By remembering our future, the goals we have, we can better stay the course when things get hard.
“You can’t believe in yourself
without believing in possibility,
and you can’t believe in possibility
without believing in yourself.”
~ Dr. Joe Dispenza
I walked across the wood floor in the well-lit studio and stood in front of the photographer and videographer. I was wearing my new “Judy Jetson” red dress with cape sleeves, knee-high black boots, and eyelashes so long I was aware of each eye blink.
I was wildly uncomfortable.
This was a day that was years in the making, requiring enormous planning, preparation, coordination, and resources. A climactic moment that had called upon me to transform myself from the inside out if I were to reclaim the confident, courageous, and calm woman who I had lost, buried under limiting beliefs and ratty clothes hanging on an overweight body.
A decade ago, as I sat in the ashes of my former life, I imagined this day. What it would feel like. Where I’d be in the time/space continuum.
I envisioned a healthy, vibrant, joyful woman who felt a lightness of being inside her skin. I imagined a completed manuscript having found its publishing home. I saw flashes of images of the future me wearing fun, fashionable clothes.
I fantasized about having marketing art that properly reflected my true self. Images that conveyed to those I most wanted to reach who I am, what I do. What I love and what brings me alive.
I knew that in order to pull myself out of the ashy swamp like a primordial creature tapping the mud off my fins, I needed to turn my focus upward, toward possibility. I intuited that I could leverage an electric series of goals as my way to move, clumsy fin by clumsy fin, keeping my eyes trained on what comprised freedom and ease and happiness for me.
A Practice for Remembering Our Future
I began a habit I continue to this day: the creation of goal cards laden with color and photographs so visually arresting that they make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Cards that contained individual ports of call I was determined to reach.
I kept my goal cards in the front pocket of my planner, and I would retreive them with solemn ceremony each morning. I’d flip through them one by one like flashcards, learning the vocabulary of the new language of me.
The cards served as my daily reminders of what I was creating and bumpered me between the gutters of anxiety and loss. They were my daily reminders of possibility. Daily opportunities to remember my future.
Every day I had a choice. Would I retreat to my old thinking and old behavior, letting myself back down into the swamp waters of my past? Or would I intentionally select thoughts and behavior that would chip away at the bonds that held me fast?
Would I remember what it was I wanted to create and realize in my life and business?
Crucial Moments of Choice
Some of my daily moments of choice included the following:
1) Deciding to go to bed early or stay up late.
2) Deciding to get up early or hit the snooze button.
3) Deciding to put healthy food in the fridge in advance or grab fast food.
4) Deciding to take a walk or make an excuse why I didn’t have the time.
5) Deciding to hire the talent and help I needed to expand my business and personal free time or white knuckle “just doing it myself” and staying small and exhausted and bitter.
6) Deciding to acknowledge my insecurities with compassion and move forward anyway or slink back from the scary moments of doing the work that made me sweat with fear, self-doubt, and worry over looking ridiculous/getting it wrong.
I continue to wrestle with all of these and more. We humans want comfort, convenience, certainty. Remember: Our desired futures require discomfort, planning, risk. Goal cards can help us stay on track during these crucial moments of choice.
As you are thinking about your goals/strategic plans for the coming year, why not create cards for each of your goals? You’ll need: 4 x 6″ index cards, images sized to fit onto the cards (from magazines, online sources, pics from your own stash), markers, and glue.
1. Brainstorm your list of desired goals. Try not to overthink these and remember, you can always make changes later, revising existing goals or adding new cards for new goals.
2. Select somewhere on your card to write down your goal.
3. Choose images that represent the energy of this goal for you and paste them down on the card.
4. Add color and flair to each card with markers.
Voila! You have your first set of cards. Place them near your coffee pot, on your desk, or inside your journal or planner. Just make sure you will see them each morning and remember to flip through them before you start your day.
If you are like me, you crave instantaneous, massive transformation because the pain of being stuck in one’s current reality can sometimes feel almost too hard to bear. Take heart. Oxygen, relief, and a building sense of empowered enthusiasm and confidence are found in small and consistent progress.
Tiny wins, choice by choice. Little bricks that build mansions.