Why do you want to clean out your closet, eliminate junk food, earn more money, go on a vacation, or improve your relationships?
You may have very specific answers to the above questions. If you go deeper with more “why” questions, it’s likely a deeper reason is because you think achieving the goal will make you happy and feel good about yourself.
Most of us can agree on the benefits of a streamlined wardrobe, eating healthy food, being rewarded at work, exploring a city we’ve been wanting to visit, and enjoying our loved ones more. The issue is, how are you showing up for yourself and the process while aiming for these goals?
The answer to that question is related to how happy you’ll be when you achieve the goal.
Start with your present circumstances and how you’re talking to yourself. Are you judging yourself with thoughts like “I buy too many clothes,” “my eating habits are terrible,” “I’m not good at managing money,” “other people get to go on more vacations than me,” and “I’m not a fun person?”
If so, how does it feel when you talk to yourself like that? Like punishment, right? No wonder you can’t wait to reach your goal so you can stop feeling badly about yourself! But if the negative self talk carries on the whole way to the goal, guess what? You’ll achieve the goal but not have learned how to be kind to yourself – and you’ll be less likely to enjoy what you’ve achieved.
The first step is to notice if you’re chasing a goal as a way to feel better about yourself and escape self-judgement. It’s important to see that the goal itself can’t make you feel good.
The good news is that YOU can make yourself feel better about yourself starting right now and all the way to your goal by thinking more neutral, less personal thoughts that are more helpful.
Examples of helpful thoughts are “I like to have only what I love and use,” “it feels good to eat mindfully,” “I value my professional contributions,” “A local weekend away can feel rejuvenating,” and “I will seek out people I enjoy.”
These thoughts take the pressure off you, allow you to see the bigger picture, and make it more likely you’ll discover a step you can take to get closer to your goal.
From this more neutral place, there is less drama and more action. Yes, taking action can be hard. But we can do hard things especially when we believe the long term goal is worth the temporary discomfort it costs to get there. Supporting ourselves and having our own back, even when we stumble along the way, makes us more likely to be happy and feel good about ourselves.
Continued action towards your goal leads to results. You’ll learn what works and what doesn’t – and it’s a given your journey will include some struggles. Don’t give up! Tolerating failure and celebrating wins strengthens your belief in yourself and the process making you more likely to be successful.
When you achieve goals in a way that honors you and the process, by the time you reach your goal, you’ll realize you’ve already reaped many rewards: the achievement simply sweetens the prize.
If you’d like to explore how life coaching can help you reach your goals and experience more fulfillment along the way, I invite you to book a complimentary discovery session – trust me, magic can happen!