By Kate Miller
Ah, February the month of amore, love, agape, ai, anpu, habb, grå, sneha, and yes, even more words to describe love is upon us.
February is the month right after January, and January is the month we swore to ourselves that this time we would see our goals through. We would finally lose the weight, read five books per month, pay our debts, or complete any other self-imposed goal on schedule, with no excuses this time!
January started full of passion and fire and promise – what could go wrong? However, it is now February. How do those self-imposed goals look now? How are you feeling about your accomplishments or … not. Trust me, I am naming no names and pointing no fingers.
In a recent conversation, the words self-compassion were used, and honestly, I stopped and struggled with the meaning. I know the definition of self-compassion and can list examples of self-compassion. What I could not do – was FEEL self-compassion. I knew instantly, I was disconnected from myself and asking how I could meet my personal goals for January if I was not connected to my “why”. The “why” being is this what my heart wants?
The art of achieving a goal is to be connected to the heart.
If our heart has no interest in the outcome, what good is the goal? For example, the desire to lose weight is so strong that nothing, barring an emergency, will stand in your way of finding a way to lose weight. There is no cost high enough; there is no gym shoe broken down enough; there is no too-early-in-the-morning or too-late-at-night-to-work-out excuses – your heart is simply content and connected. It is as if a part of you is missing when you are not striving towards your goal.
Let’s look at five key principles when setting a goal, and remember, get your heart involved, allow yourself compassion.
How attached are you – really – to the outcome? How bad do you want to succeed? What would change in your life if you succeeded? Try to attach yourself to those feelings of success (even before you have started) and see how you heart pulls you to start, keeps pulling you to succeed, and forecasts the joy you feel when you have completed.
Instead of saying, generically, I want to lose weight. Give yourself concrete numbers or reasons to work towards. For example:
- I want to lose 10 pounds.
- I want to look toned like Wonder Woman.
- I want to tighten my arms.
- I want to lose my belly.
Clarity around your goal will give you a narrow focus to aim for and improves your chances of success because it is clear, and your heart is not confused.
This can be a bit tricky, and keeping with the weight loss example (for more hazy or vague goals give me a call, we will figure it out). The objective of setting a goal is to be gentle with yourself. Start by setting a goal that will yield success and uses your current capabilities. The goal should stretch you just outside your comfort zone and yet is easy enough to achieve. The heart will not feel taxed, but excited to get started.
Your goal should include healthy, daily reminders of why you want to achieve something and a reasonable timeline. Many January goals fail because:
- The timeline is too short
- Not achievable given the demand of the goal
- Your heart is not invested in the goal
The most amazing thing happens when we achieve our goal. We feel good. And when we feel good people notice the spring in our step, the glitter in our eyes, and the joy we spread. However, before all the glory happens, there was major work, sweat, tears, long nights and early mornings.
Feedback as you are working through your goal is another key factor for success. Our hearts swell when we are noticed, complemented, adored, and congratulated on a job well done. Self-imposed compassion can include:
- Finding like-minded people
- Supportive family members and friends
- A life coach or counselor
Self-compassion. It is all about connecting with your personal “why” and taking heart-centered action steps. Make February your January and begin again, or pick up where you left off. Let you heart doing the leading, let your brain figure out how.