“I’m not sure what I want exactly, but I know it’s not this.I just want to feel _____________ (you name it: happy, confident, joyful, motivated).”
“I want __________________, but I don’t even know where to start; I don’t have the _________ (you name it: time, patience, support, confidence, money) to do it.”
“It’s a good time to start, but I’m not doing anything and don’t know why.”
If you come to me with your own version of one of those statements, then I make it my mission to help you:
- get clear on what you want
- clean up the thoughts and beliefs that stand between you and getting that
I put a call out on my Facebook page to ask my “likers” what I can help you with right now in your life; I got a lot of comments and private messages about setting goals and realizing dreams. You want to know what that looks like in real life, not just on a Pinterest board.
And I am passionate about helping you create that in a way that feels good — that’s not about kicking your own ass mentally with shame, threats or ultimatums. So, today’s post will outline seven ways to do just that:
1. Ask yourself: What do you want? Really. I want you to make a list right now. In fact, here’s a worksheet to do just that:
When we take the time to put pen to paper and flood the page with our desires, it’s a powerful thing. I know that when I stay in my head and let the same thoughts and questions tumble around over and over again, it gets hazy and frustrating. When you make your list, don’t censor yourself — write down everything from“having my car detailed” to “live in Hawaii for three months out of the year.” What if it’s having a truly passionate connection and friendship with your spouse / partner? Or to stop thinking that if it’s going to get done the right/perfect way, then you have to do it? Put it on the list.
2. How do you want to feel? Look at that list you’ve made and next to each number, I want you to name the feeling you think this will connect you to inside of yourself. Sometimes we get stuck with a limited emotional vocabulary, so here’s a sheet that has long list of words that describe good feelings:
Sure, “happy” is a good place to start, but I’ll bet there are others on there too that describe exactly how you want to feel.
3. Why do you want this? I’m willing to bet that you want the things you listed because of the way you think they’ll make you feel about yourself and your life. The good news is that you don’t have to wait until you “get there” to feel the good feelings; they are yours to access at anytime. More on this later.
But really, why do you want the things you want? Why do you have these goals and dreams? Is it what you truly want or what you think is expected of you? Or what you should do? Get clear on that and if what you want scares you a little bit, that’s okay. Be afraid and have a willingness to go for it anyway. That’s called courage.
4. Start where you are. Right now. I love living in The Land of Contemplation, and sometimes I even visit The River of Pre-Contemplation for days or even weeks before I make a move. We’re humans; we do stuff like that, and sometimes, it’s for good reason. Other times, this is just avoidance. Be aware that you’re getting ready to get ready. And then pick up your feet and make a move.
Start the food journal today. Put all of your $5 bills in a mason jar today for that trip you’re going to take. Sign up for the first class. Get on VistaPrint and make those business cards. Make the counseling appointment and show up with an open mind and heart.
I love PROCESS. Leaps are great — I love when we can make a good leap and reap the rewards more quickly, but I’ve really come to embrace process a lot lately. While the big leaps give us the flush of infatuation and adrenaline, process is the marriage between you and your goals. It’s commitment and covenant. It’s the day-to-day living that moves you forward to develop something rich and true.
5. Tap into a propelling emotion. Back yourself emotionally as you move towards your goals. Pay attention to your thinking. For example, are you walking for 30 minutes a day now, but imagining yourself running a 5K race in six months? Does that thought generate excitement? Pride? If you imagine your goal and tell yourself it sounds great, but it’s hopeless because you’ve never jogged more than a block in your whole life and how would you even begin to train?…see what I mean?
When you undercut yourself with your thoughts, you don’t have your own back and that’s when it’s easy to lose sight of what you want. Practice thinking about and seeing your desires fulfilled.
6. Aim for resilience, not perfection. Maybe you are in the habit of telling yourself that you take one step forward and three steps back and you’ll never get anywhere doing that. A thought like this can get us stuck in a cycle of believing that since we didn’t do everything perfectly, we always have to start over completely. I’m asking you to challenge that belief and end the cycle. Begin by noticing and accepting that this is where your thoughts go; don’t beat yourself up for a way that you’re used to thinking — it takes practice to build those new neural pathways.
So what if you did take one, two or three steps back?
Shake it off and consider this: What if my failures are just an opportunity in disguise?
I lost a lot of weight almost three years ago and gained a little back over the winter. My thoughts? “Well shit, the weight loss coach has gained about 10 lbs. I thought I figured this stuff out. Do I really know what I’m doing?”
Yes, I see you, crack-thoughts. I know you’re there and I don’t really want to believe that about myself. So, I step into what I can believe:
- “There is something for me to learn here and I’m going to figure out what that is.”
- “A static, unchanging body is not perfect. What if my body is capable of more than I let myself believe right now?”
7. Muscle up. You can do hard stuff. Those thoughts propelled me to take action this spring. My husband and I got into a health and fitness team challenge at our neighborhood gym six weeks ago. There were two teams of six and we worked with two trainers and coaches who helped us recalibrate the way we were eating and amp up our workouts. My husband lost 17 lbs. and I dropped 10. We met our goals by starting where we were, being excited about what we were doing and proud of the way we were making small but significant shifts each day.
Remember what I said earlier about having access to those feelings you listed on your worksheet of the things you want? You generate those feelings by taking the steps to get you there. This is called taking inspired action. You don’t have to wait for a desired outcome to feel good; just start moving towards it.
During our team challenge, my trainer and friend, Jeff Howard, helped me step into my willingness to let my abilities be bigger and my body stronger than I let myself imagine six months ago. I can honestly say I have never been more physically strong and fit in my life than I am now at 42 years old with one intact knee. True story.
And while none of what we did in our challenge was punitive (because that does not feel good and propel me forward, for sure), it was most definitely not easy. We’re talking crazy-ass pushups with one leg up in the air or Tabatas where you’re drenched in sweat and somewhat psychologically compromised wondering if the “rest” bell rang or you just decided to imagine it did.
Jeff would often ask us during a workout, “Is this hard?” (And we’d yell out “yes” along with expletives).
Then he would say, “And is that okay?”
I love that question so much. Because my answer is yes, it is okay. I can do hard things and so can you.
When we choose to do something that is on the continuum of “out of my comfort zone” to “holy shit, why did I think I could take this on?,”that’s where we can find out so much more about ourselves and stretch beyond what we we thought we could do or be.
To me, those moments are actually little miracles because they’re shifts in our perception that impel us to dig deeper, love more and allow the extraordinary in ourselves.
In the comments below:
- Tell me which one of the seven (or choose more than one) you will act on now. As in today. No waitin’ around : )
- OR, add something else to this list: a way that you determine your goals or make this happen in your life.