What do you want to be when you grow up?
If you’re like most of us, you haven’t asked yourself that for years, maybe decades. Think of when you were a teenager. Did you have ideas of what you would do when you grew up? I’ll bet you did and I’ll bet you had multiple layers of goals: what you would do for school, as a job, what you wanted for a relationship, how you pictured your family, how you envisioned your physical state.
What about now? Do you still have multiple layers of goals? Do you still have dreams for the next 5, 10, 20 years? What do you want to be doing for business, how fit do you want to be, what do you want your marriage to be like? What do you want to learn about? Where do you want to travel?
As a kid you might’ve dreamed big but, if you’re like most of us, you stopped making goals in your 30s. Why? I want to encourage you to hop back on that “setting goals” train. The happiest people continue to make goals until the day they die. Why does making goals make us happy? Because human beings are meant to evolve. We are programmed to reach for the next level, to become that next best version of ourselves. When we are striving, growing, and reaching we feel an inner level of contentment that remaining static and stuck does not provide.
So why do we stop setting goals? Because we think “we’re happy enough”. We remind ourselves that we’ve hit all the big hash marks: we have the kids, the house, the husband, the comfortable job… now it’s time to be happy and take care of others: our kids, our husband, our house. Who are we to ask for more?
Uh….wait a second. Who are you not to ask for more? You are here to evolve. You have done a wonderful job living so far, right? Yay you! Seriously, everything you’ve done and accomplished has been for a reason but that doesn’t let you off the hook. You have many, many more years to live and many, many more things to accomplish.
Write the numbers 1-100 on a piece of paper and draw a hashtag at your current age. How many more years do you have to live? Do you want to live out those years treading water and doing the same old same old? Or, do you want to make each year a bit better than the previous one. One of my favorite life coach colleagues started her career at age 70. She came to life coach training because she discovered she was passing her final years waiting to die. Her husband had recently died and she had gained 15 pounds. She spent her days taking care of her grandkids when her kids asked and reading one uninspiring fiction book after another. In the past 2 years, she’s lost 20 pounds, is a successful coach for women 70 and over, and is engaged to a man she met while exercising. Lesson? Do not stop looking forward. Think of all that you’ve done for the past 30 years. What will you do for the next 30?
The second piece of this is for us to allow ourselves to dream, to believe in a future that is brighter than our past. Set goals that are bigger than you can imagine. Allow yourself to think outside the box. This is hard for a couple of reasons but the main one is that this is not what our brain likes to do. Our brain is wired to keep us safe so that we survive. It wants us to make decisions based on what it already knows; things we’ve already experienced, what we’ve done in the past. Well guess what, this leads to us doing the same things over and over expecting different results. So often clients will say they can’t lose weight or can’t keep lost weight off. When I ask why they think that, they say it’s because they never have before. They’ve never experienced weight loss before so they tell themselves that they won’t in the future. Huh….what if, as a little kid, you told yourself you can’t walk because you never have before? We can’t accomplish much with this kind of mindset. As I said in my last blog post, a life of abundance is not created from a mindset of scarcity. If we want to move into a brighter and bigger future, we must direct our brains to imagine and to be creative.
I am in the most outstanding, loving, connected, compassionate relationship right now. Five years ago my reality was very different but I allowed myself to dream. I knew that the relationship I was in was not the relationship experience that I wanted for the rest of my life. With the help of a coach, I envisioned a future unlike any I had experienced. I had to imagine a future that was unlike anything I had experienced before.
You do not know what is possible for you if you use your past as a guide.
We get pretty cynical as adults. We think of ways that things won’t work and look for reasons why we can’t do certain things. Our brain is wired for comfort and it likes to do the same thing over and over. I encourage you to get uncomfortable. To dream big. To set some goals.
What do you want your life to be like 5 years from now? What do you want your marriage to be like? Move past thinking of what will be bearable. Bearable does not feel good and usually requires anti-depressants and alcohol to survive. Seriously – we are wired to evolve. When we’re not evolving, our inner warriors will let us know. We find ourselves filling our schedules full of busy things, things we don’t really want to do but tell ourselves we should do. We find ourselves scrolling Facebook instead of connecting with the other humans in the house. We find ourselves shopping, buying things we don’t need because we think we’ll be happier with that certain throw pillow or new pair of pants. Living in your past is predictable, safe and comfortable. However, it makes you stagnate and feel like you’re living in a fog. Choose differently. What do you want your life to be like in one year? Five years? Ten years? It’s never too late to imagine a future unlike any you’ve experienced.
- How much money do you want to have?
- What do you want your romantic relationship to be like?
- What do you want to be like as a parent?
- How fit do you want to be?
- Where are you going? What do you want?
Reminder: You can not create a future based on your past. What have you done in your past? Do the opposite. Have you resisted getting a coach? Saying “you’re fine” or “I can figure this out”? Remember that brain? “You can not create a new reality based on your past experiences” Get. A. Coach. Do the opposite of what your brain tells you. Does your brain tell you to drink wine to take the edge off your day? How about you start paying attention to that edge? Does your brain tell you that going to the gym is too hard? Prove it wrong. You don’t need to make some huge massive change but you do need to dream big and expect greatness for yourself. Read my blog on starting small. One small shift today can make big changes in one year. Start drinking a glass of water after dinner instead of wine. Start plugging your phone in downstairs to charge instead of in your room. Start writing down 3 things you’re grateful for every day at lunch. Start somewhere. Start something. Today is your day.