Hi there, How are you feeling being back in “normal” life after Thanksgiving? What were you thankful for this year?
As we are entering the holiday season, so many of us are experiencing heightened emotions of all sorts. This is why in today’s post, I want to offer you something that will challenge you to think forward and narrow in on what actually matters to you in the grand scheme of things.
I am going to share something personal with you. I am going to tell you how I overcame my fear of setting goals for myself aka. failing to achieve them. This is important because we all or at least most of us know that goal setting makes sense yet so few of us actually do it. My guess is that your fears aren’t so different from mine.
When I set goals for myself –and I mean the types of goals that really truly connect with what I deep down desire; the ones that reflect my personal authenticity –I have to be in a peaceful place inside and out.
That is why I used this last week, the week where I am giving thanks and focus on being grateful for all the amazing things in my life, as the perfect week to revisit my goals from last year and formulate my goals for this coming year.
To give you a little background: One year ago, while I was working on my Master Thesis, I was working at Lululemon in San Francisco. While I was obviously in athletic clothing and yoga community heaven, I was also introduced to something that has had an enormous impact on my life: structured goal setting.
It was at Lululemon that I first nibbled into vision writing and really formulated my dreams into specific goals. It was also the first time that I shared my goals out loud with a community of people (everyone on the Lululemon team writes down their goals, frames them, and puts them up on the wall in the store; you can see mine to the right). This was scary at first because my fear of failing and being held responsible for fulfilling my dreams felt daunting:
What if I write down something I would like to achieve and I don’t actually succeed to do it? I will feel like a failure.
What if I actually say out loud what I really desire and it just won’t happen for me? I will jinx it and be sad forever.
What if I write down something I think I want now and won’t actually want anymore in 6 months from now.
You will not be a failure.
You will not be sad forever.
It’s ok to change your mind as long as you are acting from a place of LOVE and not fear. (For example, last year I set myself the goal to go to yoga 3 times per week until I learned that 2 times per week feels much more fueling to my body + that way I am actually super excited for each class)
One key realization that helped me overcome this fear of failing and letting myself down was understanding that my vision was MY VISION and my goals were MY GOALS. In other words and unless you are psychic, which I am not: as I change, grow, and expand into my wonderful life, my vision and my goals have to change as well. Once I fully realized that my vision and goals are not written in stone but that they are alive documents that are purely meant to guide and support my happiness, I was able to engage into this process with all my enthusiasm, love, and trust.
I also came to understand that as long as I was scarred of voicing what I actually desired for my life, I would remain direction-less.
Once I got over that fear, I loved every second of this newly found tool. In fact, I felt so inspired by it that I kept twisting and molding goal setting to make it really fit for myself first and for my clients thereafter.
One of my favorite quotes is by Anna Jameson, who said:
What we truly and earnestly aspire to be, that in some way we are. The mere aspiration –by changing the frame of the mind –for the moment realizes itself.
So, by earnestly writing out my vision -which is an exercise to prepare for goal setting- I was in some way already living it. Now, one year later, I am living much closer to my vision than I did last year. Let me tell you that THIS FEELS AMAZING! I truly feel like I have direction and that I am on a journey that wants to happen. When I look at my 1-year goals from last year and how they gave rise to my 1-year goals this year, I feel that I am growing and making process. And what feels better than that?
If you are like me and thrive on seeing your efforts and projects come to completion (don’t you just love checking points off on your to-do list?!), goal setting is an absolutely essential tool for you! If I hadn’t written out my goals last year, I would have no reference point for what I have accomplished this past year and no base from where to proceed for the coming year.
This brings me to today’s challenge:
Think about what you really want in 5, 10, or 20 years from now. In my goal setting work with my clients, we talk about 4 different aspects of life specifically: Health, Work, Love, and Play. Take these into consideration when you begin to imagine your ideal life. How do you want to FEEL in these four areas?
Don’t get discouraged if your inner voice calls you silly, crazy, selfish, or flat out nuts. From my experience, I know that there can be a lot of self-criticism involved in this exercise, so instead of trying to make it all perfect and polished, treat this exercise like a stream of consciousness. Write in the present tense and start like this:
"When I wake up in the morning, I feel……."
If you need inspiration and to support the process of sharing, you can read my vision here. If you find that reading other people’s work before you write your own distracts you, focus on your own work first! This is essential.
As usual, I would love to hear what you have to say in the comments below. How was this exercise for you? How do you want to feel in your life? How do you see yourself unfold in your health, your career, you relationships, in your hobbies?
If you want to work on discovering your personal authenticity and get my 1-on-1 support for creating your vision, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a fantastic last week of November.