The Importance of Healthy Friendships

The Importance of Healthy Friendships

The Importance of Healthy Friendships

Invest in Healthy Friendships

The FRIENDSHIP CONNECTION: It’s more apparent than ever how fundamentally important our healthy friendships are to our wellbeing. As a Denver therapist and online life coach, I often speak with my online therapy clients about how empty and meaningless life can feel when they don’t have supportive friends and family with whom to share their journey, celebrate their success, and turn to for comfort and guidance in difficult times. 

Is this true for you, too? If so, developing friendships and creating a supportive, solid friendship network may be an important goal on your overall journey of creating the life you want. But even if the desire for stronger friendships exists, it can be hard to build genuinely healthy friendships — especially as an adult. Why is it so much harder to develop close friendships as an adult? The obvious answer is “because, time.” But here’s a new idea: Most 30+ adults simply don’t prioritize their friendships the same way they did during simpler times of life.

Let’s be real: Many busy, successful professionals to put their cultivation of healthy friendships on the back burner and prioritize everything else instead. When you are juggling kids, a job, a spouse, and a house, it can feel like an indulgence to just “hang out” with friends (either virtually, or in-person). However, what emerging research into evolutionary biology, neuroscience and mental health is uncovering is that prioritizing your healthy friendships, even if it just feels like hanging out, is actually one of the single most important, impactful things you can do with your time and energy.

Fun fact: The non-productive, non-goal oriented time we spend messing around, doing nothing in particular, and simply being together with friends has — wait for it — about the same impact on your health as does quitting smoking cigarettes. But that’s just the start of the avalanche of positive consequences of cultivating healthy friendships. Having friends and being a friend is actually one of the most important things you can do, if your goal is to be a happy, healthy human.

So if you, too, have bought into the idea that “it’s harder to make close friends as an adult” consider this new idea: The biggest obstacle to adult friendships is lack of conscious understanding of the importance of friends. Once you get that, then it gets easier to become committed to putting the time and energy into building positive relationships. (And friendships will follow). 

Why is Healthy Friendship Important? 

Step one is building the understanding of why healthy friendships are so vital. Consider the opposite of friendship: Disconnection. When we’re disconnected from our friends and loved ones it takes a toll, mentally, emotionally, and even physically. We know from research into biology and neuro-science that healthy friendships are a core component of not just enjoying life and feeling subjectively happier, but even having a biological impact on the way our bodies function. 

Scientific facts about friendship indicate that, across the board, people who invest in their friendships experience benefits in many parts of their lives that seem unrelated. There is a measurable connection between friendship and health. For example, people who report having stronger, healthier friendships live longer, have increased immunity to disease, and are often buffered from the chronic stressors that are known to impair your health and wellness.

When we invest in healthy relationships and strong friendships, we are doing just as much to improve our health as we are by exercising, eating well, and yes, even quitting smoking. When you build relationships, you’re preventing health problems — even if it just feels like you’re hanging out and enjoying yourself. (Bonus points for exercising with your friends!)

The Role of Friends in Our Life

We often think of friends as a source of enjoyment, but the truth is that the role of healthy friendships goes much deeper. For example, in supportive, intimate friendships we find a sense of belonging. We also have people we can turn to in moments of hardship and personal stress, or when you’re grieving a loss. While your friends may not be able to do anything to “fix” the situation, the experience of sharing your story with someone who cares may in itself be healing.

Having emotionally supportive people to turn to (whether or not you’re actually talking about “it”) has a measurable impact on our stress levels, both physiological stress and the stress we’re aware of. There is a very well established connection between chronic stress and chronic health issues. If you want to improve your health, it may be more impactful for you to spend an hour a day strengthening your positive friendships than hitting the gym by yourself. Consider it!

Friends and Mental Health

Having healthy friendships is also strongly associated with mental health, as well as physical health. People who feel isolated or lonely are more vulnerable to feelings of depression and anxiety. But even more importantly, having relationships with people who are invested in their own personal growth and mental health can be enormously inspiring for you to take steps to cultivate your own. 

Aside from the chance to talk to friends, which is an emotional buffer in itself, getting out of your comfort zone and opening up to friends increases the chance that you’ll wind up working on yourself. For example, having a good friend tell you that they, personally have found a good therapist and are enjoying therapy makes it much more likely that you will feel comfortable in seeking out your own life coach or therapist online or in person. Being connected to other people who are on a journey of personal growth and self-development lifts you up, too. 

In contrast, if you are close friends with someone who is NOT investing in their own wellness, and who is in the grips of depression or anxiety, it will bemore likely that you yourself will feel worse instead of better. 

So in addition to seeking out healthy friendships with people who are actively on a quest of self-improvement, by taking an active role in your own personal growth and self-development it will also lift your friends up too. You will become a source of inspiration and a role model for people in your friend group who may be struggling. Investing in yourself lifts everyone around you! 

How to Cultivate Relationships & Be a Good Friend

It can be difficult for busy adults to find the time and energy to create new friendships or invest in your existing friendships in order to make them stronger. A fundamental piece of healthy friendships is a cooperative, reciprocal generosity of mutual caring and support. Making new friends and investing in your old friends is definitely a commitment of time and energy. However, it’s a worthy investment that has the power to build and strengthen many aspects of your life as well as theirs. 

Having a good relationship with a friend requires mutual generosity, but cultivating a genuinely supportive social network may also involve recognizing that some of your friendships are not positive and need to be released. There are such things as unhealthy friendships, and if you’ve been in a relationship with a selfish person or someone who’s mental health issues are preventing them from being a good friend to you, it may be time to set some healthy boundaries for yourself. Your focusing on building positive relationships and your own mental and emotional wellness may, longer-term, inspire them to do the same.

Understanding Healthy Friendships, With Lydia Denworth

To support YOU in your understanding of the importance of healthy friendships, and to deepen you understanding of what it really takes to build supportive relationships in your life, I’ve invited science journalist and author Lydia Denworth to speak with me about her new book, “Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life’s Fundamental Bond.”  (Learn more about Lyda and her work at LydaDenworth.com

She shares what her painstaking research has uncovered about why friendships are so important to us, the risks of neglecting your friendships, the impact of friendships on children and adolescents, and — perhaps most importantly — concrete strategies for how to build and nurture your friendships during social distancing.

Specifically, we’re discussing:

  • The impact of friendship on your brain and your body
  • How friendships develop
  • The importance of showing up
  • Why we need our friends in good times and in bad
  • How to help your kids develop healthy friendships
  • How to develop healthy friendships as an adult

Listen to our conversation, to learn about the importance of healthy friendship and how to build strong friendship connections.

xoxo, Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

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The Importance of Healthy Friendships

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Let’s  Talk

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Feeling Trapped? How to Get Unstuck

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Feeling Trapped? How to Get Unstuck

Feeling Trapped By Life? Learn How to Set Yourself Free…

 

Do You Feel Trapped By Your Circumstances? If so, you’re not alone. I see it all the time: People who show up for growth-oriented online therapy and life coaching often do so because they feel trapped, they feel stuck, and they do not know how to move forward.

They say, in their first online coaching session, “I feel trapped in my job,” or “I feel trapped in my marriage,” or “I feel trapped by my life.” What they’re saying is, “I’m unhappy, but I do not see a path forward.” Although they desire change very much, it really feels like in every direction there is a barrier or an insurmountable obstacle. It’s like they have no good options. They are paralyzed.

So they sit on my couch (if we’re meeting for life coaching in Denver) or on my computer screen (if we’re meeting for online life coaching), feeling beaten down, helpless, tense, and often certain in the futility of any effort to create change.

Then, we talk. And we often talk a lot about the obstacles. The many, many obstacles:

  • A career coaching client talks about how much they hate their job but can’t find a different one for various reasons. Or not one that pays as well. Or that they don’t have to go back to school for. Or they’d be totally starting over.
  • A life coaching client might talk about how they want to change their habits but haven’t been successful yet so therefore they can’t ever be. Everything they try to do fails. They have stopped trusting themselves to implement changes, and do what needs to be done to create positive change. They have tried it all. Nothing works. They can’t xyz and have so many reasons why. They are stuck. S T U C K
  • A relationship coaching client needs me to know their relationship feels acrimonious, toxic, not emotionally safe, and not satisfying. Communication is terrible.  They want so much to love and be loved but feel helpless because their partner won’t change. But on the other side, getting divorced feels signing up for a whole new set of terrible problems. And the kids. And the money. And the heartbreak. They feel stuck in a bad relationship that they can’t fix, and they can’t leave.

What to Do When You’re Feeling Trapped

In all of these situations — while the specific circumstances leading these folks to feel trapped are different — the result is the same: It feels like the door to their ideal path has just slammed shut and now they are facing a wall. A high, high wall.

Emotionally, they feel helpless and that their problems feel too big to overcome. Every opportunity quickly becomes a snarl of more problems and negative outcomes, and paralysis takes over.

“Being stuck” becomes a purgatory, and as you can imagine, fertile ground for depression to sink roots and wrap them up in tight black vines of hopelessness. It’s hard to go through, and even as a therapist or coach (hi), it’s hard to watch.

Why does this happen? Most importantly, how do you move past feeling trapped and set yourself free?

Why You Feel Trapped: The “Black and White” Trap

The truth is that when I sit with my therapy or coaching clients, I become very, very aware that 1) their adverse circumstances are very real 2) they may not have great options, and they do have to make hard choices and — here’s the important part — 3) they have more options than they think they do.

If your immediate reaction to that last part was, “NO I DO NOT!” Please, hear me out.

In my experience as a therapist and life coach, and an empathic observer of humans, I have learned that there is a very specific way of thinking that inevitably intensifies feeling of being trapped, and will always make you feel helpless and overwhelmed by obstacles: black and white thinking.

Black and white thinking severely limits available options.

If you’re feeling paralyzed, stuck, or helpless there is a good chance that, at the core, and without even realizing it you might be engaging in “all or nothing” / “yes or no” / “this or that” /  black and white thinking.

When a black or white thought process is active, everything becomes an “either / or.”

“I need to get into this graduate program, but I can’t afford it so I’m destined stay in this unhappy career forever.”

“I’m going out on dates but not meeting people I feel a connection with so I’m going to die alone.”

“I must feel better in order to do something differently.”

“My partner needs to change or I can’t be happy.”

All options are starkly opposed in black and white, and have the power to either save or crush us completely. Words like, “Always,” “Have To,” “Can’t,” swirl inside your head. It’s exhausting.

Whenever someone gets into a stuck, helpless place its almost always because they perceive too few options. Things become polarized: Black and white, yes and no, good or bad.

They have more options than they think they do. It is actually never black or white. Even if they have to choose between two options, they still have a great deal of opportunity to cultivate differences in the way they think about those options, and the way they feel about this options.

But when people are feeling trapped, they do not see that. They can’t. And we’ve all been there: Stuck, disempowered, and feeling trapped.

The black and white mindset that underpins feeling trapped is why people so often need the support of a great, growth oriented therapist or a dynamic life coach to get unstuck. They are not trapped so much by their own circumstances, as they are by their own mental process. However, because we are all limited by our own perceptions, the mental walls we unknowingly create are very real, and very high. It is nearly impossible to scale them alone, without outside perspective.

Great therapy or coaching can sometimes reveal different options and solutions. But what it always does is help you create inner flexibility and a fresh perspective that sets you free from the inside out.

Many decades of research into cognitive-behavioral therapy have shown that the basis for much human suffering can be found in unhelpful ways of thinking. Also, that when people can cultivate more helpful ways of thinking they feel happier, more content and more empowered, whether or not they change their circumstances. (Though often, feeling better mentally and emotionally helps people create actual change).

This is important: Psychological health and happiness is found through mental flexibility, creativity, and openness.

There is always a middle path. When you tap into your own inner power and resources, you will find it. Then, you have so many more possibilities.

How To Liberate Yourself Mentally and Emotionally, When You’re Feeling Trapped

I am going to tell you a secret. I will preface this by saying I’m aware that what I’m about to say can feel impossible when you’re trapped in black and white thinking. If you can’t do this on your own, it’s a good call to connect with a therapist or coach who can help you do this. But here it is:

If you don’t like the options you currently have, insist on more.

Whether you believe this to be true, it is: You have more options than you know. Some of your options may be a bad idea. Some options may be fantastical. Some of your options may go against your core values. Some of them may be so ridiculous they are not even worth entertaining.

But under the heap of terrible, dumb, unthinkable options, there may be a few that are worth entertaining. But you can’t get to those options, unless you give yourself permission to be creative, be weird, think about things you don’t usually think about, and insist on more.

This openness to any and all options is the psychological process of liberating your mind from entrapment. Only when you can set yourself free psychologically, are you able to move forward literally.

Here’s an example:

Did you ever read the story when you were a kid about Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator? (It’s the sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which I know you’ve heard of).

Anyway. At the end of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, if you remember, Willie Wonka has made Charlie the heir to his magical candy empire, and is going to take him on a tour of his new dominion.

They get into the Great Glass Elevator, which Charlie assumes, sanely, will carry them up or down to different levels of the factory. (Up or down. Black or white. Sound familiar?)

However, the wall of the elevator is covered with buttons. Strange buttons. Buttons indicating that this elevator will go not just up or down but diagonally, in circles, side to side, and more.

Willie Wonka gleefully pushes the big red “Up and Out” button which sends them crashing through the roof of the factory and into outer space. OUTER SPACE! What kind of elevator goes into outer space??

One of the characters asks this reasonable question:

“And what keeps it up?” said Grandma Josephine.

“Skyhooks,” said Mr Wonka.

Skyhooks. Skyhooks, as far as I know, are not actually a thing. Perhaps they will be (I have not personally rummaged around in Elon Musk’s desk drawers to look for the notepad with the “List of Things to Think About” I’m sure he keeps.)

But the point is that you, too, get to make it all up as you go along.  We all get to design our own reality. Just like Willy Wonka, nothing exists anywhere — certainly not in your life or mine — unless we think about making it happen first.  The rules that govern our lives are largely our own construction. You have many, many options — we all do.

Getting Unstuck: Cultivate Creativity And Mental Flexibility Like it Was Your Job

Here’s what getting unstuck from the outside in actually looks like, when you do it.

The next time you’re feeling trapped, try taking out a piece of paper and writing down as many alternative options as you can think of. Make them as zany and wildly unrealistic as you possibly can, just to loosen up the thin-lipped British governess that has taken up residence in your head— the one holding two alternatives out to you on a silver tray. Slap them out of her hands and get weird. Brainstorm with abandon.

“I could sell all my possessions and move to a little village in Armenia. In three years I will be mayor.”

“I could quit my job and live in a tent in my next-door neighbor’s backyard.”

“I could make [insert goal here] the sole mission of my life and number one priority every day.”

“I could stand up in the middle of my next team meeting and scream cathartically, throw a chair at my boss’s head, and walk out.” (Not advised. But you could.)

“I could apply to a different school, or change my major.”

“I could break up with this person.”

“I could read some books and learn how to do this thing that seems so impossible. Other people can do it and I can too.”

“I could make it a goal to meet four new people every week.”

“I could save x amount of money every month for the next year, and do the thing I really want to do.”

“I could get rid of my television and use all that extra time to pursue [something important that you feel you don’t have time for].”

Operant point: Start every sentence should start with “I could.”

Of course you will immediately hear the snarky voice of the uptight, uber-rational British governess telling you all the reasons that you can’t.

The correct response to her is, “Shh. Skyhooks.”

Break Free: You Are the Author Of Your Life Story

The truth is that you can actually do pretty much anything you want.

You CAN decide to take out a massive loan and spend every cent riding motorcycles around Australia for the next six months. You could simply stop paying the mortgage on your house and use the proceeds to finance a diet of nothing but the most expensive chocolate money can buy every single day.

You can. No one is stopping you.

Of course, there are consequences to every decision that you’ll have to sort through, obviously, but just getting in contact with the fact that your options are immense is enough to break through the paralysis that is choking your life and creating the stuck-ness that you’ve been feeling lately.

In addition to some foolish ideas that might very well destroy your life if you followed them, your creativity and openness to new ideas will also generate some reasonable, healthy, fresh and exciting new options for you too. Trust me.

What are the skyhooks that could lift you up-and-out of the tiny little cognitive box you’ve been stuffed into?

What could you do?

 
I know that this article and the podcast are not in any way, shape or form a substitute for working with a therapist or life coach (which is what most people who are profoundly stuck really do need). However, I hope this conversation helps you find your way forward, even if it’s just to take the steps to get in touch with a great therapist or coach who can walk with you, help you break out of black and white thinking, help you brainstorm new possibilities, and cultivate the inner strength to transform your life from from the inside out.
 
That is what you deserve!
 
 
 
xoxo,
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast

How to Get Unstuck When You're Feeling Trapped

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Spread the Love Happiness & Success

Please Rate, Review & Share the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Let’s  Talk

 

 

Real Help, To Move You Forward

 

Everyone experiences challenges, but only some people recognize these moments as opportunities for growth and positive change.

 

 

Working with an expert therapist or life coach can help you understand yourself more deeply, get a fresh perspective, grow as a person, and become empowered to create positive change in yourself, your relationships and your life.

 

 

Start your journey of growth today by scheduling a free consultation.

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Achieve The Core Skill Of Not Giving Up

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Steps to Success

As a Denver Therapist and Life Coach, I find that many of my clients start the new year with great intentions, big goals, and hopeful hearts for change. However, so often these same clients find that they have made a long list of life changing and bad habit breaking goals only to find that they are one or two months into their year and still haven’t made any changes. 

This can be such a discouraging feeling, and if you feel this way you’re not alone. I want to share with you the same benefits of goal setting and steps to achieve goals this year that I teach my life coaching clients.

Why Is Goal Setting Important?

Were you inspired to make new goals at the beginning of January? 
Did you see your social media flood with 2019 reviews proudly stating new goals for 2020? 
Did you read news articles explaining the newest trends for goal setting and goal keeping? 
Have you found yourself already letting go of these new habits or ambitions? 

The truth is, setting the goal is the easy part (as you know), but did you know that your goal setting activities might be failing you (and not the other way around)?

Here’s the thing, most new year resolutions are either forgotten or given up on within the first two weeks of setting them. And less than 10 percent of all new year resolution setters achieve their goals by December 31st of that same year.

While you may feel you’re not the only one struggling to be a goal achiever, you may be wondering how there are so many successful people with these odds!

This news may be really discouraging to hear! But the greatest danger I see with setting goals and falling into this common trend of giving up on them within a couple of weeks – is that instead of forming habits to succeed, we are forming habits to fail. 

Think about it. You are learning a pattern of  getting super excited and motivated only to let that motivation slip into inaction just a couple of weeks later.

We have been literally learning to give up on goals. So, instead of setting new goals—since that doesn’t seem to work—why don’t we approach this dilemma with the mindset of setting goals in a new way? 

I want to share with you my favorite approaches to setting defined goals and achieving success. I will also be highlighting the pitfalls I see most often among my life coaching clients’ good intentions but often failed attempts at seeing these intentions through.  

How To Set Goals Efficiently

How do you set your goals? Do you simply make a list of desired habits you hope to achieve by the end of the year or within a certain time frame? You may be motivated to see these goals through, however, if you are in a rut of not achieving your goals, it seems that motivation is not enough. 

Setting goals efficiently requires some goal setting tools. You may be familiar with SMART goals but I want to dive into this style of goal setting and discuss how you can implement this strategy into your daily goals in a realistic and practical way.

SMART goals (for those who may be new to the term) stand for Specific, Measured, Accountable, Realistic, and Timely goals. 

It’s likely that you are already doing many of these aspects of goal setting. In my experience with clients who are wanting to make lasting change, making specific and measured goals is a great place to begin. 

Example: If you want to exercise more, the Specific goal would be the type of exercise, and the Measured goal would be the details around when and how often you desire to accomplish it. 

A Measured goal would be saying I want to exercise 3 times a week. You can get as detailed as necessary, maybe including the time of day, and for how long you wish to exercise. 

More often though, I see my clients missing the last three pieces of SMART goal setting: Accountable, Realistic, and Timely. 

Make Your Goals Accountable

Being accountable and responsible for a goal will help partner with your motivation to accomplish it. 

Here are realistic ways to make your goals accountable:

  1. Share your goal with someone who cares about you (your spouse, a friend, a colleague, your therapist or coach) and is willing to help follow up with on your goals.
  2. Set reminders in your phone, on your agenda, or even ask Siri or Alexa to remind you to check in and keep pursuing necessary steps to achieve your goals.
  3. Join a common interest group that is pursuing the same or similar goals. You can find these groups in your local community, through Facebook, Instagram, and even instructor led classes and podcasts that offer accountability.

Following up with someone who cares about you can be a great way to maintain your new goals longer. When we feel supported, it is easier to be successful with our goals. 

Make Your Steps For Success Realistic

Making unrealistic goals is one of the most cited reasons among my life coaching clients of why they don’t achieve them. It is exciting to set new goals, but sometimes you need to take smaller steps to the big goals in order to actually achieve them. 

Ask Yourself The Right Questions

Ask yourself the following scaling question during goal setting to make more realistic goals: 

“When it is December 31st and I look back on this goal, how often do I honestly think I will achieve it on a scale from 0-100% of the time?” 

If your honest answer is 90% of the time, that sounds like a good goal that will challenge you! If your honest answer is 60% of the time, that sounds like a good time to revise your goal slightly so you can have a higher estimated success rate! 

I want to caution you that this isn’t a time to feel bad about yourself if you think you won’t accomplish it, but rather, a time to be excited that you are making goals in a NEW way that might help you succeed where you haven’t in the past. 

Revise that goal and ask the question again until you feel like you can honestly accomplish it. 

An example might look like moving your measured goal from 3 times of exercise a week down to 2 times per week. 

Eliminate Controllable, Foreseeable Obstacles

Ask yourself, “What obstacles might get in the way of me achieving this goal?” 

With exercise, it may be that you need an exercise partner. Another obstacle might be that you don’t enjoy specific types of exercise, so you end up not doing it consistently. 

If those are true for you, making realistic goals might include adding addendums like finding a gym partner, or taking the time to decide what kind of exercise you like. Take the time to make sure there are no controllable, foreseeable obstacles in the way of your goals as you try to make them realistic for you! 

Avoid The Common “Shooting For The Stars” Success Obstacle

I have a few clients who have told me at this point that they would rather keep their goals higher, even with the chance of not achieving them, so that they also have the chance of making higher goals instead of smaller ones even if they are more realistic. 

I call this the “shooting-for-the-stars” obstacle. If that is you, I will explain later how you can still have the chance to shoot for higher goals in this goal-making process, and I want to advise on why it is so important to make realistic goals. 

In my experience, making realistic goals helps you avoid discouragement, feelings of failure, and feelings of worthlessness. I’m not saying we should avoid acknowledging those feelings if they are there. I am saying that it can be helpful to avoid getting yourself to a place of feeling that way. 

I have seen so many amazing individuals become so discouraged at the idea that they failed a goal, that the guilt and shame of that failure motivates them to simply give up. If we make goals that are smaller to accomplish, then we can leave room for feelings of accomplishment, pride, and satisfaction that will continue to motivate you to accomplish your goal. 

So, once you have created a realistic goal, it is time to look at that “Timely” aspect of goal making. 

Make Your Goals Timely

Making your goals timely means scheduling a time to evaluate how you are doing on your goal. I recommend making this a weekly or monthly event. For you, this may mean evaluating all of your goals on the first Sunday of the month, as an example. 

When you evaluate your goals, see how successful you have been. If for you it was that exercise goal, ask yourself how often you kept your goal of 2-3 times a week. If the answer is close to 100 percent, way to go! 

You can recommit to continuing that goal the same way until your next evaluation, or try and increase it. This is where there is room for those who want to make sure they can achieve those “shooting for the stars” goals, while still being realistic. 

If your answer is less than satisfactory, it may be time to modify your goals to reflect a more realistic challenge for your current situation. 

Keep A Positive And Compassionate Attitude By Re-Framing

If you find yourself still getting into cycles of discouragement that make you want to give up, let’s try to reframe your negative thoughts to avoid that guilt and shame that is so detrimental! 

If you are thinking “I am a failure,” or “I will never accomplish my goals” try thinking instead: 

  • I can try again tomorrow
  • I just need to adjust them slightly
  • I just need more support
  • I can accomplish my goals in the long run, I might need to make them smaller right now
  • I am trying my best
  • I need to be patient with myself
  • Its okay if I don’t accomplish them sometimes, that doesn’t mean I am a failure
  • I am learning how to succeed
  • What obstacles are getting in the way of my goals? How can I modify? 
  • I tried my best
  • I just may need to revise my goals a little bit
  • The goal is progression and I can keep moving forward
  • I didn’t fail, I tried hard and I am getting there

In review, I’ve talked about focusing on 3 parts of SMART goal setting, these include making goals accountable, realistic, and timely.  Make sure the goals are small enough to be realistic, that you have an accountability partner, and that you make times in the future to follow up with yourself or that accountability partner on where you are at with your goals and where you want to be. 

In my experience, these steps can bridge the gap to help you succeed longer, and help you move from not accomplishing goals to a PATTERN OF ACCOMPLISHING GOALS. 

Most of all, I hope that you take the guilt out of it. Guilt and shame have a way of making goals unmet feel like bigger failures than they really are. So, remember the last goal setting tool I want to encourage you in is to stay positive by reframing! If you think, “I failed” at my goal, try reframing your thoughts to one of those ways described above. 

My hope for you is to give you both motivation to keep trying and pursuing the new things you set your mind to at the start of this whole process, and the tools to try them in a new way. 

Good luck! You got this! 
Tacy LeBaron, M.S., MFTC

Tacy LeBaron, M.S., MFTC  is a couples counselor, family therapist, individual therapist and life coach who specializes in helping you improve your relationships, feel more connected, heal and grow through challenging life transitions, and attain your most important goals for your life.

Let’s  Talk

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Achieving Ambitious Goals is a Journey…

At the time I write this, we’re about 30 days into the new year. Ah, February. In addition to being dark, cold, and relatively boring… you’re a heart breaker. Valentine’s Day aside, February often brings the bleak reality of what all those shiny New Year’s resolutions  and “new year new you” aspirations actually look like after a month or so of bashing up against reality.

If you’re feeling a little discouraged right now, I have two really important things to tell you: First of all, you’re not alone. Everyone (everyone!) who attempts ambitious goals encounters obstacles along the way. When you try and make big changes, you start off with high hopes, lots of motivation and energy, and then… drift off the path. Totally normal and expected.

Secondly, this “drift” experience is not just normal — it’s good. I know, I know. When you try something new and then don’t stick to “the plan” it feels like you’ve failed. But really: This is not the moment to slink away in defeat. THIS is the moment to double-down, and dig in.

Having things not work is a gift, one that offers you insight and crucial information… as long as you’re open to it. Making a change and then having the experience of whether or not it works is the reality-based information you require to learn, grow, and revise your approach. Having something not work out the first time is simply an invitation to go deeper, and figure out what achieving your most ambitious goals *actually* requires.

New idea: Having the experience of “failure” is what success actually feel like, in practice. (As long as you keep going!)

How to Achieve Ambitious Goals (Really)

The true path forward — the one that’s hard-won through trial, error, and lots of experimentation — is typically not at all like the path forward we imagined in our heads, before we began taking action.

If you started the new year with ambitious goals and aspirations that are already on life-support, or have been abandoned altogether: CONGRATULATIONS. Only now do you have the real-world information you need to reassess your situation, gain more clarity, and tweak your approach.

To help you figure out how to achieve your most important goals for real, I’ve invited master life coach Laurie Gerber of The Handel Groupto share her tips for how to use setbacks to understand yourself more deeply, and shine a spotlight on the mental, emotional and practical strategies that will help you achieve your most ambitious goals.

Listen and learn:

  • How creating multidimensional, holistic self-awareness can help you uncover blindspots that could otherwise become obstacles.
  • Why the obvious path to change is often not effective (and what often unseen things actually are)
  • How to get your thoughts, feelings and behavior into alignment
  • Different ways of thinking that will help you stay motivated over the long haul

 

I hope that this conversation helps YOU dig deeper, get into alignment, and get clarity about where to refocus your energy.

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

PS: We discussed a number of resources in this episode. One of them is our free Ten Year Plan exercise. If you haven’t done this yet, here’s the link to get the pdf or access to the online version.

 

Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast

How to Achieve Your Most Ambitious Goals

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits: Marissa Anderson, “Resurrection”

Spread the Love Happiness & Success

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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What Does YOUR Future Hold?

“People overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten.”

— Bill Gates

Create Your Ten Year Plan

Have you ever thought to yourself, “What’s my TEN year plan?” It can be difficult to think about your life and your goals on such a long timeline, but it’s important to consider where you want to go, so that you can take positive action to make it happen. It’s incredibly powerful too: You can do SO MUCH in the next ten years.

Truthfully, creating incredible (like, jaw-droppingly amazing) kinds of BIG changes are practically inevitable when you are running a long-game life plan. Things will certainly be different for you ten years from now. But only YOU have the power to guide the arc of change in the direction you want it to go. 

You Have The Power To Create Your Future

Life paths tend to go in one of two directions: Towards growth, which requires cultivation and intention. Or, in the absence of that, the path of least resistance leads to carry us downward, over time. If you’re not paying attention, as many extremely wise people before me have observed, things tend towards “entropy,” (aka, disorder and chaos) unless we’re deliberately putting energy into them. (Stop doing your laundry for a few weeks if you’d like to test my theory for yourself!)

That’s a short term example though. Think about what happens to a home that’s not maintained, or a relationship that’s chronically neglected, or the personal finances of someone who never saves money… over very long periods of time. It’s not good.

It’s very easy to unintentionally create those types of outcomes, through doing what is easiest to do, which is:

  1. Not thinking about what we really want, long term.
  2. Not having awareness about the negative impact of some of our daily decisions on our long term goals.
  3. Not having clarity about what, specifically, we need to invest our time and energy in to get there.

That’s the effortless path. The path towards growth, advancement and success can also be surprisingly easy to do, but only if you know the critical keys to success.

The Keys To Success: Clarity + Action

The key to achieving real and lasting success in life, in love, and in work is to understand that small things, over time, lead to big things. Understanding that basic principle and working with it, will allow you to achieve amazing things with much less effort than you might think.

This type of practice is even more powerful when it is done in alignment with your core values and your full awareness of what is really and truly most important to you. That may sound obvious but take it from an experienced life coach and therapist: A lot of people are spending a lot of time and energy attempting to achieve goals that — upon deeper exploration — are not genuinely meaningful and important to them. (Please see “Design Your Life Around What Matters Most” for more on this subject.)

Knowing who you are, what is most important to you, and what you really want is only the first step though. Then, you have to pay close attention to what you do. 

Your life — ALL of our lives — are absolutely filled with those teeny-tiny moments that will either carry us towards our ideal future, or away from it. If you’re clear about where you want to go and you have clarity about what you need to do (and NOT do) to create that, you’re empowered to actively create your future reality.

My Ten Year Plan Tool: Free, Easy, and YOURS

To assist you in getting the clarity you need about where you want to go, what types of activities will take you there (as well as clarity about what will pull you off your happy path) I have created something special for you: a free planning tool called “My Ten Year Plan.” Here’s how it works.

Step 1: Listen to the “How to Create Your Ten Year Plan” episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast (player is below) to cultivate a long-game, growth-oriented mindset and learn how to use the ten year planning tool.

Step 2: Sign up (above or below)  to allow me to send you:

  • Our free, online Ten Year Plan tool that you can use on your phone, tablet or computer.
  • Or, if you’re a paper-person, access to our free, downloadable pdf worksheet that you can print out and use to create your plan.

Step 3: Walk through the “My Ten Year Plan” activity!

You’ll be prompted to answer thought provoking questions to help you:

  • Uncover your most important values
  • Develop appreciation for how powerful you are
  • Understand your most significant strengths and growth opportunities
  • Get clarity about what you want for your future
  • Create an action plan to create your ideal reality… ten years from now.

I sincerely hope that this Ten Year Plan activity empowers you make your life — ten years from now — exactly what you want it to be.

Your partner in growth,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast

How to Create Your Ten Year Plan

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits: Citay, “On The Wings”

Spread the Love Happiness & Success

Enjoy This Episode? Please Rate, Review & SHARE the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Let’s  Talk

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