I have a confession to make… y’all… I was a hot mess. Not that many years ago my life was one crisis after another. I was a people pleaser and a perfectionist, and I had completely given up on setting goals. I mean, that’s what happens when you consistently quit, fail, or hard reverse on your goals for basically your entire life. To be honest there was no room for my goals in my life, there wasn’t really even room for me. I had gotten to a point where I didn’t have the first clue what my goal might even be. I just didn’t know what I even wanted anymore. And then… all of a sudden… I became a goal crusher. Wouldn’t it be nice if it really were that easy? Here’s what really happened.
The End All Be All Crisis
I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that my lifestyle simply wasn’t sustainable. I was going from one crisis to another and burning the candle at both ends. And by crisis I don’t mean your average everyday stuff. I mean 3 of my children almost died over a 5-year period. And since I’d dedicated everything in me to raising them and raising them well, I was in a full-on existential crisis. In addition to that I was still running a home and business. And I was terrified to say no or set boundaries of any kind, so I was still overdoing for everyone with even the slightest whim. And that’s when it happened…
I became VERY ill. It was a long and difficult process to figure out what was going on with my health and one that required that I turn my full attention toward myself. And guess what y’all, that’s when I noticed I needed a change. Not just any old change… but a drastic shift. I had to get healthy and stay that way.
The Unavoidable Goal
This created the unavoidable goal in my life. The one I couldn’t quit or reverse. The one where failure was simply not an option. I needed a serious life overhaul no matter who it might inconvenience. At this point I’d love to tell you that I gave myself tons of grace and patience but that isn’t what happened at all. I went in full force as I always have. I did all the things… and by all the things, I mean ALL. I completely changed my diet, sleep habits, increased my exercise routine and started taking supplements. Now… not all of this was necessary, I really only needed the diet and supplements along with follow up appointments, but I mean, if you’re going to do it… why not do it right?
My Personal War
I did get better. My health improved and I was able to start taking the time I needed to care for myself and address my needs. Through this process I discovered ways to say no and manage my time better. But here’s the thing, despite my improvements I didn’t recognize that I had achieved my goal. Instead, I shifted my focus back to my disappointment with my body. How much I hated it and the way I looked. I started looking for ways to lose more weight and “firm up those flabby bits”. Now mind you… my chronic condition impacts my thyroid but, no matter, I persisted without a second thought to how I might unravel my progress.
The Aha Moment
I was falling back into my usual goal trend and doing all the mountains of research so I could be certain of perfection when I came upon my aha moment. I’ve told this story time and time again and it still gets me in the feels because it changed my life.
I was watching a documentary about health (obvi) and they announced that they were going to share the surefire way to lose weight and keep it off for good. I thought this was my magic ticket and was eager to learn this super-secret nutrition hack. Was it a newly discovered superfood? A supplement? A special new diet? (None of which should I have been messing with by the way). NOPE! It was affirmations… SERIOUSLY… affirmations! You can learn all about my affirmation journey here. But let me summarize by telling you that it wasn’t the tip I was looking for or expecting. But, no one feels that convicted and intensely avoidant of something that doesn’t really matter to them. My response was visceral. And that’s how affirmations became not only my first small step but also the first part of The Small Step Method.
The Birth of a New Way
I didn’t want to admit that I needed affirmations. That I was struggling with my boundaries, self-esteem, confidence, health, (I mean, I could go on all day here) because I didn’t believe in myself, didn’t believe I was worthy or deserved my own time and attention let alone anything else. I didn’t want to believe that I was stuck in a self-punishment cycle. That I was actually setting myself up for failure with my giant mind blowing, unsustainable goal plans and then furious with myself when I couldn’t accomplish the unaccomplishable. But… I had to. And I had to make a change.
So… these are the things I did…
- Recommitted to my health plan as laid out by my doctor.
- Became intentional about how I was spending my time so I would have some for myself.
- Created an affirmation practice.
- Started checking in with myself to see what I might need or what my intuition might be telling me.
- Started doing 30-day personal challenges to create new habits that would build confidence and help me get a handle on my life stuff.
- Then… wait for it… I started stacking my 30-day challenges to create bigger goals.
And THAT is how the next phase of The Small Step Method came to be.
I realized that I was far more likely to reach my destination or accomplish my goal if I just took one small step at a time. And I also came to see that if I did it this way my goals would actually stick. As in I could maintain them with very little effort. I started applying this method to everything I wanted to do. Being very intentional about breaking it all down into small steps was working and my confidence was growing.
That’s when it happened… something in my gut told me that I had to start sharing everything I had learned. Surly I was not the only person on the planet who struggled in this way and others needed to know there was something better. I wanted to be a beacon of hope to those who felt stuck, undeserving, frustrated, humiliated, overwhelmed, and alone. I wanted to be the person I so desperately needed in my most difficult times.
And what better way to do that than through a blog!
If only I could use a computer… and wasn’t a techniphobe… and didn’t want to puke every time I thought about it!
Listen… in theory this whole affirmations, small step thing worked. You know, when I was applying it to everyday life stuff. But I had no idea what would happen when I tried to apply it to something really hard, that had lots of moving pieces, that I was SUPER afraid of. To be honest I didn’t have a high degree of confidence that it would work because it just seemed too simple to apply to something so huge. And I was pretty certain I was facing impending doom. None the less, I knew in my gut that creating this blog was my next big goal. It was the thing I was meant to do (though I didn’t have a clear idea why or where it would lead). So… I figured, why not give it a shot.
I’d love to tell you at this point that it all went super smoothly. That I was super confident going in because I was doing my affirmations and my small steps. But the truth is, it was anything but simple. You see, it turns out I’m the kind of learner who doesn’t retain much that I learn from a screen. Virtual school was never an option for me. The thing is virtual school didn’t exist when I was growing up, so I didn’t know that. When faced with this reality I didn’t think “oh well, I’ll create a more conducive learning environment for myself.” Instead, I thought “what’s wrong with you, you’re never going to be able to do this”.
YIKES… after all those affirmations, I was struggling with these nasty negative thoughts. And here’s the thing it wasn’t just this, it was one thing after another. Each week was a new challenge (struggle), each week more self-doubt and I was punishing myself BIG TIME! BUT I was also completely committed. So, basically the whole thing was making me feel a little nuts. I mean, why couldn’t I just quit already!
So… I’d love to take credit for this, the final step of The Small Step Method, but I can’t. I was having a complete meltdown, in front of my husband and one of my kids (*GULP*). I was going on and on about what a failure I was, how I would probably quit anyway. How I’d never accomplished anything in my life, why did I expect this to be different… you know, I was on a full on beat yourself to a pulp rant. And by the way, this had never happened in front of one of my kids before so there was this look of utter shock, fear, and horror on their face, but I just couldn’t stop. (Not my proudest moment, but I’m being super vulnerable here).
And that’s when it happened. My husband interrupted my rant and said… but that’s not true at all… look at all you’ve accomplished, and I was all like… you’re right and I feel so much better. NO! I was not… get back to reality with me… of course that’s not what I said! I was actually pretty frustrated that he wouldn’t just validate my self-loathing, gave up trying to convince him, and went to enjoy my meltdown alone.
Sometime later, when I had settled myself and realized that I just couldn’t quit… though I really, REALLY wanted to and that there was probably a lesson in here somewhere, I decided to actually write down my accomplishments. And then I thought… whoa, he’s right, I feel so much better! For REAL. I realized that this tracking your accomplishments thing was a total game changer.
I ended up building that blog (obviously… you’re reading it now) and launching it on schedule. I filled it with all the things I’ve learned along the way. And in the meantime, I reshuffled my household responsibilities, wound down my other business, launched my youngest kid, became a grandma and so much more. All while using the small step method. Each and every day…
- Say my affirmations!
- Take one small step!
- Write my accomplishments!
Then it happened again… another gut feeling that I needed to branch out, offer more support, and create deeper connections. Next thing I knew I was writing 3 life tool books (Planner, Prompted Journal, and Health Tracker) so I could help others create the lives they wanted too. I even wrote a health ebook. And before I knew it, I was launching a coaching program and turning those books into an App. I had become a goal crusher by utilizing The Small Step Method!
Life as a Goal Crusher
There is not a day that goes by that I don’t celebrate the progress and impact we’ve made. Not a day that goes by that I don’t wake up feeling purposeful and fall asleep feeling proud. Gone are the train wreck days filled with overwhelm and chaos. And not because my life is perfect, and I no longer face challenges or crisis. My real-life responsibilities haven’t disappeared. But now I feel completely empowered to face anything that comes my way with The Small Step Method (even the insanity that was 2020) and you can too!
Isn’t it time to become a goal crusher and start celebrating your life EVERYDAY???
What part of your life would you like to improve? Tell me in the comments.