When it comes to living our purpose in life, one thing’s become pretty apparent:
While setting big dreams and goals can come easily, actually making things happen for yourself doesn’t.
In fact, it’s the hardest piece of the puzzle and one I struggled with for years. I’m talking about five years of literally just spinning my wheels. Every single year I’d declare, “this is the year I’ll finally make things happen!” Only to end up watching another year move by where I stayed stuck in every area of my life.
I’m happy to say that I’ve learned some essential steps over the years that help completely eliminate all obstacles, allow you to start moving forward with ease, and prevent you from throwing in the towel at any point during the journey.
It’s smooth sailing from here!
Here are ten things you can focus on right now:
1. Create Priorities in Your Life
What comes up for most people that leads to throwing in the towel is focusing on every area of your life and goal all at once. If you focus on every area at once, you’ll quickly feel overwhelmed and likely won’t accomplish very much at all. By focusing on the most important areas for you first, you’ll be able to generate momentum, get excited, and create the space down the road to begin focusing on more things. Out of all the areas in your life (including health, finances, relationships, work, etc), you should only have two to three priorities at any time.
To start, choose the areas that are fundamental for your health, well-being, and happiness, and have the largest influence on every other aspect of your life.
2. Create Priorities Between Your Goals
Once you have your priority areas, start by listing out everything you think you need to do, be, or have in order to be the happiest you can be in each. From here, look back through your lists and see which items are truly necessary for your happiness and well-being. This is about weeding out items that are superficial and less important so you can see what really needs to happen to create more joy.
Additionally, it’s vital to look through your lists and determine which items you really need and desire vs. which items you feel you should want. Items you feel you “should” want include things you believe you need because someone else in your life (or in society) told you it’s important, but not because it’s really, truly a need or burning desire in your life. Highlight the items that really matter.
3. Create Goals That Propel You Forward
When I say “propel you forward,” I’m not talking about setting huge, impossible to reach, stressful goals. It’s about creating goals with meaning and focus. You already know what life areas need the most improvement first, and what needs to happen within those areas to feel happier and more fulfilled. Now it’s time to set goals that matter and ones that will make you feel alive and amazing when you reach them.
So what’s the difference between a regular goal and goal that propels?
Goals that propel are specific in what and by when, and they’re exciting! They tie into the life that you’re looking to build for yourself, not just the “idea” of what sounds nice or the mundane things you feel you need to do. When you achieve goals that propel you forward you feel amazing and have accomplished so much more than you realized in the process. Examples would be “running a marathon” vs. “drinking more water” and “losing 10lbs.” A marathon is more expansive!
4. Set Small, Incremental Goals
First, it’s important to make your small, incremental goals realistic ones.
You want to make sure that the time frame for reaching them is doable for you and your lifestyle. If you have a family, a full-time job, other commitments or all of the above, it might not be realistic to plan on becoming a yoga teacher, going to grad school, and running a half marathon in the spring.
What you’ll do is take one goal at a time and work backwards from the end date or event to create smaller targets. You can find calculators online for some things, but you want to look at your life and personal schedule when setting these targets. Don’t set unreasonable targets! Start with five major milestones and work backwards until you have things small enough that you could do them today.
5. Assess Your Success
Depending on the goals you’ve set, you’ll want to schedule assessment dates with yourself. Pick the day and timeframe and set it on your calendar. Honor this appointment just as you would any other scheduled appointment.
When your assessment date rolls around, you’re going to sit down and take stock of how things are going. How you’re feeling, what you’ve accomplished, and what’s gone well/poorly. Consider this a mini-audit of your goals and the energy you’ve put toward them. This is critical. You need to know exactly how much energy you’ve honestly put towards your goals and how exactly things are feeling if you want to ensure you hit your targets and build the life you desire.
6. Expand the Goals That Work
Expanding your goals is all about taking something that’s working and building upon it so you can continue to grow and move yourself forward.
Say your goal is to become a yoga instructor and the first mini-goal was to do 20 min of yoga every day. If that’s been a walk in the park for you, how can you expand on that goal so you’re continuing to push yourself while moving towards your target at a pace that works? This isn’t about overcommitting or setting yourself up for burnout. If 20 minutes a day is really all you have time for, leave it as is and maybe look at where you can sprinkle more yoga practice in throughout the week.
7. Eliminate Those That Don’t
Now, let’s say that 20min of yoga just doesn’t work for you every day. It cuts too much into your before-work routine, which causes you to be late for work and experience tension with your boss. No good! It’s eliminated.
The key to eliminating a small goal and continuing to reach your big goal is to replace it with something that does work. Maybe there is a yoga class you can take after work once or twice a week? Maybe you can create space on your weekends to spend more time on the mat then vs every single day of the week?
8. Perceived Obstacles
Perceived obstacles are manufactured in our heads and are also known as stories and limiting beliefs. These are ideas or obstacles we truly believe block our way even though you can overcome or work around them. “I have to go back to school and get a degree… I’m too old to switch careers… I have no idea how to start a business… I don’t have enough money… I don’t have enough time…” etc.
While these can definitely present challenges, they’re not impossible to overcome. The way to move through perceived obstacles is to create at least three positive alternatives that are the opposite of your perceived obstacle (or story/limiting belief). For example “I’m too old” can become “I’m the perfect age to achieve all that I want, age is just a number and nothing more, I have all the wisdom necessary to make things happen.” Create an alternative story that you can feel your way into and has truth, not just a shiny, positive, but false affirmation.
9. Real Roadblocks
Real roadblocks are the unexpected bumps in the road, such as severely spraining your ankle while training, having your business permit delayed, your computer crashing, etc. These are real tangible blocks. They are not, however, reasons to quit or give up on your dreams! Just like perceived obstacles, roadblocks are simply small bumps in the road, which help navigate you into new, and often improved, ways of thinking or doing things. List out five alternatives for achieving this goal despite the roadblock, and get creative.
While similar to perceived obstacles, reasons go more like, “I try to eat healthy but my family likes fast food so I can’t seem to lose the weight.” Or, “I tried to train regularly but it just kept raining so much.” These aren’t actually good reasons, they’re excuses, nothing more. Just because your family likes fast food doesn’t mean you have to eat it. Similarly, rain is no excuse to not run when there are gyms and treadmills or even hoodies. Start by listing out all the reasons you have for not being able to achieve your goals, then throw that list away and come up with three alternatives for each excuse and get back to work!
If you want it, commit to making it happen.
Things will always come up, living our purpose isn’t always easy, and making the impossible happen takes work.
There have been plenty of times I’ve wanted to throw in the towel.
And there are times that I’ve made big, sweeping changes and cuts in my life and business, but I’ve never quit. I’ve rested, taken breaks, and adjusted things as needed, but I always recommit to making what I want happen.
Because I want it. I want to live fully expressed and do the work I’m here to do. I want to live my purpose in this one short life I have.
Everyone who’s achieved something worthwhile has wanted to quit.
The critical thing to note is that they didn’t.
And if this resonated, consider one of our programs to support you.