I will tell you now this is not going to be your typical S.M.A.R.T goal setting guide. Speaking from my lived experience as a not-so-goal-oriented person, I want to speak to those of you, like me, that don’t thrive in mainstream goal-setting frameworks.

Setting goals and failing or setting the same goals year after year has got to be the most detrimental thing to our self-esteem, motivation, and overall will to strive for better. Setting goals from a place of self-hatred and shame may be the root of the continued failure. If you have had enough of the constant cycle of either wanting to smaller, planning on starting a routine to be smaller, or feeling shame that you are not small or trying to become smaller, keep reading.

A conversation with your higher self

First, let’s start by spending some time with pen to paper. In your journal, on a chalkboard or a scrap piece of paper, ask yourself “How does my highest self feel?.” jot down all the words, scenarios, and feelings that come to mind. Avoid judgment as well as basing your list on someone else’s opinion, life or body. This is about standing proud in YOUR skin and moving into a lane all your own where all that matters is how you think and feel about yourself! 

We are no longer looking outside of ourselves to find what will make us feel free, happy, and good about ourselves. Instead, take that power to focus on what you know is right for you at your core. 

Plan from the present moment

Another common self-defeating practice is longing for a past version of yourself. Wanting to be the weight you were at 16 or hanging on to clothing that has not fit in 5+ years as “motivation.” Has this ever actually made you feel motivated? 

It’s easy to forget that even the person you look back on in photos that you used to be still had the same problems and was probably still wishing to be smaller. The problem is not you, it is our society and culture.

By starting with the first tip, you are brought into the moment. How do I want to feel, think, be? From here we evolve into who we are instead of attempting to revert back to something we used to be that the mind tells us was somehow better. 

Move your body 

The body needs movement at so many levels. It is vital for our heart, muscular system, circulation, emotional energy release… The list goes on. For some, even with those facts, will feel repelled by the idea of breaking a sweat. Let me ask you this, have you ever started an exercise routine that was not rooted in shame? Have you mentally or verbally said, “Wow I am fat I need to go to the gym”?

In our new framework, we do only what makes us feel how our highest self wants us to feel which is probably happy, energized, confident or something along those lines. So let’s find joy in this journey and explore different ways of moving the body until you find what LIGHTS YOU UP!

Some ideas:

  • Dancing
  • Yoga
  • Walking
  • Lifting Weights 
  • Hiking

Remember, this is not about anybody else. If so and so swears by HIIT workouts but you tried and felt awful the rest of the day, move on to something new until you find the right fit. Being that we are a yoga and fusion studio, we know and share the benefits of mindful movement. These more connected ways of moving the body or “exercising”, challenge the mainstream fitness ideologies. Moving your body out of love for yourself is going to be a game changer. If you have been forcing yourself into routines you hate, you will feel liberated by doing only what makes you feel good not what society says is sufficient for calorie burn. You can take a look at what we offer here!

When it comes to food enhance don’t restrict

“ I need to lose weight to wear shorts this summer. I need to stop eating pasta, no more sweets and I’ll skip meals where I can.” 

If you heard a child say this, how would that feel? Would you say “right on! That will get you where you want to be!” Probably not, yet this is the internal dialogue of many as the sun starts to return in Spring. 

Your highest self wants you to feel good and enjoy your life. One of the greatest joys in life is a delicious meal. Try to detach from assigning foods as good or bad and focus more on balance. Adding ingredients to your daily meals that will fuel you like plants and whole grains. These healthy foods will fuel your body and make you feel vibrant. What else makes us feel good? Eating a brownie when we want a brownie!!

When you tell yourself eating a certain food makes you “bad” and you can’t have it, your body has a stress response. This chain of events triggers the fear of scarcity and your body responds as if you’re at risk of starving which will lead you to binge or eventually falling out of the habits because you feel constantly deprived.

Practice listening to your body. When you want a brownie, have a brownie and stay present for your body’s signal that you are satisfied and put the rest away for another time! This is a practice. Be kind to yourself. This is a key to permanent change and moving on from these goals once and for all.

In conclusion, make your journey about you. Focus on what you love about yourself as much as you fawn over Instagram influencers and celebrities. You will be much happier embodying your highest self than you ever would trying to fit in a box someone else made for you. There is no failure here, just forward movement. Starting each day with love for yourself and allowing that to drive all of your choices. YOU GOT THIS!

~Namaste – Ashly @sweetserenityyoga