What better week for 2016’s first “No-Fail Friday” mindfulness challenge than one that we started by talking about goals? What is a goal if not a challenge? Well, let’s not take ourselves too seriously here, but let’s also find space in the weekend ahead for a little mindful attention to ourselves.
This challenge is pretty simple…maybe.
Assumption number one: you have a goal. A big goal, a little goal, any goal will do. It could be a “resolution,” or maybe something more short-term. Nothing too complicated or ambiguous, if you can help it. Assumption number two: you’re approaching this goal with some amount of true intention, as in, it’s something you truly want and are willing to work towards. Close your eyes, and bring that goal to mind. Say it to yourself – or even out loud if you want to. Unless you’re in public, that is. If so, pretend you’re on your phone. Picture what success looks like, and feels like. Nice, yeah? Sit with that for a few minutes, until the feeling of having achieved that goal becomes so familiar that you almost forget that you haven’t gotten there yet.
OK, so here’s the hard part. It is a “challenge,” after all. Slowly, gently, bring yourself back to this moment, to this space where the goal is still just that. How’s that feel? I mean, other than the obvious “Um, less good, thanks”? What specific thoughts and feelings arise when you come back to right now? I know it’s not fun, but don’t push them away. You need to understand this terrain before you can move forward towards your goal. Otherwise, you’ll just be heading out with a ton of extra bags, and no valet to help you manage them. Inhale, and when you exhale, let them go. Or if it’s more realistic, “let it be” (JZK). Breathe out the frustration, doubt, and judgement that is fueling your goal-setting, and leave it behind. As Thoreau might have allowed me to spin, travel lightly in the “direction of your dreams.” Your capacity for happiness when you get there will be greater, and you might even enjoy the ride a little more as well.
Photo credit: Peter Belch