personal growth

Babe, You Need a Goal

Why You Need a Goal - Josie Feather Blog

A few weeks ago I finished Rachel Hollis’ second book “Girl, Stop Apologizing.” I read her first non-fiction book earlier this year and found myself really surprised how much I enjoyed it (I may not agree with her on everything, but her overall message is one I can definitely get behind). Before I read “Girl, Stop Apologizing” I had a friend tell me “oh, that one’s okay, but it’s more of a business book, so it didn’t really apply to me.” I was really disappointed when I heard that so I had actually put off reading it, thinking it wasn’t going to apply much to me either.

I am so glad I decided to just dig in.

I’m not here to sell you on the book, although I did love it and would actually recommend it more than her first one. I honestly don’t care if you read it, but after reading it myself I was so disappointed in my friend’s viewpoint on it. I’m definitely not disappointed in my friend, it just breaks my heart to realize that so many people, especially women, are so quick to view goal-chasing as something for “business people” that doesn’t apply to them. Maybe it’s not even that - Maybe, like me, they’ve been scared to death of it. Scared of falling short if you set goals and don’t reach them, so it’s easier to write off goal-chasers as being a different type of person altogether.

But everyone should have goals.

Seriously, I believe that with my whole heart. I think we’re creatures created for goals. Unlike animals who live for the moment (God bless ‘em, I often wish I could live that way) we actually have the mental complicity to envision and plan for the future, and we were made to use it. Goals utilize those abilities.

No one said your goals need to be huge. They don’t have to be monumental. You can (and probably should) start small, but make sure they challenge you in some way. You don’t need to want to start a business, you don’t have to want to climb Mount Everest, but I firmly believe we should all be reaching for more. Pushing ourselves on a regular basis, so we can surprise ourselves with what we can do.

I’ve talked about it before, but I was terrified of exercise. It was actually physically painful, so being afraid was completely understandable, and was even a form of self-preservation. When I started running I set small goals and worked my way up. Run to the end of the block, run a half mile, run a mile. I didn’t start with the goal of running a marathon. Some people do, and that’s awesome if that can work for you, but for me, small is what finally worked, and continues to work best for me when it comes to my fitness goals.

Other areas of my life I reach bigger. I have some big freaking long term goals. It took me a long time to really figure those out. I had to push myself to find those goals and also make them specific things I can break down to make them achievable. Some are so big, they still scare me. They very well may be failures, but I definitely won’t know unless I try.

Maybe your goal will be to save and go on a cool vacation, maybe it’s to write a book, maybe it is to climb Mount Everest. There is no “right answer” and the most important part is that you have them and that you are actually trying. So ditch the idea that goals are only for high achievers or fancy pants business people that carry around briefcases and use terms like “corporate synergy” and get yourself a damn goal.

Just Keep Swimming

Just Keep Swimming - Josie Feather Blog

This year I’ve committed to keeping a inspirational or motivational type book on my current reads list. By constantly feeding my crazy brain with positivity and exciting ideas I’ve found it’s so much easier to keep myself thinking positively and focused on big goals. Maybe it seems a bit cheesy, but to each his own, right?

The thing is that I’ve noticed a theme that runs through a lot of these books. Some are bold and clear about it, and others it’s just a faint whisper in the background, but it’s still there.

Resilience.

I’ve never given much thought to the word until recently. I’ve never really stopped to think about it’s application in my own life. I think in some ways it felt a bit like a foreign concept in the past. Now I hear it loud and clear. Now I can see how it’s played out in my own life.

I used to struggle to build good habits. It seems like there was always some convenient excuse to give up on “my goals” and yet I still wondered why I couldn’t seem to ever reach those goals. I’ve been working on changing that though. I’ve been slowly building good habits I actually look forward to and truly love (I can’t tell you how much I really missed working out last week when I was sick). Now I look back and think about the person I was and feel a stab of pity for the girl who seemed to be endlessly frustrated with herself.

The thing is, the reason those things changed is not because of some crazy magic, or a secret I finally figured out, it was simply that I finally decided to be resilient. I decided I wasn’t just going to give up and take the first excuse that sauntered my way anymore. I decided I’d work out even when I really really really really really didn’t feel like it. I would hit the gym even when it meant some mornings I’d have to get up before 5am. I would read for a few minutes even when my brain really just wanted to shut off and watch some tv. I would just keep going, even when it was inconvenient, not fun, or just plain torture some days.

In other words, I just kept swimming.

It seems so simple, yet is one of the hardest things to do. To keep going even when there’s good and easy reasons to just give up. I’ve never done a “word of the year” but may just have fallen into this one, and I’m not complaining.

Have you ever stopped to think about your own resilience?

Seeing the Good

Josie Feather

I have a lot of goals for 2019. 

I tend to do that. Stack my goal list like I stack my bookcase - unwilling to accept that I might have too much on it, and maybe I should stop adding to it (spoiler alert, I won’t - especially when it comes to the book case). 

But I’m trying to cut down how many goals I add to each area of my life. So this year I’m focusing on one big personal growth goal: being a more positive person. 

As those that have known me closely for a long time can tell you, sarcasm is my main language, with English coming in a distant second. I can be snarky and more than a little pessimistic. On a more serious note, I’ve also struggled with chronic and sometimes debilitating depression for most of my life, which has often made it hard for me to see the good. 

Last year I made some big life changes that have really helped me to gain control over my depression and anxiety. It certainly hasn’t made it completely disappear, but It’s been truly amazing to finally feel more clear headed on a daily basis. However, having that clarity has helped me realize how naturally negative I can be. I can quickly get sucked into letting the little things eat away at me and zap all the enjoyment out of daily living. I’ve had my sights set on this little goal of mine for the last few months and I’ve already noticed a big difference by just being more conscious of it. I definitely still getting sucked into that vortex of negativity at times (you don’t even want to talk to me when I’m hangry, let me tell ya) but I’ve already noticed I’ve been happier and more content on a daily basis, and better at warding off those little annoyances.

Part of this goal of mine is that I’m also working specifically to be positive towards myself this year. I’ve lived my life with a constantly string of negative thoughts about myself running through my brain at all times. I’m not good enough, I’m not pretty enough, I’m not smart enough. Truthfully, this voice has felt beyond my control. A little bird sitting on my shoulder, whispering in my ear. I just can’t get rid of it, or maybe I’m even a little afraid to ask it to scram since it’s been with me so long.

Part of my plan to try to change how my brain instinctively thinks with these things is by repeating a little positive mantra in my head whenever I feel those nasty thoughts make their way in. I know, way cheesy, and feels more than a little hippie-ish. But what do I have to loose? Feeling a little silly to myself? Nothing changes unless you make it change, and even if some of the things I try don’t help so much, then at least I can cross those off the list and move on to the next method to try.

More than anything in 2018 I learned that I don’t want to be the person content with always being the same. Change it good, and if I’m not striving to be a better person, then I’ll always feel stuck in the same place, being annoyed by the same things, having the same arguments, and never being able to fully enjoy all those silly but beautiful things in life.