It may surprise you that what gets in the way of you going after your goal is just as important as the goal itself.
A recent article in Yoga Journal is about achieving goals. It introduces two simple steps that I'd like to elaborate on.
- Commit to a goal or practice.
- Remove obstacles in the way.
First, a goal can be anything you want: starting your own business, improving relationships, eating well, exercising regularly...
Start off by stating clearly what you want in as simple terms as possible. Consider finishing this short phrase: "I want ___." No lists. One thing.
If your goal is clear, seeing the obstacles in your way should be too.
Obstacles range from the tangible—junk food or a toxic friend—to the intangible, like how you treat yourself.
If you are your own worst critic, how will you ever let yourself achieve the career you desire, or let yourself enjoy it?
The Yoga Journal article (Kate Holcombe, November 2011) states that the more you commit, the easier it is to move obstacles out of the way. In fact, it may not feel like a challenge at all.
Also true is that committing to a goal isn't often a one-time deal. You may need to re-commit regularly, even several times a day.
Let's apply these steps. I don't know about you, but I have meltdowns during the holidays. It would be nice to avoid them. So...
#1 is easy. I want to enjoy the holidays.
The list of obstacles for #2 is pretty lengthy, and might sound familiar.
I can tell you from my Thanksgiving last week that skipping meals, eating sweets more than once a day (pumpkin pie for breakfast, anyone?), and over-scheduling send me into a tailspin.
Most of the time I argue with my family or feel lightheaded throughout the day. Both leave me tired, unable to sleep properly...and the downward tumble of more bad choices and meltdowns follows.
You can see the ying-yang scenario before me. To enjoy the holidays, I have to keep my eye on the goal and simultaneously remove obstacles that stand in the way from it happening.
That doesn't mean focusing on the obstacles, like obsessing about my less-than-stellar performance at the family trip to Applebee's this year.
It means seeing them and moving them out of the way, keeping your eyes focused ahead of you the whole time.
When I go home next, I'll buy healthy snacks when I first arrive. I'll schedule downtime before bed every night, solitary, quiet time to relax from the day.
The sweets? Well that's going to need re-commitment every time I go to the pantry. Chocolate bars? No. Raisins and almonds? Yes.
And above it all, I will repeat this mantra: I want to enjoy the holidays.
What's your goal? What obstacles will you move out of the way?