How Do You Want to Feel?

Earlier this week, a woman I’ve been working with from lululemon invited me to You’re Goalden: Yoga and Goals Experience. I’ve been doing yoga for about six years, but I’ve never been to a goals workshop.

The event was in the lobby of the hydro building in Downtown Winnipeg,  a glass building that uses 70% less energy than a comparable office building. We did yoga under a canopy of twinkling lights and ended the evening by eating fruit, chocolate, and sipped champagne from goal-wrapped bottles. Who knew an office building could be so glamorous?

To be honest, I was late because I went to the wrong place. So when one of the women running the event handed me a card with the question, how do you want to feel? on it, I didn’t have the chance to ask what it was for. Instead of savasana, we ended up finishing the class huddled around the instructor, listening to her tell her story of overcoming her anxiety about goals. She asked us a series of questions to which we wrote down our answers.

That’s when the how do you want to feel? card clicked.

What do you not want?  — Doubt. Uncertainty. Regret. Settling.

I don’t necessarily feel these things. I have a fear of feeling them, and then I get scared my fear will psych me out of life’s experiences that stray away from things like regret and doubt in the first place.

A fear of a fear. Sound confusing? Meta? Yes, I know.

The words on the card — all of them — stir a feeling inside me. Maybe it’s hope, maybe it’s inspiration, but I’m excited when I read them. I think it’s because I identify with the words on a deeper level; they match the ultimate version of me, the version of me I continuously work to be.

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Which led to the instructor’s next question:

How do you want to feel? — Happiness. Contentment. Ambitious. Adventurous.

So many of us stand halfway through a doorway; between the person we aspire to be and the person who isn’t perfect — the person who sometimes chooses Netflix over a good night’s sleep, Ben & Jerry’s over the gym, or says “Visa please” when your debit card declines. (been there)

We fall short of the person we want to be every day.

And that’s okay. It’s more than okay, it’s normal and inevitable. The sooner you embrace the mindset that you’re always going to have things you wish could change, the sooner you position yourself in a place that attracts fulfillment.

Let’s be clear here: I don’t mean this in the context of lowballing your goals. If there’s something out there you want, go for it; commit to it with confidence and enthusiasm, and use the wise words of Roald Dahl in your moments of self-doubt:

“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it with full speed. Embrace it with full arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good.” 

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I’m writing in the context of external factors we believe we need to finally feel satisfied. Except, satisfaction only lasts so long. It’s fleeting. When we finally achieve a goal, it’s just a matter of time before we make another one. With this in mind, I now notice when I hear people say, “When _______ happens, then I’ll happy,” or “If only ________, then I’d be happier.”

At this particular yoga event we focused on feelings-related goals. You’re Goalden’s instructor asked us, what are the feelings that are non-negotiable for you moving forward?

The key to shifting this mindset is acceptance. Accept the fact that there’s always going to be things you cannot change, and there are going to be places, people, and projects that don’t work out. And sometimes, even with your best intentions, you’ll still let yourself down.

You’re Goalden’s instructor said to ask yourself, “When you have a goal that doesn’t work out, what are you being asked to sharpen?”  

Try visualizing your outcome. Visualize your goal as if it’s already happening.

Return to it every day.

In the context of this blog post, my goals are feelings-related. I never want to wonder “what if” about my life, I want to be certain. But, I also realize that’s not possible for every situation.  Your goals might be different than mine, but we can still manage them the same way.

Acknowledge. Embrace. Release. Move up.

Move forward.

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