I know this sounds corny,( I can’t help it), but starting 2020 will be the year of clarity for me and hopefully for those I reach. The new year, of course, is a time for resolutions, and goal setting which, as a life coach, is the fuel and almost a religion.
Much of what I see in treating folks with migraines or IBS is this sense of feeling stuck. It gets hard to set goals when your body feels bad much of the time. It is hard to have clarity in your life when you are in pain, or distracted by your bodily needs. But there are steps that anyone can take to get some clarity in their lives, even when you are not feeling well.
The first step in changing anything in our lives is the decision to take the first step. An amazing point that I learned from the brilliant Kara Loewentheil, J.D., Master Certified Life Coach, is that To get from zero to 1 is a much more infinite step than getting from steps 1 to 2. Our brains prefer doing nothing. Our brains prefer to just take it easy and re-run the same patterns over and over again. We are built for efficiency, not growth. This is why it is so hard to change our habits and behaviors.
So what is your goal? It is February already so I bet at least half of you were good on your diet or learning Spanish, or whatever it was and it just fell off. You actually DID take that first step and then stopped! What happened? Was there a conversation in your head with excuses or the “well, it wasn’t that important anyway”?
Listen, I am as guilty as anyone in setting goals and not following through. I have an advantage this year. I have learned how to leverage my brain to make it work better for me. This leverage is the simple solution that adjusting my thoughts will get me to a different emotion and lead me to a different action. Trust me, if I can do this anyone can. I am a master procrastinator. I am a busy woman, but I also have a human brain that would most definitely want to take a nap rather than be writing this blog right now. What is different about me in 2020 is that I learned that being uncomfortable and doing things anyway is the path to leading the life I want. So now this simple thought “I am willing to do things that are uncomfortable to get what I want in life” is what I am putting into practice.
Steps to following through on your goals:
- Do NOT put a moral judgment on yourself for the past, present or future. For example, I did not go to the gym for 2 years ( and I am not exaggerating here, my local gym had changed management 1 year ago and I had no idea until I recently went back and did not recognize anyone). I can totally feel super embarrassed about this, avoid the gym even further, and think to myself “ I am a total lazy loser” or the sneaky thought “Well, exercise is not that important to me” or I can think “Those 2 years of my little gym break, so what? That 2-year break has nothing to do with what I plan to do today and tomorrow”. I have learned to have grace for myself and to laugh at myself a little bit. There are actually no exercise police in the sky that are counting and putting you in the book of shame, and even Buffy, the gym manager, does not really care about my hiatus. So if Buffy doesn’t care, and I am the only one who cares, then I can just change my thoughts, care about myself, and move on.
- Come up with a compelling “Why” Your compelling “why” does not need to be some grand selfless reason but it should be something that will keep you motivated, even when your brain would totally rather take a nap. If your “why” is to look good in a bathing suit then own that reason. It doesn’t have to be “So I will be here for my kids and grandkids in the future”, but if that is your true compelling “why” then great!
my compelling “why” is that I really like how I feel when I have stronger muscles and better cardiac stamina, and… I like looking good… being honest here.
- Create and practice thoughts that will counteract our lazy primitive brains. I created an alternative thought that will get me out of bed. The new thought will be “I am practicing how to do uncomfortable things in my life” This is NOT a natural thought for me. I am going to have to practice the thought. I am going to put it on my phone, write it on a sticky next to my bed, paste it on my computer, and practice saying this to myself multiple times per day. It sounds silly and it is a little silly at first, but practicing a thought until I believe it… if it is leading me to a stronger body and leading me to be the kind of person that keeps her word to herself… then that my friends, is not silly at all. So when 5 am rolls around and I am cozy in bed and think, “I really do not want to get out of bed this morning to go to the gym” I am going to turn to “I am about to do an uncomfortable thing. I am learning to do uncomfortable things as a path to reach my goals”
Happy February. Feel free to share below what your goals are and what your brain is protesting.