If you’ve been following along with me for a while, you probably already know that I am all about setting big, stretchy, super-potent goals.

I do this for myself and also encourage my clients to do the same, which often means helping them realize their full potential while guiding them to break beyond their comfort zone and go for their big, dreamy visions. What I don’t talk about as often, but believe is equally important, is ensuring that whoever is setting the goal actually has the bandwidth to hold what they are striving for. In other words, sometimes I see people create goals that are beyond their ability to hold all that the goals entail emotionally.

Let’s say for example you want to go from earning six figures a year to one million. Of course, I believe this is entirely possible, but I would encourage you to first check-in to see if you are able to handle all the difficult emotions that would come with the pursuit of earning a million dollars per year, and the new-found challenges of both having and keeping it.

When we set goals that are a bit too high, our central nervous system is not always on board with this and can actually find ways to sabotage our efforts. It’s akin to throwing someone into the deep end of the pool when they are not entirely confident in their ability to swim – it’s just too much for us to handle. Unanticipated obstacles emerge or conflict arises that we are simply not equipped or prepared to handle. This drastic leap and the accompanying “failures” can then lead us to feel shaken and scared to try again. For some, this can even be traumatic.

Now, let me be clear that I’m not discouraging you from setting large goals. In fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth! I genuinely believe that each and every one of you reading this has the potential to make all of your dreams a reality. However, you need the proper tools to do so. So, what I encourage my clients to do and what I’m encouraging you to do is set that big goal – but then check-in.

Check-in with yourself emotionally and see if any major part of your psyche is not on board with what you are trying to pursue. It is normal to feel some fear, trepidation, and insecurity when doing something new, but if these feel super intense, that may be a sign to take it down a couple of notches.

There is nothing wrong with setting smaller goals, aka taking smaller steps, on your way to something great. Instead of shooting for a full-marathon, start with a 5k and slowly work your way up from there. A coach friend of mine recently posted this quote which relates to this concept really well:

“Until success feels safe in your body you’ll find a way to protect yourself from it and call it ‘sabotage’.”

If our body – specifically our central nervous system – is not on board with what we are pursuing, we will find a creative way to shut it down. And in many cases, we don’t even realize what’s happening! Prevent this by taking the time to check in with yourself and make sure you are comfortable confronting and handling all the emotions that may come your way as a result of achieving (or not achieving) your big, juicy goal.

You don’t have to get thrown into the deep end to learn how to swim. You can take your time and do it in a way that serves you. With the right tools and mindset, you’ll learn that the journey is part of the fun!

This can be a tricky balance to strike between stretching yourself and settling, but including regular check-ins and being really honest with yourself will help guide you along the way. And if you want support from a coach, you already know I would love to help you sort it out. You can schedule a sacred hour with me here so we can connect and chat about how I can help.

Now get out there and go after your goals!

Mind Your Strength,

Melanie Shmois

Melanie Shmois, MSSA, LISW-S

Melanie Shmois, MSSA, LISW-S, is a licensed social worker, holding a Master’s Degree (MSSA) from Case Western Reserve University and a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Spanish. After spending 2 decades helping others achieve their mental and personal goals, Melanie worked with Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo, and became a certified Life and Weight Coach through the Life Coach School.


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