For the last 40 years I have been working with people to achieve their goals and enjoy their life’s journey. That sounds easy, but for most people it is not! One of the reasons it is so difficult is that most people are not in the present moment. They are either thinking about the past or worrying about the future.
Over and over, I have heard the phrase from countless people, “I’ll be happy when.... Just fill in the blank: when I grow up, when I get married, when I get divorced, when I graduate, when I get a new job, house, dog, or a new relationship!”
It isn’t that there is anything wrong with realizing you need to move forward with new goals. The problem is that phrase of “I’ll be happy when,” repeated over and over it is like a negative affirmation. It robs you of the present moment and keeps you ungrounded as your focus is on the future! Physically, it would present like you were leaning forward, your whole body would be out of balance!
In addition, the future is most often a glowing light of idealization. In other words, when you think of being happy in the future, there are usually other conditions that are included. Like more money, a lower body weight, happily exercising, wonderful times with friends. The more you focus on idealization the more vivid the pictures are in your mind of things being just the way you want them to be. There is no room for a messy house, or conflict at work or an argument with your partner or kids when you are focused on idealization.
So then, what is your ideal life that you have been thinking about? What do you imagine are the critical elements that will make you happy in the further? As you imagine your ideal life, make a mark on the top of a letter sized paper to illustrate that life. Looking at the paper in front of you, how close are you to that idealized version of your life right now? Place a X where you are now. Are you only an inch away or are you down near the bottom of the page or someplace in between?
What is the meaning of all this, you might ask? The meaning is that the further the distance between where you are now and where your ideal life is, the more stress you feel and the greater the pressure is to achieve it!
So, what is the solution? In my opinion, the best strategy is to begin by lowering your idealized goal and taking one step up from where you are. Let’s use losing weight as an example, since that is a common goal. If you would like to lose 20 pounds, that is a big goal. If you move that idealized loss down to 5 pounds, it is manageable and achievable. So now, focusing on 5 pounds you can step up your habits to move toward that 5 lb loss. Maybe you start eating less ice cream, or less carbohydrates, or reduce your consumption of sugar, or start an exercise program. Perhaps you chose to stop eating after 7PM at night. Any of those examples could be a step up from your current eating habits.
Once you have achieved the loss of the 5 pounds, stay on that plateau for a few weeks, practicing your healthy new habit and then move your idealization up for 5 more pounds. What this requires is patience! In this fast-paced world we want things to happen instantly! And most important goals take persistence and are achieved one step at a time!
The illustration I just gave will work with weight, or money or finding a new career or relationship. The important message is to stop expecting yourself to be your idealized version and therefore always being disappointed!
What would happen if you chose to be happy right now, with yourself, your conditions and the world the way it is? How might you feel inside? No matter what is going on outside of us, we all live inside ourselves.
My name is Linda Frazee and I would be glad to help you stay in the present and achieve your goals at the same time. My website is LindaFrazee.com, where you will have access to free resources and can subscribe to my online program that is filled with education, inspiration, support and connection. Sign up to participate in the Authentic Wisdom Community program!
Intuitive coach for "What Comes Next!"
I am looking forward to staying connected. I respect your privacy and will never share your information. If you prefer to call me direct, please call 602-686-6313.