This is not an article about goal-setting.
There is no SMART goal method (gosh I hate those) and there are no tips or secrets to achieving the body you want. Instead, I’m going to share a powerful exercise I recently learned to set yourself up for success. Think of it as the behind-the-scenes work that occurs for all your goals to manifest themselves.
For me, achieving holistic health and happiness encompasses mental fortitude, self-belief, a healthy relationship with food and exercise, and a number of other mental and emotional things too long to list here. Even as a fitness professional I know that exercise is just a small piece of the puzzle. We can create a beautiful list of all the goals or New Year’s resolutions we hope to achieve but without letting go of certain attitudes, habits or belief systems, we might as well be setting a goal for marrying Matt Damon.
In the book Adventures for the Soul, I came across an interesting concept for a “letting go” list. I’m a huge fan of list-making (yes, I’m one of those people) so I was on board from the get-go. But what really stood out to me about this exercise was that in listing all the things we need to shed for a more fulfilling life, we can truly create more of what we want.
For example, we can set the goal of a bodyweight power clean (an Olympic lift), but if we haven’t shed the thoughts that we’re not strong enough or ended the relationship with that really discouraging training partner or coach, then we are only setting ourselves up to failure.
By sharing my “Letting go” list, I hope to encourage you to start thinking about the behind-the-scenes work that needs to happen for you in order to feel happier, healthier, fitter and wealthier this year.
20 Things I’m Letting Go Of
- Expecting others to validate my worth, abilities, and potential. It’s my job to believe in myself not someone else’s.
- Addiction to stress and busy-ness. These things only get in the way of doing work that actually matters.
- Worrying about the future. Not only do those concerns rarely come true but it invites more of the things I don’t want into my reality.
- Anger or resentment towards anyone in the past. Just because something didn’t work out the way I had planned doesn’t mean the love, sincerity, or effort wasn’t real.
- Abandoning my needs in exchange for work. Self-care is necessary for creativity and flow.
- Stress over money. Instead, focus on what’s working well, my current abundance, and trust that there’s always more to make.
- Chasing people, situations, or opportunities that don’t have my best interests at heart. Go where people want you.
- Complaining. There’s always a choice to make: accept it or change it. Otherwise, shut the hell up about it.
- Guilt for saying “no” to people, things, or situations that clearly don’t align with what I want. Yes, that includes all kid-related things that don’t involve a water gun fight.
- Disempowering thoughts and beliefs. Bye now.
- Fear of failure, which is just a stepping stone to growth and success.
- Finishing books that I clearly don’t enjoy. Yes, we should finish what we start but a crappy story is a crappy story. Put it down and save your energy for something worthwhile.
- Social media addiction. Like, do we really need to refresh Instagram every 15 minutes?
- Thinking that I’m always “behind” or need to catch up to others in life. There is no universal benchmark for success except for the ones we create for ourselves (and they’re not usually accurate).
- Believing that something or someone is the ticket to feeling greater happiness.
- Giving a damn about how others perceive me.
- Staying in relationships, friendships, partnerships, or situations that have expired. If it no longer adds value, it’s okay to go separate ways.
- Hiding out or isolating myself as a defense mechanism when the going gets tough. Be brave and ask for help.
- Allowing how much I make or what I “own” to determine my level of success.
- Obsessing over what I did wrong in the past and what I could’ve done differently. Learn and move on.
It’s strange to look back on this list and see that there are ZERO things about what foods to give up or exercises to stop doing, even though nutrition and fitness is such a huge part of my life. Yet, I can see how some of my “let go” items might influence how I eat, how I train, whom I work with, or what I train for. It’ll influence what coaches or clients I work with, what gyms I work for, what friendships I choose to keep, and so on.
To go even deeper, let’s look at #5 – abandoning my needs in order to work more. Those needs include making time for exercise, meditation, and connections with loved ones. Every time I opt to work more, I’m neglecting something my body and mind really needs, and that takes its toll on my body, health, and quality of my work. Number 13 is another big one. How much time do we waste on social media? How often do we find ourselves comparing our lives, success, even our bodies to someone online? Wouldn’t that time be better spent hitting the gym, reading a book, or exploring new activities? I sure think so! By letting go of social media addiction I can create more time to do things like workout, meal prep, or just live my damn life!
There is value in goal setting but a lot of value in examining the things, people, or beliefs that hold us back from achieving the lifestyle we dream of.
Now over to you. What are some things on your Letting Go list that will help you create the life you desire?