Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Setting Soul Nourishing GOALS and Be SMART when You Do It


How to Craft a Soul Nourishing GOAL
(The Do’s and Don’ts)

Crafting a soul nourishing and sustaining goal is an art form. You need to be SMART (see below).

You want to be able to
·      visualize your goal,
·      have passion for your goal,
·      and actually accomplish your goal.

Below is a list of guiding Dos and Don'ts. First, clear a space (see http://theyogabag.blogspot.com/2013/12/three-big-steps-to-being-up-to-amazing.html). The BE SMART.

Your goals should be SMART-



Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. More on this in the dos and don'ts below. 


1. Do: Build a larger framework for your goal.

Everything from a yoga asana (pose) to a home is strongest when built within a solid framework, a solid foundation. This assures your goal is RELEVANT (smaRt). For all goals, it can be very helpful to begin by seeing yourself 5 years down the road. Take your age right now and add 5 years (your age + 5 = X). See yourself at X. What are you doing? Who are you with? What is the weather? What is around you? How do you feel? Set this vision. Get out a journal or a piece of paper and put your vision on paper. Write a paragraph describing your 5 years from now self (X). Create a collage of X.

Remember, you will be 5 years older in 5 years anyway. So don’t let fear of aging stop you. It is happening. So what kind of 5 years older form of you (X) do you want to be? Doing nothing, holding on to your same patterns is also a plan. Know that. If that is what you want, perfect. If not, make a plan. From this plan, build your goals.

2. Don’t: Work from an anti-dream, anti-goal, or anti-vision.

Work from what you want to create not what you want to avoid. If you want prosperity, say that. If you want sobriety, say that. If you want contentment, say that. Work from what will be manifested and not what you want to avoid. This also assures your goal is RELEVANT (smaRt). 

It is always good to have a sense of what you want to avoid (e.g., debt, addiction, alcoholism, etc..). However, to be effective you want to work from a place of creation. For example, as you work toward presence and sobriety, as result you are not drunk and dissociated. On the other hand, if you say, “I will not be anything like my Father,” you are still beholden to the mold. It’s mirror image, still the mold. Create your own vision, something new (I know there are some who say to do this [e.g., work from an anti-vision]. You can if you if you’d like. It won’t be as powerful, creative, or positive).

You might need to clear a space for your goals- see this post http://theyogabag.blogspot.com/2013/12/three-big-steps-to-being-up-to-amazing.html

3. Do: Envision yourself as healthy and strong.

Healthy is beautiful. Healthy is beautiful. Healthy is beautiful. Healthy is beautiful.

We are completely inundated with media messages telling us that we need to be smaller, thinner, leaner, and-all-that. Goals and visions based on being smaller or closer to an idealized media image-- backfire. Don’t do it.

Consider the Health At Any Size Movement. Here is an excerpt from their web-page.

Let’s face facts. We’ve lost the war on obesity. Fighting fat hasn’t made the fat go away. And being thinner, even if we knew how to successfully accomplish it, will not necessarily make us healthier or happier. The war on obesity has taken its toll. Extensive “collateral damage” has resulted: Food and body preoccupation, self-hatred, eating disorders, discrimination, poor health... Few of us are at peace with our bodies, whether because we’re fat or because we fear becoming fat. Health at Every Size is the new peace movement. Very simply, it acknowledges that good health can best be realized independent from considerations of size. It supports people—of all sizes—in addressing health directly by adopting healthy behaviors.” An excerpt from Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon, PhD. http://www.haescommunity.org


4. Don’t: Base your GOALS on deprivation, restriction, and withholding from yourself. It backfires too.

A good example is dieting. Dieting won’t get you where you want to be. Here is one of the many reviews: Long-term Effects of Dieting: Is Weight Loss Related to Health? A. Janet Tomiyama, Britt Ahlstrom, & Traci Mann (2013)- reference below.

Worse yet, in the restriction and deprivation you will feel like you are restricted and deprived. Humans hate this. We fight against it. We rebel. And guess what happens a few days after you set your goal? Yes, you will have completely ditched all restriction-based plans and goals and will be knee deep in your anti-vision.

5.  Do: Set your sights on a practice that enhances well-being.  

Here are many, many ideas. Choose one or more and set intentions to practice any one or more of these things often.

      a.     Embodied practices: yoga, running, Tae Kwon Do, etc.
      b.     Meditation (go here for a great app- https://insighttimer.com- I love this one)
      c.      Travel
      d.     Communing with nature (e.g., hiking, bird watching)
      e.     Commitment to a cause (e.g., the Africa Yoga Project)
      f.      Religious practice 
     g.     Artwork (e.g., draw, take photographs, make mala beads)
     h.     Music- listen, practice, create
     i.      Writing- poetry, blogging, journaling, etc..
     j.       Family and friend time
     k.  Set an amazing world changing goal with specifics
     l.      Etc…

6. Don’t: Choose something because you feel like you should.

Don’t choose the thing you think people will like, approve of, or admire. Pick the thing that makes you excited, the thing you want for you, the thing that makes you feel a feeling all around your heart when you think of it (see [k] above). You were brought to this world for a reason. We need you to manifest the reason for your soul. It will set you on fire. Do that thing.

"If you are what you are meant to be, you will set the whole world on fire."
St. Catherine of Siena




Note: There may be a few small goals you should address first. It's okay, and maybe even good, to start small-- engage in small accomplishable steps (e.g., eating vegetables twice a day, hydrating each day). These smaller goals are the foundational work for larger dreams. Create the foundation first. 


7.   Do: Find a Partner

On August 14, 2009 my sister and I decided that we needed a stronger commitment to daily exercise in our lives. As I write, we are on day 1598 of exercise. We text each other every AM and let each other know our plans. A quick text- done- instant support.

8. Don’t: Set standards so high and so pure that a human being can’t be successful.

Weave in struggle. Make promises you CAN keep. This is the A in smArt = attainable. Remember my sister and me made a commitment to daily exercise? Well, in the making of our commitment contract we wove in human error. There is room for missteps and life that allows us to pursue this goal and be successful. Here they are.

      (a)  Each week you get a skip day
      (b)  Every six months you can burn two skip days a week
      (c)  You need only do something physical for 30 minutes and that counts

Given our contract we are nearing 2014 with complete, 100% success.

9.   Do: Write it down or get an app

Make it yours, own it, and write it down. There are lots of ways to do this. This is part of the M in sMart = Measureable. You can use an old-fashioned pen and paper. You can keep a log on your computer, or a blog on the Internet. I put mine in the front cover of my daily planner and on my iPhone- there are apps…. Click here for an application guide to goal setting apps:

“Goal setting involves establishing a plan and creating steps to help you achieve what once was just a dream. Two vital parts of achieving your goals are motivation and habit building. Thankfully there are some apps that will help you create some healthy new habits that will move your life in the right direction to help you achieve your goals. We compare the best ones in this AppGuide.”
http://appadvice.com/appguides/show/habit-building-apps

10.  Don’t: Automatically Keep your NEW GOAL a secret or tell everybody

As an impulse or mindless action, neither of those is a good idea. Any goals you set is yours. It is yours to share or keep for as long as you’d like. Choose thoughtfully, mindfully. If you share, choose to share with those who will empower you. Sometimes it helps to hold it close to your heart. I like to do this. I set goals and sometimes-- I don’t tell anyone. It is between me and me (and me and God). After I have accomplished my goal, sometimes I tell my husband or a friend. Sometimes I don’t tell anyone.  This is one of those things that varies person to person. As much as I like to keep things to myself, other people do better when they share their goals. Share goals only with people who will let it be yours. No matter which you choose, make sure it stays your goal and your commitment.

11. Do: Mix great effort with great rest.

Make sure you have built restoration and recovery time into your plans. I say this over and over in my yoga classes, “With great effort, take great rest!” This is also related to the A in smArt = Attainable. Building in rest helps makes things attainable. You can Google, study, and research any great man or woman and you will see that sustained effort was paired with support and periods of restoration. I have taught the History of Psychology for many years at the University at Buffalo. What I have noticed is that longevity and impact, without tragedy, was paired with a restorative life. The moral of the story, if you want to do great things and have a great life, match great effort with great rest.

12. Don’t: Make your goals someone else’s job.

It is so easy to tell a bunch of people, your partner, a best friend what you want to do and then make it their problem to monitor you, remind you, and inspire you. You are giving your success away and people find this annoying (unless they are co-dependent and even then they should not be doing it). It’s your resolution, your job, and your success when you get there. And trust me, it feels amazing to set, work for, and accomplish a goal. 

13Do: Make it concrete

Make your GOAL concrete. This one is big. It is a huge part of smart goal setting. The is part of the S in Smart = Specific, the M in sMart = Measureable, and the T in smarT = Time-bound.  Do not create broad open-ended GOALS like, “I will love others more” or “I will contribute to world peace.” These are good ideas AND they can also be concrete. For example, “I will love others more” might translate to, “I will call my dad and mom every Tuesday and Thursday to check in and tell them that I love them.” Also, “I will contribute to world peace” might translate to, “I will volunteer to teach yoga at the youth detention center one hour a week.” Those things are real, concrete.

Like my sister and I did with our exercise plan, we said exactly when it started (that day), how often (6 or more days a week), what (30 minutes or more of physical exercise including walking), and a monitoring system (text each other the workout each day).

These examples are so specific there is no question of whether happens or not. For my sister and I, sometimes we check on this or that asking if the other thinks that a particular thing counted. Usually we agree that it counts because it meets our basic criteria- 30 minutes of exercise. Please note, we excluded house-cleaning. That does not count- see how clear we are? That is how clear and concrete you need to be.

Set an accomplished by date. This will help you be accountable to YOU.
   By August 2014, I will have my book submitted to the publisher. 
   By next Friday, I will have my home practice yoga room ready to go.

14.  Don’t: Base your goals on resentment or  showing someone something.

I did this for a while. I fueled my achievement with anger. Anger is not a half-bad fuel. But it burns dirty. You are left with your achievements in your hands and black smoke everywhere. Goals built on “I will show you” lack the shine, the inner glow, and the love that you see in victories that come from the heart. Work on your anger, process it, and let it go. Then, build your dreams on something more beautiful than anger.

And this- You might need to clear a space for your GOALS- see this post http://theyogabag.blogspot.com/2013/12/three-big-steps-to-being-up-to-amazing.html

15. Do: It for love

Ah, this is the stuff. LOVE. Build your visions and goals on (a) what you love, (b) for love, and, (c) on love of life. Not only will this be more pure and light and beautiful. It will be full of joy and fun. Goals and resolutions built on passion and love…….well that is the stuff of dreams.

This is what I want for you. I want you to accomplish your dreams- one goal, one resolution at a time- from a place of love. So, DREAM ON!


Have fun with these. BE SMART. 

We get this one shot at life. Make it great. I am. 
Your soul will love you for it.


"If you are what you are meant to be, you will set the whole world on fire."
St. Catherine of Siena







Namaste,

Catherine

The Yoga Bag
http://theyogabag.blogspot.com






References

Long-term Effects of Dieting: Is Weight Loss Related to Health? A. Janet Tomiyama1, Britt Ahlstrom1, Traci Mann2,*http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/spc3.12076/abstract;jsessionid=CC1FAF44A3FDD1965B4C69A1EE00684A.f02t04?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

Abstract
“Success” in dieting interventions has traditionally been defined as weight loss. It is implicit in this definition that losing weight will lead to improved health, and yet, health outcomes are not routinely included in studies of diets. In this article, we evaluate whether weight loss improves health by reviewing health outcomes of long-term randomized controlled diet studies. We examine whether weight-loss diets lead to improved cholesterol, triglycerides, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and fasting blood glucose and test whether the amount of weight lost is predictive of these health outcomes. Across all studies, there were minimal improvements in these health outcomes, and none of these correlated with weight change. A few positive effects emerged, however, for hypertension and diabetes medication use and diabetes and stroke incidence. We conclude by discussing factors that potentially confound the relationship between weight loss and health outcomes, such as increased exercise, healthier eating, and engagement with the health care system, and we provide suggestions for future research.
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