How to work with the emotional overload of goal setting and desire

Carrie JordanFeminine Leadership

When we engage in goal setting, it can seem easy-peasy, but for many women, a lot of emotion comes up: fear, grief, shame. It can stop us in our tracks, or it can become our motivation. Here are some inner critic activities to engage with her and find out what she really wants for you. Learn how to set goals for yourself and how to work with the emotion that arises when your goals seem out of reach.

I receive lots of emails with questions about goal setting from my Life Design Planner customers. Mostly they are “This is awesome!” emails, and sometimes I get an emails from women who are…scared sh*tless. And dare I say, if you’re using the planner and not scared sh*tless, you might be playing too small in your goal setting.

Below I’m sharing an email that I received from one of the courageous warrior women who is using the planner. After you read it, you will see why she is so courageous. She is walking through the dark woods of emotion: shame; fear; grief; self-sabotage…And meanwhile, she’s working with all of it! She’s doing it. As I told her, this where the magic happens in goal setting and in the life design planning method. Her letter is bold and italic, and my responses are plain text.

How to work with the strong feelings that come up about goal setting

I started to work through some of my discomfort, which really comes down to self sabotage, fears of failure and of myself. I assume I’m doing it wrong and I push against the structure. 

In terms of pushing against the structure, I recommend you dive into working with the archetype of the rebel. The rebel’s shadow is the saboteur. 

Here’s what you can do: Journal about the rebel and the saboteur and write to resolution on what this part of you is wanting for you. How is she supporting you? How is she sabotaging you? What does she really want? This exploration will help you to unveil those sneaky self-sabotages and know when they are coming on.

I would also track when she comes online. Does something specific trigger her (like a situation, emotion, event, food)? Is it a time of month, time of day, time of week? Find out what drives her and what her schedule is like.

The first thing I’m struggling with is the emotions the journal brings up: A strong feeling of fear and of grief, like I’ve done it “all wrong.” An example was the three year plan. When I saw that iI would be fifty in three years and how much time I felt I wasted, I just wanted to quit and send back the planner. “It’s over for me I guess. I’m a loser.”

I get that you are experiencing a lot of the “inner critic’s” comments from the peanut gallery while you’re working with your planner. I want to tell you that the first time I say a 3, 5, and 10 year plan I was like 😧😳😵 …in other words, it took me a few weeks of allowing myself to dream and think about it to sit down and write it out. Most of us never even think of the next 3,5, and 10 years! My advice is to give yourself some space and time to dream about it and give it some attention before you come back to the page.

Here’s what you can do: Write down all your fear and everything that the inner critic is saying. Write down all of the voices people from your past criticizing you. Give those voices…a voice! They want to be heard. Those voices are trying to protect you from being hurt again. Hear them and say, “Thank you for your concern. It’s going to be ok this time.”

Create a financial base so that you can create the life you desire

The second challenge is starting from where I am. I am broke as a joke. Our incoming and outgoing is way off kilter, we haven nothing beyond our basic needs met and currently receive food stamps. In terms of income the business just supports itself and would be considered by any investor “hobby status.” I panic and think, “this is where I’ll always be” so why look ahead?

You’ve done the best that you can with the resources and information you have had in your life. Up to this point, you have made all the decisions you made for good reasons based on your previous experience. Now you’re experiencing this confronting emotion around your future, and it’s a clue into what could be available. Allow yourself to feel that fear- cry, yell, dance, vent, write, get it out of your body.

It sounds like finances have been a challenge. That tends to create a lot of stress and it sounds like that’s what you’re experiencing. I suggest Dave Ramsey as a financial resource. He wrote a book called the “Total Money Makeover” which I highly highly recommend. My fiance and I use it and it has helped us tremendously in the past 4 months get more on track with our businesses. Ramsey also has a podcast which is educational.

Here’s what you can do: My sense is that getting a second job, something that could fill in the gaps and not take TOO much of your time, for a short time, would be a good move. While I was starting to work on my business full time, I drove Lyft and delivered food to hungover college students for about 3 months. It was not glamorous or fun, but it helped me feel more secure financially until I could pay for my expenses with my business.

How to use your Life Design Planner for goal setting

The last piece is the structure. Do I use the calendar daily? Do I do it once a week? Do I just keep filling it with everything I want to do to create a business I love? “That’s scary! I should just get a job!”

Regarding structure of the Life Design Planner, what I do is use it in the beginning of each month to see what worked and didn’t work in the previous month and make new focuses. Each Monday I have a ritual where I fill out the entire weekly spread for my week ahead and then I follow it as a guide for the rest of the week.

Here’s what you can do: Write an unfiltered list of what you want. Maybe you start small with your goal setting if that feels safer. Make a goal setting list that says “Small dreams” “Medium dreams” “Big Dreams” and move up the ladder of goal setting to the biggest goals and desires. As you practice goal setting and writing down what you want, you’ll get more courageous with it. 

How to comfort the little girl inside as you make big changes

I’ve shifted my focus and am choosing to overcome my discomfort, and keep plugging. I’ve run away like a child from my dreams for too long, but embracing them is terrifying.

I have so much compassion for the little girl inside of you who is scared. Our dreams can seem impossible when we have run away from them, and we’ve created a habit of running away from them.

Here’s what you can do: Be sweet to yourself. Who is this little girl who is running away from her dreams? Ask her, sit with her. Stroke her hair and tell her it’s ok. Tell her it’s safe to come out now and you’ll do it together. Looking in a mirror while you do this can be powerful.

P.S. If you liked this article you’ll also like Six constraints that could be interfering with your life design and Why goal setting definitely works.

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