We have a sense deep inside that we are capable of more. It can feel exciting and overwhelming. And the truth is, we will never in this lifetime reach our full capacity. So there’s always a gap between our current abilities, or where we see room for improvement, there will always be a gap.
So how do we bridge that gap in a way that feels fun instead of futile, like you’re endlessly chasing a moving target?
We will only know how by choosing to take the next step we see in front of us, by choosing to engage, trying new things and setting bigger goals and believing that growth can be fun.
So you may not even know what I’m talking about with personal growth actually being fun, if you’re anything like I was, I want to say, back in my twenties. I remember being in the thick of my music degree, there was a semester when my music scholarship was hanging by a thread, and I was NOT enjoying my growth goals. All I could see in front of me was the gap. And I was operating in overwhelm at that time in my life.
What I didn’t realize then, that I know now, is that I could switch from being outcome focused in my music goals, from being results focused, to being more process focused, to being more present in the little steps along the way.
So this is really about what I call Becoming. Who are you becoming along the way as you grow? Setting goals is about the growth along the way, not necessarily the outcome of the checkbox.
It’s about, yes, crafting an end result that you want, but focusing more on who you are becoming as you grow into the end result. Let me explain what I mean here.
We have options in how we grow. We can either:
Suffering is: gritting my teeth, being hard on myself, feeling terrible because I don’t like the person I currently am now. I call this suffering because it is the hardest thing to feel, it is the number one reason most of us shut down our growth potential. Many of us don’t know any better. It hasn’t been modeled for us what it can look like to enjoy growth along the way.
I like to plan out how I want to talk to myself, because it will create better fuel for my actions, for my goals. This is the heart of the Motivation Action Plan.
So, when I map out how I intend to talk to myself,
The actions change from
A - harsh self-talk, don’t plan food because it’s not easy or fun, hide from myself, don’t track Macros, don’t meal plan, avoid working out,
A - more neutral self-talk, planning a few meals each day but leaving room for spontaneity and variety, looking myself in the eye, tracking my Macros so I know the math, meal plan what I enjoy eating, planning ways to move my body that I enjoy - like taking my Golden Retrievers for hikes in the mountains, or a restorative yoga session.
The Motivation Action Plan becomes more fun and inviting, something I look forward to exploring, versus shutting down.
The brain gets to work and starts to create mental pictures of yourself taking the actions you talk yourself through. It’s a powerful way to shift your thinking!
When you set goals, focus on how you want to feel to fuel your actions, and who you are becoming along the way.
This means we have to pay attention to how we are feeling, the emotions that are fueling the goal.
When you can pursue your goals with expansive, feel good emotions as fuel, your goals will have soul, they will have heart, they won’t feel hollow.
So let’s talk about goals with heart and what I mean by that.
Another word for Goal is Desire. Behind every desire there is a feeling we are chasing. And your feelings will lead you to your heart’s desire. I’m not talking about hedonistic desire - the kind that changes every hour and is based on mood, but the desires that are from within, the kind that is a longing or a yearning from deep inside.
I know we do a lot of Thought Work here in Dare Greatly, but I don’t know that we can always make sense of our feelings cognitively. Do we locate emotions in our heads? I don’t think so. I think we locate them in our bodies. And the feelings we want to fuel our goals are going to need to come from the heart, the fourth Chakra, feelings like: love, joy, enthusiasm, confidence, tenderness, connection, capability, possibility, and even some growth pains like letting go, some good grief, sadness, anger, too.
Think of the phrases we use to explain how we feel when it’s connected to the heart:
My heart leapt for joy, my heart sank, I just knew in my heart and I didn’t know why I knew, my chest swelled with pride, my heart grew a thousand meters, I knew it in my heart like I’ve never known anything before, she did it wholeheartedly no holds barred, my heart was in it 100%,
So let’s talk about ways to tap into connecting to your heart energy: Know the meaningful why behind the goal:
Are you doing it just to approve of yourself more? Or maybe to people please? To make money? Because of what so and so thinks? Your mom? Your professor? Your boss? To get the respect from the people who don’t really matter anyway?
How we say our goals to ourselves, matters.
And so get as clear as you can to know the meaningful why behind your goal.
Anchor yourself into the most truthful, most meaningful reason you’ve set out to accomplish the particular thing in question.
What’s your meaningful why behind the goal?
Become acutely aware of your inner hunger.
Your answer to this one will get you laser focused on the feelings you want to drive your actions. Are you more ready than ever to feel freedom, or to experience your strength, or to transform something dark into something full of light and more beautiful? Were you born to do this? Has your time come? Are you frustrated and angry in the best kind of way? Are you done taking crap, playing small, taking second fiddle, letting someone else dictate how you spend your time?
You’ve got to be hungry. You’ve got to want it. When I used to do strategy work with other singer/songwriters, I noticed that musicians who weren’t hungry to share their songs or who considered their music to be more of a hobby than a necessity, tended to act more hesitantly, more slowly than the ones who felt like they’d been summoned by the holy spirit to share their message and their unique purpose. I personally need to do music as a creative outlet for my overall happiness and mental health. Without music, I wonder if I’d become a menace to society.
We want to honor the big dream from your heart: “I’m going to create a highly useful something-or-other, because the world needs it.” Great! Then your useful brain will kick in and ask, “so how are you going to do that, really?”
“By such and such date, we’re going to accomplish the highly useful thing.”
And so you apply realism to the specific execution and a timeline, versus the size and scope of the thing.
Do you see the difference?
Taking an honest look at the hard part of goal pursuits can feed your energy and help you keep your focus sharp and your spirit strong.
Now, the last gem I want to leave you with is this.
Set your expectations of how it’s going to go along the way, aside, and open up to possibility. Open wide to what you want and adopt sincerity as your guide. Let your desires be fuel, but release the graspy grip on the future of how it’s going to go, and be present in the here and now.
But expectations? Not so much. Ease up on those. They shrink your sense of possibility and will weigh you down with worry along the way.
Free yourself from how it’s going to go.
Have faith that your heart will support you and show you the way.
Trust that you’ll get there as you learn to fully embrace where you are, now.
Open up to how it will unfold.
The Universe will back you up when you listen to your heart.
You have a good heart.
Let your heart guide you in your goals.
I want you to keep this question in your heart for all time:
That’s the heart of all of this.
In this mini course, I'll take you through the Emotion Coaching framework that is a gamechanger for cultivating more peace. Plus you'll discover how to shift the 'frustration habit' and parent from a place of trusting yourself more.
In this free mini course, I'll take you through the Emotion Coaching framework I've taught hundreds of moms and dads for cultivating more peace. Plus you'll discover how to shift the 'frustration habit' and parent from a place of trusting yourself more.