[00:00:00] Welcome to today's TLC. Whether you found this podcast on my website, through the emails I send, or simply from a friend, I'm glad that you've decided to add some TLC today.
[00:00:17] Hello, my friends! I want you to know that you are not alone in your relationship with your goals. Every single client of mine, every at some point, they complain to me about a goal that they have had for years, that just never gets done. Do you feel this way? What is that goal that follows you, that you just never get done? Are you thinking to yourself? "Oh, I have a lot of those...." then this is an episode that is going to be helpful for you, my friend. Because I can relate to this too!
[00:00:51] There are the books that I have not finished reading: The Whole Brain Child, I've been trying for like five, no let's be honest it's probably been about a decade that I've picked up that book at least four or five times... but every paragraph I feel like I have to digest and memorize and I never get through it. I even have it on audio. Don't you worry. Never gets done.
[00:01:12] The other things that come up for me or classes that I've taken and not finished, or actually growing a garden or making homemade bread because you know, the cool people do that and I want to be like the cool people and self-reliant, and I just have tried different ways. Even bought a bread maker to try and cheat, but it just isn't happening for me and my completely shaded backyard in Texas won't grow a garden. So, I have these open loops in my mind that follow me around and I want to complete, but it just feels like they're never going to happen.
[00:01:43] What's your list? Do you feel like you have this list?
[00:01:47] I'm sure you do. And even not just over your lifetime, but last week. Or even yesterday. I bet that you could think of at least one thing. And that comes to mind where you're like, "Yeah, pretty sure I said I was going to do that and then I didn't and now I feel terrible about myself."
[00:02:06] This is normal. You are normal. I'm normal. My clients are normal because our brains don't want to do the hard things. And because of this simple principle, You got this? Okay, listen:
[00:02:21] Intention without action just stays a good idea.
[00:02:26] Action without intention makes you run in circles over and over again and not actually go anywhere.
[00:02:35] Action with intention moves you forward towards a goal.
[00:02:41] So you have to have both intention and action. Intention, meaning, you know where you want to go and action momentum that you're taking to get there.
[00:02:52] That's what good goals have: both of those two things. And if you're thinking, "I really want to read that book or do that garden," or whatever it is that's in your head. Those are just intentions. Good intentions that you have.
[00:03:05] Or, like me, "I just need to get through this book and I'm going to pick it up a million times." That's my action where I'm going over and over again, but I'm not actually remembering why or having a timeline of what it is that I want to accomplish and being clear with myself and it never gets because I didn't get clear. And that's okay. All these things that just came up for you when I'm like, "What are your open loops that have been following you around?" I want you to just take a big breath with me and think to yourself, "It's totally fine and totally normal to have these intentions. And it's okay for me to say these are just good intentions, but they get to stay there." So this is not a podcast episode about how to take all of your intentions and make sure you turn them into actions. Drop that it's not going to be helpful for you.
[00:03:58] Instead, I want you to think about things in your life that you have both intention and action that come together more naturally, instead of trying to force things that aren't priorities to you. They just aren't priorities to you. That book for me? I usually pick it up when I feel overwhelmed about being a parent and then something resolves and I put it back down. It's kind of like a pacifier for me. Thank you Whole Brain Child for being my pacifier. But the point is there will be things that you naturally are going to put your energy towards, to capture those things with intention and action.
[00:04:36] Now that you have that in your mind. I want you to think of something that you've been working on where you want to feel more progress. This could be a personal goal you have, it could be a goal with your relationship with someone. It could be a goal in your connection with God. There could be many different areas of your life, but what naturally (not what you think you should be doing), but what naturally comes up for you when you think about the possibilities of where you can grow? That thing that you're hungry to actually do in your life. You got it? It doesn't have to be big. It could be as small as eat a salad for lunch.
[00:05:13] One of my main things that is so important to me is to be supportive of my children. Specifically, to support them in processing their feelings. Because if you don't know by now, I kind of care about feelings... So with my intention to support my children through their feelings I also have an action that I've been practicing recently.
[00:05:35] Whenever I see my kids being unkind I have started saying, "Dance party in 3, 2, 1." When I take that action by saying that we're going to have a dance party, my kids know that it's time to move their bodies so that they can help their feelings flow. And I've communicated this beforehand, they know that I'm going to count to 15. And if you dance for the 15 seconds you don't lose any screen time. If you only dance a tiny bit and you're not really doing the intention of releasing energy, then you lose 10 minutes. If you don't dance at all and you stand there angry or start yelling or whatever it is that they were doing before, then you lose 20 minutes of screen time.
[00:06:23] So this is my clear action with the intention of supporting them with their feelings because motion changes emotion and helps them get unstuck. Sounds like a really nice plan, right? I have a clear intention and I have a clear action.
[00:06:40] Although intention and action are so important, there is a secret ingredient to success that so many people leave out.
[00:06:48] I have to check to see if the action is actually supporting my intention. Because when I created the intention and the action, I had the hypothesis that they would go together. And this has been actually very helpful with my children a lot of the time. Negative emotion starts to build, I invite them to have a dance party, and we all kind of laugh and move together and it helps flow that emotion.
[00:07:16] That intention and action matched. Until it didn't.
[00:07:20] A few days ago, one of my sons was starting to really build in negative energy. He was controlling his brothers and pushing them and starting to yell, so I looked at the situation and said, "I know what action I need to take here. Dance party in 3, 2, 1!" And then I literally sing, " Everybody dance now!" and I don't blame you if you just started wanting to dance. Right?! So we start dancing and my son starts getting sadder, and sadder, and sadder, and just bursts into tears and runs into the other room.
[00:07:55] Now, in that moment, my brain had a little panic where it said, "Uh-oh... That didn't get the result that I was hoping for." It also didn't really feel like it was matching my intention of supporting my son with his feelings.
[00:08:11] When I realized this, I had a choice: I could stand my ground and say, "Well, you lost 20 minutes of screen time. You didn't take care of your feelings." But if I check back into my intention, it wouldn't have matched. And to be honest, I started there. It took me a while to even realize that there was a disconnect there. It was a solid few minutes before I was able to calm down myself and think about what I wanted to do to support my son that would really connect with my intention.
[00:08:44] While I was thinking through what I wanted to do, my son walked out of the room and slowly like a slumped sad puppy started walking up the stairs. My heart said, "I don't care what I said I was going to do. I want to connect with my son." And I went up to the stairs and I grabbed him and gave him a big hug. And he just burst into tears. I brought him to the couch, held him on my lap, and asked him what was going on. He then told me some very hard things that had happened at school that day. Things that weren't just your normal things. And he was beating himself up and being so mean to himself for what was going on at school.
[00:09:30] Luckily, I was able to help him find his feeling in his body, process what was going on in his mind, and release some of that energy that had been building up.
[00:09:41] *Guess what I did when I showed up that way? I reached my goal. *
[00:09:47] I was a supportive mom that helped the son that I love with his feelings.
[00:09:53] Sometimes it needs to look like that. Sometimes it needs to look like a dance party where we just reset.
[00:10:00] Giving ourselves permission to focus on the intention can help us meet goals that are even more important than the ones we set at the beginning.
[00:10:13] Here's another example for you. One of my clients recently has been working through some issues she's having with her husband. She's noticing that she gets defensive anytime he asks her a question. So we set a goal together to help her work on that. She had the intention of showing up as a loving wife and her action was to simply answer the question that he asked.
[00:10:36] She wanted to practice believing that it's okay for him to ask questions. She was just going to give answers. After a week of doing this, she came back to me and she said, "I've been able to answer the questions, but I feel like I turned into a robot."
[00:10:50] Such good awareness! I was so proud of her for checking in to see if those actions were connecting to her initial intention of being a loving wife. That gave us some space to explore together and say, "That plan didn't seem to work out. We don't have to keep forcing a goal that isn't moving us forward." Instead, she picked a new action so that she had more space to be that loving wife. And she's given herself permission to explore.
[00:11:20] *The secret sauce is allowing it to be a process and checking in to see if our actions are supporting our intentions along the way. *
[00:11:31] If you feel like you have all the intentions in the world, but you're not going anywhere. Or, you have a lot of actions that you're taking, but you feel like a hamster on a wheel where it's really not moving forward... try this simple formula:
[00:11:47] *Get clear on your intentions, ask yourself what action will get you there, and then check in along the way to make sure they match. *
[00:11:56] And, if they don't, it's okay to shift. When you made that goal in the first place, it was just a hypothesis. You didn't have all the information at first, but you learn along the way.
[00:12:08] It's okay. That we're learning. It's okay if our intentions and our actions shift.
[00:12:14] The point is for your goals to work for you, not for you to set a goal and have it rule you.
[00:12:20] It's working for me as I'm trying out different ways to be the supportive mom that I want to be. It's working for my client, as she's trying to figure out how to show up as the loving, supportive wife that she wants to be, and I know that it can work for you.
[00:12:38] I'm excited to see what happens in your life as you set clear intentions and take action to create a life that you love to live.
[00:12:49] Go get it my friend. I believe in you!
[00:12:53] Life after therapy can be simple. Come learn how to think, light feel light, and live light at www.thelightcoach.com. I offer five free discovery sessions each week and one of them is for you. Together, let's discover the joy that's possible in life after therapy.