Big, Beautiful Life Goals
BIG, BEAUTIFUL LIFE GOALS…
The New Year. A time we are reminded of the big dreams we have for our life and how close, or far away, we are to them. For me, these include: creating deep and meaningful relationships with my friends, having a special life partner, traveling the world, leading transformative coaching courses, retreats and classes, and writing pieces that have impact - just to name a few.
Big, beautiful life goals.
We all have them. But through the stress and complexity of our lives, we may lose sight of our big dreams, or we don’t know how (small steps within the BIG step) to make them happen. In my experience, the big elephant in the room is fear. We are afraid of our greatness - afraid of putting ourselves fully out there and potentially failing when we give it our all. The more fear of failure we have, the more we procrastinate working on the big stuff. I hear ya. An awake life means saying hello to your old friend fear and hold his/her hand as you inch forward towards your big dreams. Working towards our big, beautiful life goals is scary as shit —the only thing scarier is the opposite.
We learn to dream big when we are kids… we want to be professional athletes, ballerinas, or writers. When we are young, our big beautiful dreams are entertained… who wants to dampen the spirits of a kid after all? But as we get a bit older, say adolescence, big dreams which require steady effort, commitment, lots of risks, rejection and uncertainty get dismissed by our parents, friends or others who care for us as unrealistic or immature. Usually they just want to prevent us from difficulty, pain and suffering in life as much as possible.. and playing it easy and small seems to do that at first. Until it doesn’t. The new year or a birthday can send us down memory lane where we hear the little voices of our hopes and dreams not yet realized.
Big, beautiful life goals. How do we get there? And what do they have to do with New Years Resolutions? If you design them right, a lot. For example, one of my big life goals is to be a location-independent teacher and coach. One of my smaller goals within this big life goal is to be more independent with my work commitments - meaning I am not dependent on individual persons, studios or entities to do my work. What were the small intentions I set for 2018 to get closer to that? 1. To offer independent yoga classes at my home “studio,” and 2. To teach and coach during the week, allowing me to have a real weekend and make real weekend plans that are location-independent, 3. To offer fully online coaching sessions. In 2018 all 3 happened! I led my first fully online health coaching course last Spring with students from Spain, Oman, the US, Germany and Austria. I will start teaching two classes at my “home studio” next week (see below) AND for the first time in 6 years, I have my weekends free. Big dreams. Broken down into doable bite-size chunks.
I listen to A LOT of podcasts with top entrepreneurs and inventors, writers and thought leaders. People who achieve what they want to achieve have really good daily routines. Anything you leave up to chance will happen just like that - by chance, when you have time, or the stars align. A good place to start is by automating towards thrive all the basic requirements you have because you are human — set up your evening routine so you have best chances for 7-8 hours of deep sleep, eat what gives you energy, at regular times every day, to keep your body properly fueled and your orientation positive, move your body to keep energy flowing and your body light and limber, make time for quiet every morning to move into observation mode so you can respond best to whatever the day throws to you and end the day with quiet time to to reflect, let the day settle, and lessons learned to penetrate in. Daily routines basically give book ends to your day to give you best possible chance for success for everything else that matters to you— your work and passion project, family and doing your dharma. They have subtle but profound impact at helping you have the energy and enthusiasm to chip away at your big, beautiful life goals. I teach this in my Health Coaching course, Align to Thrive. (A new group starts in a week!! Join me to start the ball rolling to make big shifts in 2019).
Okay, basic care is taken care of, and we are setting ourselves up for best possible chances of success. Now how to set the actual intentions...
Start with a positive desire/intention/goal and link it to a bigger purpose. I use this in my health coaching courses to keep students on track with their health goals when the going gets tough (which is almost all of the time). For instance, lots of people want a regular exercise regime. The outcomes they desire may be: to feel energetic, to be in a positive mood or feel confident. That’s the What. The What, or the desired outcome, always has a reason - a big WHY… often a deep and emotional one. Using exercise as an example, many people feel that regular exercise makes them more confident (outcome) and this confidence helps them kick ass at their jobs, gives them energy to do the hobbies and passions that make them feel alive and can even make them a better romantic prospect or partner. These are big reasons that give greater meaning to something that seems kinda small - exercise. The more we can see the link between the What and the Why, the easier it is to stay the course.
Your intentions/goals/resolutions should difficult enough to motivate you and keep you interested in playing but not so hard that you really have no chance of achieving them. That’s just defeating and nonsense. It took me 3 years to slowly chip away at my weekend schedule to move it down from 3, to 2, to 1, to no classes on the weekends. Most of my students who I loved and often came on retreats, workshops and courses with me saw me on the weekend. Changing everything at once would have been foolish. Think small, incremental, kaizen steps. What small, doable moves can you make to chip away at your big goals?You can always move the bar higher, but if it is within leaping distance when you begin, that’s not going to work.
Goals should relate to concrete actions or steps… especially for bigger, elephant goals. Hoping to do something is not a strategy. Take your goals out of hope-land and into reality. If you hope to be a full time blogger, what does that entail? Well, the action of writing seems relevant. That should happen every day. Okay, when do you feel most focused and productive? First thing in the morning - great! For how long? At least 30 minutes - great! Use a timer. And then give yourself a reward. Specific. Concrete. Steps. Focusing on the actions required not just the hope and the dream!
Adopt a growth mindset. My good friend always says he doesn’t like exercise. He’s just not sporty. This idea probably crept into his brain at a young age and he hung on tight, creating a ‘fixed mindset’ about his athletic ability. A fixed mindset views basic qualities like athleticism as fixed. You’re either athletic or you’re not. A fixed mindset views challenges and hurdles as reinforcing our own perceived inadequacies and limitations. With my friends' example, if you have a fixed mindset that you aren’t sporty, and you try to run a simple mile or kilometer and feel out of breath, it reinforces the view that you just aren’t sporty - a belief you were looking to reinforce anyways. Most of us are not great at everything we try the first time around but we often expect ourselves to be.
A growth mindset sees that abilities can be developed through dedication and effort. Setbacks and challenges are instead hurdles to overcome or great little life lessons rather than an end point. Sound overwhelming or too foo foo for you? A good place to start is just to add a simple word to your current fixed mindset mantra. For example, “I am not sporty yet”. And practice this phrase like a mantra. Practice a growth mindset and all is coming.
I hope you enjoyed my newsletter and feel motivated to get going on your New Years Intentions which, if practiced regularly, allow you to chip away at your big, beautiful life goals. Researchers have found that those who set positive goals are happier, healthier and more satisfied with their lives. Oddly, being happy isn’t easy. It’s a daily practice and most of us can use as many tools in our happiness toolbags as possible. Setting goals is one of those.
Have big beautiful health goals that may relate to your big, beautiful life goals? Drop me a line. My next 10 week health coaching session starts January 28!