur and the Magician are the two archetypes to call on to help you with this Pillar – the Saboteur to help you identify where you might self-sabotage, and the Magician both to help you see through illusions and to help you to put magic into powerful positive thoughts.


  • For the fourth pillar - this pillar is all about power and control.  Consider things like “Whose approval am I seeking by doing this?”  If it is just you, that’s OK.  If it’s somebody else – then you are reverting to the child archetype, and not taking control or sovereignty over your life.  Other questions to ask are: “Do I feel that this is something I truly have the power to achieve?”  “What or how do I give away areas of my personal power that might stop me from achieving this?”

        The archetypes to call on for support with this Pillar are the Child and the Sovereign.

Archetypes and the Four Pillars

You will note that for each of the Four Pillars I have noted the archetypes that relate to that Pillar.  There are always two (eg. Victim and Warrior).  There isn’t space to go into why this is here, all you need to know is that you can call on these archetypes anytime, by just asking them to be with you.  This is as simple as sitting with your eyes closed, taking some deep breaths, and starting to sense the Victim, the Warrior or whatever other archetype you are looking to invoke.  It’s not hard – it’s as natural as breathing.  You invoke archetypal energies all day long every day.

Your goal in invoking them is to feel or sense their energy.  Doing this will help you to explore that Pillar.

An Example

Here’s a really simple example for you which factors all of the above in.  You will want to go into more depth on this than I have shown here, if this is one of your goals, as this is just to give you a flavour of it.

Starting Goal:  Exercise regularly

Adjusted Goal:  Have a fit and healthy body.  (Remember what I said above about adjusting your goals to focus on the outcome.)

First Pillar Activities – Physical/Action:  Exercise five days a week (on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday);  Engage with Warrior archetype to help me to maintain discipline with this.

Second Pillar – Feelings/Connections:  Exercise is very unexciting, need to work with the Lover archetype to develop a passion for it.  Also, will aim to keep journal of how I feel about this.

Third Pillar Activities – Thoughts/Beliefs:  Resolve my belief “I never keep going with exercise programs.”  and look to replace with a belief like “I am good at exercise.” Work with both the Saboteur and Magician archetypes to do this.

Fourth Pillar Activities – Spirit/Power:  Need to focus on how being fit and healthy empowers me to be all that I am and recognise that it always my decision as to how I spend my time, I am sovereign of my clock!

And finally

Remember that you are on the path to your Divine Potential whatever you do!!! Setting goals and working with your archetypes to do this, can help you go get there in a more pleasant and powerful way.  And at this point in time, with Saturn in Scorpio and Pluto in Capricorn for all of 2013 and 2014, there is plenty of energetic support for those who want to dive deeply into their goals and work hard at them. So take advantage of this powerful time, set yourself some goals, and go for it!

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