The “headlight” method for achieving healthy change
Soon after beginning my health counseling work, I noticed that, for many women, setting goals and dreaming big (especially with health goals) was laced with feelings of inadequacy and doubt from past failures.
Every time that they pumped themselves up to reach a goal but didn’t succeed, a little part of them began to doubt their own ability to actual make positive changes. The disappointments left them feeling overwhelmed and defeated.
It’s like being caught between a rock and a hard place. We want to experience healthy, positive changes and set big goals and visions for our life, but feel afraid of repeating the same failed attempts and disappointment again, so we shrink down and temper our dreams.
In my experience, these three core issues need to be addressed in order for real success to happen when we set big, juicy, delicious goals for our life.
1. Dream big, but step small
Goals of major change must be paired with small, steady steps of action. It’s having both a macro and micro view of the course.
Photo by Rodger Price
Imagine you’re heading out for a long drive at night to get to a town a few states away. The first part of the process is knowing where you want to end up. It’s the piece of information you’ll use when you make every other decision along the journey.
But, like driving a car at night, it’s also imperative to focus on the road right before you, just a stretch long enough for the headlights to illuminate. That stretch is where the action is taking place and where your detailed plan should come in.
Destinations are like big dreams and goals — the stretch of road the headlight illuminates is where practical detailed plans of action need to take over. You need both to succeed.
2. Consult your head, body and heart
Our mind is where our willpower stems from, it rationally approaches change and decides the best route to get there.
The problem is that our brilliant body and wise heart have important information to share. If our plans to achieve our goals involve only our heads, but we don’t check in with our heart and body…we’ll be setting ourselves up for failure. Working against our nature never succeeds.
Here’s an example.
Our minds might tell us that it’s a good idea to restrict our fat intake and start a low fat diet in order to lose weight. But our body may have very different idea on how it needs to be nourished. If you try to work against your body’s natural needs, than before you know it, you’ll be hitting the bottom of a Ben and Jerry’s pint in the middle of the night.
Learning the language of your body is key to creating a plan that gets you where you want to be.
3. Let synergy take Its course
This is the final component of goal achieving that really works.
Photo by Fauxto Digit
It’s almost impossible to create a detailed plan to achieve major change in your life from start to finish.
And here is why.
As soon as one part of your life is lifted; it automatically lifts other areas. You can’t elevate one part of yourself without elevating all of who you are.
It is hard to predict all the ways positive change will impact your life.
Here is a simple, but powerful example from a women I worked with in the past.
When we began our coaching together, one of her small steps was to bring in more home-cooked healthy meals into her week. She had gotten into the pattern of ordering out most nights of the week and knew this was making her feel bloated and down.
Once she began learning skills to cook meals that tasted great and were streamlined to save time in the kitchen, she was eating home-cooked meals almost every night.
But the impact went far past that.
She reported that her creativity was being ignited as she experimented with cooking beautiful and delicious meals at night. Her finances (as well as the underlying stress she was feeling because of the financial strain) had improved. Finally, her relationship with her husband was deepening because of their quality time at dinner.
She was in a totally different place than she could have imagined, simply by taking one small step along the way. Making concrete plans too far in advance would have been a waste of time.
Allowing each small step to blossom fully, and then reassess before making your next small step capitalizes on the power of synergy and the interconnectedness of our lives.
P.S.: If you’re at a place where dreaming big for your health and well being brings up feelings of doubt, insecurity or overwhelm, I’d love for you to check out the Designed for Wellness course I’m teaching which begins this Saturday. There are only two days left to register.
The program takes you through a process where you are supported, encouraged, educated and led, step by step, toward knowing yourself and feeling your best by creating strategies for achieving your goals in a way that works with your life.}
Have you ever felt the hesitation of starting new goals because of fear of failure? What ways worked for you in the past for achieving major aspirations in your life?
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