New Year’s Goals

January 2017 blog post.jpg

I’ve got to get this out at the beginning. Goals and I have not had a good relationship over the years.  Perhaps it’s too many years of unaccomplished, poorly thought out New Year’s resolutions that have soured my relationship with Goals. Maybe it’s the fact that once I commit to Goals I have to admit that there’s a chance I might fail at them. Either way, Goals and I have not had a good run together.

Turning to ‘ol Merriam-Webster, however, often helps clarify things. So I thought I’d give it a try with Goals. This is what I found:

“Goal: the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.”

The things that I am focusing on and that I want to create more of in my life are my Goals. With all this in mind, this is how I understand Goals: sometimes we achieve them and sometimes we don’t, but the fact that we may fall and scrape ourselves up a bit in the effort is no reason not to try. Goals are an essential part of being alive! We strive, we try, we fail, we try again. Whether or not we reach the originally set goal or not is less important than WHO we become along the way.

So, for today, I am going to focus on the things along the way toward accomplishing Goals. Achieving goals is a journey, rather than a destination with no road map. Here is my road map.

Setting the Space

Whenever I want to get something done - big or small - if the space is cluttered or there is any uncertainty of where to find what I need, I don’t get anything done. When my laptop, my notebooks, my phone and my pens are all spread out across the desk, it is practically impossible to focus. My mind gets distracted with all the visual clutter. I  keep remembering the things I need to do with each item I see on my desk and I get little actual work done. When there is visual clutter, it takes twice as long to finish what I wanted to.

The same can be said for workout space. Imagine for a minute that you show up at Kaia and there is exercise equipment strewn all across the room. Nothing is put away and it smells like 5,000 people have sweat in this room and left their dirty workout clothes behind. Would you want to work out there? Probably not. The same goes for the other spaces we live and work in. When our work space is clear, our best work can happen - be it a desk, a kitchen counter, a work table, a garage or a living room.

Organizing Your Time

If something is not in my calendar it won’t happen. Because I have set this boundary with myself, I know that if I want to get something done - schedule time to hang out with friends or work on my own projects - I have to put it in my calendar. Doing this has changed the way I think and how I organize my time. I get more done. And it allows me to say “no” to things that I would normally have said “yes” to that I don’t have the time or energy for anyway.  Living by my calendar means that I am less frazzled and frustrated with the time I do have.  I can also really be present with the people and the work I do. This means a get more done.

Gathering Your Tribe

We need people in our lives that support us and our goals, even if their goals are not the same as ours. People who are real with us; who will celebrate our successes with us; hold non-judgmental space for us to share our failures; and who call us out when we’re full of crap. We all need people like this In our lives.  Having them not only makes life richer and more fun, it also saves us a lot of time - time we would have spent on trying out crazy ideas and chasing goals that were half-hatched and not all that good to begin with. Just like we need a supportive tribe to become “athletes of our own life” at Kaia FIT - as Nikki so beautifully put it - we also need our tribe to start a business, ask for a raise, develop a new skill, and have a hard but necessary conversation.

Listening to Yourself

There are goals that other people want for us, goals we think we should have, and goals we actually want to accomplish. As we learn to take better care of our bodies, we learn to listen to what they are telling us and do more of what truly matters to us in our lives.

We have a relationship with ourselves. Just like we wouldn’t turn to a loved one that told us they were feeling stressed and anxious and say, “Blah, blah, blah, that’s stupid,” why would we do that to ourselves? The irony is that we do it all the time and don’t realize it. When we do this, we erode self-trust.

Instead of shutting our own needs down and pushing through rising panic, we can take 5 minutes to do something that helps calm and soothe us. That may, for example, mean power posing in a bathroom stall at work and telling ourselves ‘I got this. One thing at a time’ - something I have done on many occasions. Something so simple can build our trust in ourselves. It is also a way to show that when we tell ourselves we’ll do something we do it.

This process of Setting the Space, Organizing Your Time, Gathering Your Tribe, and Listening To Yourself, is an essential one for me. When I get rid of clutter, live by my calendar, reach out to the people I know have my back, and honestly listen to and care for myself, incredible things happen. I accomplish what I set out to do. I achieve my goals.

Each of these things is an essential piece of how I get things done. They might sound silly, and I can guarantee that the first time you power pose in a bathroom stall you are going to feel ridiculous. That’s ok. Me too. Just keep doing it. And then notice how you feel afterward and what you are able to get done. Maybe even tell yourself, ‘I did that for me’ and see how you are able to accomplish so much more than you were ever able to before. Though I sincerely hope that you reach your goals this coming year, even more than that, I hope that you become a better version of yourself - however you define “better” to be. I know that the journey will change you, likely in ways you never imagined, but I can promise that if you travel that road living with authenticity, you will be changed for the better.

Michelle Brown is the Visual Strategist and Owner of Pen To Paper and can be found at

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