Many people set goals believing that once they attain their desired results they will feel a certain way.
Think of the last person you spoke to who said something like, “When I lose ten pounds, I’ll feel better about myself.” Or “I’ll be happy when my business is making $XXXXX per month.” Maybe that person is you. Success is not really about the size of your bottom or the bottom line of your business. It’s about how you think you’ll feel when you reduce the number on the scale by ten pounds or increase your revenue by a certain amount.
What if we stood that thought pattern on its head? What if instead of delaying your good feelings until after your result was achieved, you let yourself feel good about it now?
There’s a way to do this – it’s the power of living in alignment with your desired outcomes. Here are six strategies to make your desired results your reality.
Design Your Outcomes
Outcomes are more expansive than goals; they relate to your bigger picture. Outcomes tap into powerful feelings like pride and satisfaction. In my work with leaders and entrepreneurs, desired outcomes tend to cluster around themes like freedom, contribution, legacy, influence, creativity and self expression. The freedom of enjoying a healthy lifestyle now and into the future is more compelling than the onerous task of losing ten pounds right now.
When you turn the desire to lose ten pounds and the assumed good feelings upside down, it’s not really about the ten pounds. It’s about feeling vibrant, strong, energized and healthy. It’s about the pride and satisfaction of running your body and your business well. If that means you change size, or feel different in your clothing, or have more money in the bank at the end of the month, so be it. These are natural results of aligning with your desired outcome.
Get to Know Yourself
A little bit of self awareness goes a long way if you want to create lasting results.
People make change when one of two things happen: their fear of staying the same or their desire for something different becomes greater than their resistance.
I owned and operated a gym for a several years. When I reflect back on the few of our hundreds of members who achieved lasting transformational results, they l had one thing in common. Their inner shift had happened before they walked through our doors. Whether it was a health scare or a big life change like a child on the way or impending retirement, something had flipped an internal switch. Whether it was fear or desire, that something is emotion.
The good news is you don’t have to wait for external motivation to spark your transformation. A more proactive approach is to engage your emotions with clear compelling outcomes.
Define Your Results
If outcomes are like the tip of an iceberg, results are the first layer below the water’s surface. Results are measurable – they happen or they don’t happen. In this framework, losing a pound is a result. But so is being able to lift more weight, do more push-ups or be able to hold a longer plank or yoga pose.
Look for a variety of results to play for. How else might your body change if you’re on your way to your healthy lifestyle outcome? Will you have more endurance? Will headaches or back pain from sitting at the computer or driving long distance diminish? What about changes in your skin or your sleep patterns?
Create a robust list of results that will let you know when you are on the right track. If one of them falters, look at your full array of results to assess what is happening – or not happening – before you become frustrated. Frustration is the opposite of how you want to feel; it increases the likelihood you’ll give up before you realize your results.
Align Your Actions With Your Results
With your outcomes and results defined, you’re ready to focus on the doing. You are a unique human being. Your path is yours to design. Others have gone before you and can be sources of information and inspiration. There are universal principles that apply to your body and your business. But ultimately, you have the agency to choose what is sustainable for you.
Many entrepreneurs find themselves with health results that are inevitable when business has consumed a disproportionate amount of their time and energy. One of the first things to go is often their wellness regimen. During a recent coaching session, one of my clients declared going to the gym three times each week as one of her new recurring actions.
As noble as this intended action sounded, her primary desired outcome is to feel calm and less overwhelmed. Prepared for a yes or no, I asked her, “Is this sustainable for you right now?” Upon further exploration, we designed two other recurring actions she will integrate into her week before layering on the gym. It won’t take long before she has created the capacity in her days to make room for three workouts each week.
The key to aligning your actions with your desired results and outcomes is to make them sustainable for you.
Harness the Power of Your Environment
On the journey of conscious life design, the power of your environment is fundamental to your success. Your environment is dual in nature; it can be an obstacle or a superpower.
Whether it’s the people you spend time with, your physical environment, or your mindset, you have a two way relationship with your environment. You are simultaneously influencing it and becoming it. Understanding this dichotomy is a source of great power. It becomes your superpower when you upgrade your environment knowing you will in turn adapt to it.
There are many implications for this two way relationship beyond the saying “You become the five people you spend the most time with.”
Ask yourself questions about your environment on a regular basis:
- How does this person or place make you feel?
- Is this the surface of a desk that belongs to a thriving business owner? (not the desk itself, the clutter on it!)
- Are these the contents of a fridge that belongs to a vibrant, healthy person?
- Is this the moment you go upstairs to write this article, or do you need to go to grocery shopping first to set up your nutrition for the week?
Asking yourself environmentally aware questions can make the distinction between whether that trip to Costco was a diversion, or if it powered up an environment in support of your recurring actions.
Subtle changes in how you relate to your environment can make the difference between empowering yourself or expending extra energy powering through great resistance. Surround yourself with strength. Use your creativity to carve out the path of least resistance in your environment. Your results will thank you later.
Cut Yourself Some Slack and Give Yourself Some Grace
Nobody is perfect or has their life mythically “in balance” one hundred percent of the time. There are periods of time in your life when the many things you value will compete for priority.
Knowing which recurring actions must happen to create or sustain your results is potent. One of my clients has a clearly defined Plan B day for when chaos hits the fan. When it became clear that most days were Plan B days, it gave her the freedom from overwhelm that she needed to thrive. Instead of trying to bend her busy life around an unrealistic Plan A day, she learned to be grateful and celebrate when they did happen. She felt better about herself and her results skyrocketed with a commitment to having a Plan B day five days out of seven.
I borrowed my most recent cut-myself-some-slack strategy from my years of long distance running. More tortoise than hare, I ran six half marathons using a “ten and one” approach where you run ten minutes then walk one minute. Three weeks into a disciplined nutrition routine, I was beginning to get bored, frustrated and distracted by the chocolate I “can’t have”.
Looking at what has worked in the past, I’ve given myself permission to break with discipline once every ten days. A ten to one ratio is sufficient to achieve the results I’m looking for. The boredom, frustration and distraction of self-denial is more likely to sabotage my results than a reward of dark chocolate every ten or eleven days.
Many women who choose the entrepreneurial path are wired for perfection. The inevitable fall from this impossible standard sets off patterns of self sabotage and feelings of unworthiness. If this describes you, please learn when to give yourself at least as much grace as you would someone else in your situation. The longer I am on this journey the more certainty I have that success truly is an inside job. Success begins and ends with the way you feel.
Laura Tucker is a Leadership Coach and the host of the Free Your Inner Guru Podcast. Laura’s mission is to support conscious entrepreneurs to become the leader they want to see in the world. Looking for a way to start using these strategies? Download the Free Your Inner Guru Guidebook (lauratucker.com/guidebook)
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