Prior to a few months ago, I never would have thought that an activity like yoga could help me to make important life changes. Yet just a few months ago, I began turning to yoga for not just a workout, – but as a way to minimize one of the more stressful times during my doctorate degree (preparing for my comprehensive exams!).
While yoga was in no way new to me, I suddenly felt that I was ready for a regular yoga routine, which turned out to be about three yoga sessions per week. In fact, this new routine was not difficult to commit to because after just a few yoga sessions I began to crave my yoga practice. I began to experience several benefits right away. First, I noticed that my internal reactions to stress, while quite normal in intensity, diminished vastly. It was like a loosening of a grip, or a process of being able to let go of any worries, trepidations, or over-attachments to my thoughts. It was not that I suddenly took my work less seriously, but I just lost the hasty reaction of allowing my mind to dig deeper into any negative thoughts.
A second basic benefit was that yoga presented me with a tangible time and place to go to when I was feeling crabby about my work or when I felt that sense of numbing boredom that would sometimes arise from working too much, on too many things. Doing a yoga practice allowed me to turn inward, a process that for me, doesn’t happen in any of my other vigorous workouts. If this turning inward process does occur, it is to a much smaller extent. Rather than being focused on my external world, regular yoga enabled me to withdraw, detach, and to focus on a calming place within that brought me a sense of equanimity. Some people had suggested to me that my “benefits” were due to exercise I was already doing at the time. However, I have spent a lifetime being a gym junkie, regular jogger and swimmer. I was already reaping the benefits of good str ess management from doing regular workouts of jogging, biking, and fitness classes 4-5 times a week. My new yoga routine however, presented me with an entirely new set of psychological benefits in addition to my regular fitness routines.
A third way yoga has been helpful to me is that it enabled me to become more intentional. My lifelong intention has always been to exercise first thing in the morning. Prior to my regular yoga practices, for the past several years, I’d intend on doing morning or early morning workouts, but either felt guilty for putting them before my work, or I would simply not have the motivation or energy upon waking to get up and exercise, first thing. Thus, I would usually exercise late afternoon or evening. The strange thing about the yoga was that suddenly, I was able to rise in the mornings, and somehow have the energy, or intentionality to follow through with exercising before my workday. While this might sound like a minor or trivial issue, it was a very pleasant surprise and addition to my lifestyle.
A fourth benefit I experienced was a delightful shock. For many years I would talk about my desire to quit my addiction to coffee. I love coffee! However, I noticed over the years, tiny and subtle ways that I was becoming sensitive to my one, and sometimes two cups of daily coffee. I even read an entire book on the topic several years ago, but I think at some level I didn’t believe I could actually quit, or I believed that it would be too hard. Then, over the course of a few mornings, after my favourite cup of homemade coffee, I noticed that my head would hurt, I would become very fatigued, and feel unwell. After a few days of this new awareness, one morning I spontaneously told myself that I was done with coffee. I was miraculously detached and withdrawn from my usual love affair with coffee. I was flabbergasted at how easy it was to suddenly not need, or want, my usual cup of coffee. It felt a bit like magic, but I’m telling you, this was no joke! I attribute it to my yoga practice and the corresponding self-awareness, intentionality and energy that I gained from the practice. More than ever I became very in tune with the negative effects that coffee was having on me.
These are just a few of the ways in which yoga has helped me to achieve my goals and to make important life changes. The list of benefits is growing and soon I hope to share even more about my journey with yoga! I’m interested in hearing more about your own experiences with yoga and how it’s helped you to make changes in your life! Please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Goal setting dangers can really make it feel like goals can do more harm than good. Of course, anything healthy can do more harm than good if not utilized in the right manner. For example, food is good for the body unless we choose the wrong kinds. Exercise is good for us mentally and physically unless we happen to injure ourselves during exercise.
The bottom line is that it is important to be aware of the potential goal setting dangers, and this way you can help prevent them from causing harm instead of good.
- The “Now What” Syndrome – If you quickly find yourself feeling lost or confused after you accomplish your goals, you may suffer from “Now What” Syndrome. Make sure you have the next goal already in mind or quickly add the next one to prevent this from happening.
- Expecting the World Overnight – It’s great to be driven and motivated. Goal setting can often cause someone to feel super anxious and ready to succeed—right then and there. The thing to keep in mind is that even your “overnight success” stories probably invested a great deal of time and effort up until that point to gain that “sudden” success.
- Understand Resistance – One of the most common goal setting dangers is meeting your own mental resistance. There may come a time when you mentally “freak out” and wonder why you chose this and convince yourself it can’t be done. Learn the difference between a moment of needing to alter your goals, giving them up completely, or staying completely on course and working through it.
When you get my book, you will begin to find more of these goal setting dangers and how to prevent them from taking you off the course for your destiny.
There’s so much information out there in relation to “goal setting,” yet few people even really make it a goal to sit down and read this important data. If you are finally serious about learning more about goal setting steps, then make it a point to make your first task reading some of the important information about it such as this article.
Right away, you will probably realize that getting motivated to set goals can be the most difficult obstacle to overcome. Writing down your goal setting steps can actually help you to get more motivated to set more goals and start accomplishing them.
The reason for this is that committing even that first goal setting step to paper makes it begin to feel possible and real. Suddenly this isn’t just a crazy idea in your head but a real possibility for achieving your life dreams and following your passion. So, what if you really are just stuck at the getting started and lacking the motivation?
Steps to Try
If you’re reading this then you obviously want to try to get motivated to set goals and find your real life purpose. That can sound exciting but also a little overwhelming and even intimidating. So consider right now trying these steps:
- Decide whether you would rather write out your goal setting steps on paper, a word document on your laptop or even a notepad on your electronic tablet – whatever works best for you.
- If you really have trouble thinking of goal setting steps, start by jotting down rough ideas of little details you need to accomplish.
- Break big goals down into small manageable steps so it feels less daunting.
- Make it a point to read more material that will help. Check out my book, “How Smart Women Achieve Big Goals: Motivation To Focus And Follow Through With Your Life Dreams.” It is filled with valuable information and can give you that nudge to you need to move ahead with your goals.
You’ve heard it time and time again – write down your goals as it will increase the chances of you achieving those goals. Some state that they can keep their goals in their head. However, there is research that shows that when you write your goals down and post them in visible places to remind yourself of those goals, you will be more able to achieve those goals.
The reality is that we only have a limited amount of energy and attention to direct toward our goals. Evolutionary speaking, our brain is designed to conserve energy. We’re either focusing on:
- Dealing with threats in our environment and learning how to put out fires, or
- Focusing on ways to master our environment and work toward higher order goals that are important to our well-being.
Obviously with goal achievement, we are more interested in the latter, – learning how to master our environment by achieving our goals, because it brings us pleasure, rewards, life satisfaction and of course some degree of security as well.
A key factor that prevents us from staying focused on our goals, and achieving those goals is that it’s hard to direct our attention on those goals all the time or often enough. There are so many distractions and demands in our everyday life, that it seems almost impossible to stay focused at times. Our RAS helps make this process of paying attention and being focused a little bit easier.
Specifically, research in goal setting and motivation states that our arousal systems help us focus on our goals. The reason we have arousal systems to begin with is that evolution has hard wired us to conserve energy, and we are only meant to be aroused when we have a concrete reason – protecting our safety in some fashion or increasing our resources in some way.
Our brain only gets super focused if and when it needs to, otherwise, just like a computer, one could argue that it goes to sleep and does the minimal amount of work needed. When a person has no clear goals, doesn’t write their goals down and doesn’t have plans to achieve those goals, their level of goal arousal, passion and overall enthusiasm is low. As a result, they do not recognize or identify the people, opportunities, situations or resources that could be helpful to them.
How do we increase our levels of arousal to help us achieve our goals? By learning how to activate your reticular activating system (RAS) which is part of your cortical arousal system, you can increase your chances of being much more efficient with your goals.
So what role does writing our goals down play in helping us to achieve our goals? By writing down your goals and your plans for achieving your goals, you learn to focus your attention on what really matters. Doing so gets your reticular activation system aroused and working in your favour.
How does this work? When you write down your goals, you make a point of being specific with a direction that is important for you to move in. You pinpoint specific destinations that you want to move toward, and the specific steps that you need to take to get there.
As you get in touch with what is exciting and rewarding to you, you increase your levels of arousal, and become crystal clear about what matters. As you are doing this, your reticular activating system in your cortex is aroused and promotes you being ready and alert to respond to cues in the environment that are relevant to your goals. When the RAS is activated, we can process and reorganize information much more efficiently in ways that support our achievement of goals.
A classic yet simplified example of your RAS working would be when you identify an article of clothing that you would like to purchase. You try on a beautiful blouse and you write down the size, brand, colour and store where you found it. In the meantime, as you are waiting for it to go on sale, you see other people wearing that blouse because now you are primed to spot it! You’ll also recognize similar types of blouses perhaps by other designers. Your brain is automatically aroused when it notices this blouse because you have indicated that it is something important to you. The same thing happens when you identify a new car that you want to buy. You begin to notice that car everywhere, because you’ve signaled the importance of this car to your brain.
To learn strategies and tips on the how to activate your RAS to support your goal setting and achievement efforts, read these tips on visualization!
Do you have a long list of dreams and goals that you hope to achieve one day?
Most ambitious women do, however I can bet you that a lot of women haven’t taken the time to prioritize their dreams and goals in such a way that they can truly become focused and productive. This is not an easy task and it requires a lot of reflection.
Here are 4 Reasons to Prioritize your Dreams and Goals
1. Limited Time: Everyone has a limited amount of time during the day. We can’t create or add more time into our day but we can prioritize the ways in which we spend our time.
The reality is that many women are working eight hours at their day job while trying to pursue some of their career goals and personal projects on the side.
This isn’t an easy task when you consider all the demands we have on our schedules such as our children and their activities, exercising, working over-time, relaxing, spending time with friends and family, and so on.
With limited time, don’t you want to be certain that you are focused on the right goals, – the ones that will bring you the most pleasure, happiness and success?
2. Big goals = big efforts! For women who have really big goals and dreams they can’t waste time diddling and dawdling around. They need to be focused.
Working toward the attainment of big goals usually requires specific expertise which often times means hiring consultants and/or a team of people to help you realize your dreams.
In some cases a lot of research, reading and specific education is required. If your efforts are scattered on achieving several completely unrelated big goals all at once, then chances are you aren’t taking enough action steps to move quickly enough toward any of those goals. As a result you will probably lose motivation, momentum and confidence.
3. Great Achievements Require Knowing Your Strengths: Another reason to prioritize your goals and dreams is so that you can ensure you are choosing goals that are aligned with your strengths.
If something is your strength then it means you are passionate about something and skilled at it. You need passion and skill to be successful at achieving a goal.
When a woman knows what her strengths are, she is going to be much more confident and enthusiastic about pursuing her dreams because she knows that the odds of success are that much more in her favour to achieve something extraordinary.
4. Do you Love it Enough to Risk a Lot? Achieving a big life dream is going to require that you be open to seizing opportunities as they present themselves to you.
This requires that you be open to taking big risks and experimenting with actions that can often be scary for women as they enter the terra incognita with their dreams.
You’ll be presented with many opportunities which bring with them a financial cost, an investment of time, energy, resources and support of other people around you.
When you are crystal clear on the fact that this dream is worth it to you, then you’ll be much more likely to take the necessary risks that are needed such as: investing your own money into an opportunity, hiring a consultant, coach, researcher, employee or whatever it is that you need to invest your money, time and energy into.
In addition, if your big goals are career related, and if you are wanting to turn your dreams and goals into something entrepreneurial or infopreneurial, you will be faced with the tasks of opening a company, creating a website, developing a logo, printing business cards, finding a niche and so much more – all things that require time, energy and come with a cost sooner or later (if you want to be competitive).
All of these tasks will only get completed if you are the passionate driving force behind them!
So, this is yet another reason to prioritize and choose your goals carefully, so that you can accomplish big things for yourself and the rest of the world. For these reasons, you want to get clear on what sorts of goals and dreams you should be putting a lot of time and energy into.
So, hopefully you are convinced on the reasons why you should prioritize your goals and life dreams. If you’re super serious about setting goals that are aligned with your strengths, you’ll want to purchase my most recent book How Smart Women Achieve Big Goals, which is full of powerful questions that will help you develop clarity on what goals you should be focusing on.
Alternatively, if you want a quick-fix, you can begin prioritizing your goals by jumping to step 2 in my free online goal setting program!