Goals that feel good with Jen Lewis

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By February most New Year’s resolutions will have fallen by the wayside. But what if you could think about your year in a way that felt motivating, exciting, and aligned - and set you up so that you could not fail? 

My friend Jen Lewis has been developing and implementing a goal setting tool for eight years that has transformed her life - from leaving her marriage, coming out as gay, starting her own business, and buying a home. Jen credits the big changes she’s made to her goal setting approach: goals that feel good. It all comes down to focusing on one word and then building off of that. 

Every day I think about how to make it easier to build an energizing career you love. And a big part of that is learning to tune into yourself, trust yourself, and take actions towards building against that. Jen’s approach to goal setting facilitates that - it’s a simple way to get into alignment with what’s most important to you.

Jen is British and has lived in New York for eight years. She started her career in marketing and advertising and today is the COO of Lex - an app that helps you find LGBTQ+ friends & community - as well as an advisor to other businesses in the sexual, wellness, and dating spaces. On the side Jen is a painter, a writer, and an avid traveller who is always on the move. 

Find her on Instagram @jenlewis27

Access Jen's Tool

In this episode we discuss.

  • How to create one word that is your anchor point for the year.
  • How to set aligned goals
  • How to take incremental actions against those goals
  • Expanding what you see as possible through conversation
  • How to unblock limiting beliefs
  • What to do when you fall off the wagon with your goals

Related episode


Welcome to the career studio podcast, where we boil down the noise and focus on the core concepts, essential for building an energizing career you love. One that is simply an extension of who you are and how you wanna live your life. Anyone can do it. It's just a matter of knowing what to focus on.

Anne: Hi, my guest today is my friend Jen Lewis.

Jen is originally British but has lived in New York for eight years. She started her career in marketing and advertising, and today is a C O O at Lex, an app that helps you find L G B T Q friends and community. She's also an advisor to other businesses in the sexual wellness and dating spaces. On the side, Jen's a painter, a writer, and an avid traveler who's always on the move.

Jen and I discuss the goal setting tool she has developed that has changed her life. And if you like what you hear in the episode, you can download the tool in the show notes. Let's jump right into it.

Jen. Hi. Thank you so much for coming onto the podcast.

Jen: Thanks, Anne. I'm excited to be here.

Anne: Perfect. I think I, I wanted to set the stage for everyone, kind of how this conversation came about. Jen, and I went down to Costa Rica for New Years, and we had a long drive from the airport to the little surf town. We were going to Nosara. And during that ride, we kind of had a conversation about our goals for the year, what we were thinking about for 2023. And for those of you who listen to my podcast about the setting achievable goals, you'll know that I wanna focus just on a few things, and as I was kind of listing those out, I don't know, maybe I was a little burned out from the year, but the goals themselves just felt very heavy. Like I didn't feel excited about them. And Jen told me about her own approach, and as she told me about it, I, I really just fell in love with it.

It's just so motivating, structured, organized, clear, and I think as, as someone who's constantly thinking about, how do I help people connect to themselves, feel grounded, create a career and a life that feels in alignment to the person that you are and the person that you want to be. I feel like what you have been doing in the way that you think about your goals for the year really facilitates exactly that.

So thank you for writing it all out and codifying it for me in preparation. And, um, I think by the time we're releasing this, it's gonna be February and a lot of people's New Year's resolutions will have fallen by the wayside. And I think part of the reason that will have happened is because they don't have this approach.

Jen: Great, thanks Anne. So this is actually a process that I have been doing for eight years now, since 2016. And it's really been life changing for me, uh, to say the least. And that's for two reasons. One, it's really allowed me to set up my year ahead. And it's really helped me achieve where I wanna go. And if I think back to where I was in 2016 versus to where I'm now, the kinda, the life changes that I've made in that time have really been pretty dramatic.

And a lot of that is to do with, uh, this process. And more than looking forward. It's also been a really amazing tool, a really powerful way for me to look back over my life over those last eight years and really see each year through a really distinct lens. And it's really given me a kinda, a really great tool for reflection.

And a little fun fact is that actually all of my tattoos have been inspired by one of my words of the year. I don't have, I don't have one for every year right now, but it's just been a really kinda nice memento for myself. It's worth saying that this has been tweaked and evolved over time. I encourage you to take what works for you and leave the rest, and I have borrowed from some other people's work.

I've been inspired by lots of really great thinkers and teachers and coaches. So in the show notes and the document that we will share, I have put references if you want to learn more.

Anne: Perfect. I love that fact about your tattoos. I've forgotten that. And that's really, I think it just shows the power of what you've created.

Jen: Yeah, it's been a, it's been really powerful. And actually it's really great to be sitting here talking to you about it, Anne, because I've been doing this for a long time and over that period I've shared this with people anecdotally, and I've had partners and friends kind of like take versions of it and apply it, and I've had a lot of success, so I'm really excited to share it to more people.

Anne: Perfect. Let's get into it. Why don't you just introduce the whole concept, cuz it all comes back to a word and I think that's really what's the most powerful. And so I'd love you to kind of introduce it with that in mind and maybe give some of the examples so people can first get a feel for what it's about.

And then we can talk about more of the specifics about how you create the word and then how things cascade from there.

Jen: Great. So. If you wanted a headline for what this whole podcast is about, it's really goals that feel good. And it's really centered on that idea of feeling and intentions and being really thoughtful and intentional about how we set our tasks for the year ahead.

And the reason I came to this is that traditional goal setting and new year's resolutions just didn't work for me. They set me up for pass or fail. I found that when I only focused on the doing, you know, go to the gym five times a week, I either hit a goal or I didn't hit it, and often life got in the way and I didn't hit my goals.

I felt demotivated and I went off track. And what's really powerful about this way of working, really having kind of a word, a theme for the year and intention is that it really focuses on not just what you're doing, but how you're being, how you're showing up in the, in the world. It's really focused on a core value.

And what that means is that you can always reset and refocus. You cannot fail. There is absolutely zero way you can fail if you follow this process. And we find ourselves much more motivated to act and we still get to our goals. We do it in a way that feels good.

Anne: I love that. Yes.

Jen: So I can give you a recap of some of, I'll, I'll run you through my words for the last eight years, and I'm gonna dive into a couple of years just to give you some, um, context.

So my word for 2016 was integration. 2017 was growth. 2018 was bravery. 2019 was surrender. 2020 was grounding. 2021 was clarity 2022 was building, and my word for this year is expression. And I'm just gonna go back to the year 2018. And the word bravery. And that was really a, and I think this is a really powerful way of showing like how this intentionality can play out in expected ways and unexpected ways.

So when I set that intention for myself, how I wanted to feel that year was I wanted to feel brave. I wanted to do things I was afraid of. I wanted to take risks and the specific goals I had within that year about being brave were about being brave In my career, I wanted to, I wanted to transition from advertising to startups.

I wanted to be brave in my creative practice. I wanted to start blogging or start kind of showing up more on Instagram, and I had a load of goals around being brave, and I achieved those goals. I quit my job. I left set up my company, but some really, because I had this intention of bravery for the year, actually, the way that the year turned out was I ended up being brave in loads of other ways.

It was the year that I realized I was gay. I left my marriage. I quit my job by set own company. I went nomadic. It was a really powerful year for me, and it was all through this lens of being brave and taking risks.

Anne: So, yeah, let's just stop there because I, I mean, I think that's such a powerful example.

And what I love about the story as well is that you didn't necessarily set out to do all those things that you listed out. It's almost like they transpired because you'd set that intention.

Jen: Yeah, and I've, I've found that this has happened to me in, in many years, so 2021, my year was clarity, and that was cause I wanted to know, like what job to take.

I wanted to make decisions about where to live, the relationship I was gonna be in, and some of that stuff I could plan out and some of it I couldn't, but because I had this intentionality that, this year, all I had to do was get clarity. All I had to do was make decisions. It meant that as new things unfold, as new things were thrown at me and new challenges, I was really able to look at it through that lens of like, I just need to make a decision. I just need to get clear.

Anne: Yeah. I mean, and this is what I think is, is just so powerful is, is connecting everything to an overarching word or feeling as you said, because I think it just gives, as you said at the start, this kind of grounding to house all of your ambitions and goals for the year. For me, it's like really structured.

You've added also then that you can't fail. And now we're also talking about this language around almost opening yourself up to new things that you didn't even set the intention for. And I'll just add here to bring it back to my anecdote in Costa Rica, when Jen and I were talking, you know, some of my big goals for this year are to increase my podcast listeners by X percent, right? And to launch a group program as part of my business and to kind of increase the amount of activity I'm doing in certain networks in New York City, like the surfing community, the psychedelic community, the music community. But in talking about all of those goals, which are very singular and focused.

it still felt, they still felt heavy. Like, I don't know, like how am I gonna do them? This feels hard. And in talking with you, what we realized all of those things had in common was this desire I have to connect more. Right? And for me, in realizing that the theme in all of the things I'm trying to do is connection.

This has allowed me to connect, but connect more to myself and what's important to me, and almost give my goals this kind of higher purpose that feels simple.

Jen: Yeah, I think the, the singular word is, It's, it's very easy to remember. It's really simple. It's something that can ground you every single day.

You can wake up and say, how am I gonna be brave today? How am I gonna get clarity today for you? And, you know, how am I gonna connect today? And it really gives you this really simple way to, to find success every day. And again, it comes back to that idea of you can't fail. Because at any moment of any day, you can like reset yourself the intention and make the smallest choice or the smallest action that really supports that intention you set for yourself.

Anne: Yeah, I think that's so important, this idea that you can't fail because I think that's why so many people do fail. That's right. Because they set out these goals that are so big and then success only looks like if they cross that bar. Um, so giving yourself something that can be applied in, all size dosages, right?

Small and little, and every day you can decide what it means to you. Opens up the metric for success.

Jen: Mm-hmm. . Absolutely.

Anne: Yeah. Maybe, maybe we can talk a little bit more specifically about how you actually come up with the word that you want. Especially I think it's interesting because so much of what you create isn't necessarily planned to begin with, so Yeah. How do you come about or how do you think of the word each year?

Jen: So for me, because I've been doing this for so long towards the end of the year, it's something that I start to think about and often it comes to me fairly organically. Um, I muse on a few words and it just becomes clearer and clearer what that word is for me.

But that's because I've been practicing this for a long time and you know, the more you do it, the more it'll become like second nature. But if you are starting from scratch, I suggest you get out a notepad and pen and ask yourself a couple of questions, which I can go through.

Anne: Okay? Sure.

Jen: Cool. Um, so how do you set your word for the year?

So really it's about getting everything down on paper. And I would ask yourself two questions. What do I wanna do this year and how do I wanna feel? And just use those two prompts and get everything down. And this can be, you can write the smallest things. Like I wanna go to the gym five times a week to the biggest things like, I want to have a baby, I want to get a new job.

Um, and the same with the feelings. It can be the smallest things. It can be, I want to feel alert and excited for the day When I wake up to, I want to feel more compassionate with my family and I wanna be kinder to my children. Um, these can really be both big and small kind of things and really just nothing at this point.

Just get everything down on paper. And I like to do this handwritten, so I kind of like write on my ideas and see them together. And then it's really taking a step back and looking at all of these and working out, is there, is there a theme here? Is are these connecting in some way? Um, you know, actually, are all these ideas really about growth and how I want to learn and try new things?

Or perhaps, you know, is my goal to save money and get promoted at work and buy a house really about my desire for structure and stability. So it's really about getting everything on paper, what you wanna do, how you wanna feel, and then zooming out and try and look for a core theme.

Anne: So, I mean, I think that this is really where, to your point earlier, this is the most important part.

Cuz once you have a, a word that feels good and that you feel excited by, then, like, and you're gonna get into it, into the in as we talk about it more. But then you can kind of create goals around that.

Jen: Yeah. And I think for this, if you're getting stuck on a word, um, but you know the tangible things, you want to achieve it, you can ask yourself, why do I wanna achieve that?

What is the feeling behind that? Or if I achieve this goal, what's that gonna create for me? How am I gonna feel? And I think that's really a nice way of kind of moving backwards from the goal to the feeling.

Anne: I love that. Okay, so once you have the overarching one word, , what do you, what do you do next?

Jen: Yeah, so once you have your word and before you move on from your word, the things that you wanna kind of run through your head is, is it really simple?

Can I remember it? Can I tell someone else about it? Is it immediately gettable? Does it feel like uniquely you, does it feel really true to yourself? Maybe it feels a little scary and, I think this is a really important point, just to pause and think that sometimes your word might feel scary. You know, for me, my word is expression and that feels a little scary for me this year, and I think that is, you know, this is always, this is gonna be part of the person that you wanna become, not just the person you are now.

Anne: Yeah, I think that's such a good point. I mean, you know, you, you'll know, I think you'll know when you have the word cuz it'll feel exciting. But it's normal to also have fear mixed in there. Right? Because you, if you're growing into someone new, there's always gonna be some uncertainty and some unknown.

And that normally creates feelings of nervousness . But that's just the other side of excitement. So yeah, I think that's a really good point.

Jen: The other way that you'll know it's a good word, is if it can help you make decisions. So, for example, my word this year is expression already in the 22 days of this year.

That's really helped me in, in a romantic relationships where I've been wondering whether or not I should say something. Um, you know, if I'm having a thought or a feeling, and my year, my word is expression. So I've actually had to hold myself accountable to like expressing how I'm feeling and being clear with what I want.

And I think using that word as a way to make you make decisions that you can embody in any moment is also a really powerful way of knowing that you found your word.

Anne: I love that. Cool. So, if that's, then, tell us next, now that you have the one word, what do you do?

Jen: So step two is creating aligned goals.

So you have your word, and now the next step is really finding three to five kind of core goals that translate your yearly intention into real life actions. And each of these are really gonna support how you want to feel for the year. And the reason that making these groups, I do five every year, but if you wanna do three, four, you know, whatever works for you,is that grouping your smaller goals by one core theme means that you're gonna feel more focused and more connected to your main intention.

So how do you create these aligned goals? So revisit and look at your list from step one and look at all of the common themes and how these pull together. So the areas of life that I like to look at that might work for you is work and career, creativity, relationships, home, routine, self-development or spiritual growth, physical health, body travel, or pleasure. You might find that all of your, all of your mini goals are actually around one core theme. So an example of how this came to play for me last year, my word for the year was building. And the reason I chose that word was that I wanted to show up to last year not worrying about where I wanted to go.

I didn't wanna be like obsessed with completing things and finishing things and like getting to the end. All I wanted to do was just lay really simple foundations for the bigger dreams I had for the rest of my life. And I just wanted to kind of start the building blocks of where I wanted to go. So on my list for that year, I had loads of ideas.

I had, I wanna write in my journal every day. I wanna meditate every day. I wanna do yoga five times a week. I wanna plan my to-do list, I wanna do monthly finance check-ins, I wanna go to an art gallery every six weeks I had all of these different things and it felt kind of chaotic. And when I zoomed out and pulled back, I realized that all of these things were simply about routines.

It was simply about creating a life that worked for me on repeat. So how I translated that was my intention word for the year was building, and then my goal within that was routine. And what that meant to me was building repeatable rituals that support and serve me.

Anne: Mm-hmm. . Yeah. So, so what you're doing is you're kind of grouping it into a category.

You're like labeling that category and then you're writing like a sentence using your hero word to basically define that category. So for me, because you know, two of my goals are around my business. Um, you know, grow the listeners on my podcast and launch a group program. The way I would do it would, maybe one of my categories would be business or the career studio, and it, it would be something like, connect my business to more people.

Would that, is that something that would work?

Jen: Yeah, exactly. And I think using that word for your year at the anchor point of the sentence is, is is the way that I found as the most powerful way to do it. And I can just give some more examples to help ground this as well. So my, my word for last year was building, so my five core goals that I had was routine, build repeatable rituals that support and serve me. The second area was home. Build a home base that feels safe and secure. Creativity, build creative practices of writing and painting. Pleasure, build a stronger connection between my body and mind, and five career, which was build a career direction that sets me up for the future.

Anne: I love that. It was just so clear and like the categories really span across your life and it's easy to remember.

Jen: Yeah. And I think that's again, how, you know, they're working where they just feel good to, to read. Like the idea of building a strong connection to my body and mind, that feels good to me if I can. Uh, and that feels much better to me than like do yoga five times a week. So it's really about like articulating them in a way that feels really supportive and nurturing to yourself versus challenging and overwhelming.

Anne: Yeah. And so let me just link that back to my business, right? If my goal for the category. Of business about connecting my business to more people. You know, even if I don't launch the group this year, or my podcast doesn't reach the number of listeners I want, I know that what I'm doing within this part of the year and my work is just finding more ways to speak to more people,basically. And and connect what I'm building and the message that I have to more people than I do now. So it gives me a really clear, overarching framework to think about everything, even if I don't actually meet the specific numbers behind it.

Jen: Exactly. You can't fail.

Anne: Yeah, that's the whole point. Amazing. I love that. And again, you know, I think it, it comes back to being simple, right? I think, you know, when I recorded the podcast before December about how to set achievable goals, I think one of the most important things in that is to keep it simple, don't overcomplicate it. And I think this structure allows that, you know, to have one word and then three to five kind of overarching goals is really straightforward.

Cool. So yeah, tell me about the, I've got my five categories, my five aligned goals. Then what do I do?

Jen: The next step, step three is building blocks, laying the building blocks, and this is about taking those three to five core goals, your work goal, your creativity goal, and breaking them down into really, really achievable tasks that feel manageable and totally doable.

And, you know, all you need to know is the next step. And I think it's really worth saying here that you don't have to plan out every single step of your journey. You know, you don't have to plan out every single day from now until December. We don't know how our lives are gonna unfold. We dunno how our goals are gonna unfold.

So really I would just think about, you know, the next few months, like, how can you achieve this goal? Um, so I'll give you an example for one of my goals from last year, um, to really bring that to life. So as we spoke about, My, my year for the word last year was building one of my goals was build a home base that feels safe and secure.

And what that meant to me was I wanted to buy a house. And so the way that I broke that down was, you know, talk to five friends who have bought a house by January the 15th. Get advice and recommendations. Speak to a mortgage broker and find out how much I can afford by Feb one. Speak to my accountant. Spend 30 minutes a day browsing, listing.

Do 20 homes a week each month, five a week, five a weekend. But I only planned out my goals for, you know, the first kind of like month or two of the year for buying a house, because I didn't know how that was gonna go. I didn't know if I was gonna find a property that I liked and, and I also didn't know what the next steps were.

So I had worked out what I needed to do to buy the house, but after that I didn't know what to do. Like I didn't know the next bits of the process. And throughout the year as I had an offer closed and I got the house, my action list kind of unfolded. And I think that's a really important thing to kind of think about as you don't need to have all the answers yet, and it's just really about knowing the direction that you're going and then the rest will unfold from there.

Anne: Yeah, I think that's really important. The smaller the steps, the easier it is to take them, and therefore the more success you'll have, you'll feel good because you actually have taken those steps. So yeah, I think this concept of making them small and achievable, um, and only focusing on what you do know at the start is really essential.

Jen: Mm-hmm , another hot tip that I have found has really work for me is, some of your goals, you might not start right, you know it, it's January right now. You might not start them in January. You might say, you know what, for the first six months of the year, I'm gonna be too busy, too focused on other things.

So I'm gonna not even put the first action on my to-do list until August of this year. And I found that really putting that on a list in the future can be really helpful because it tells yourself that I'm committed to this and I'm gonna do it, but it gives you the head space to like focus on one thing at a time and you know, you're not overwhelming yourself with like, suddenly all of these new things that you have to do all at once.

Anne: Mm. Yeah, I think that's good. I think I'll add to that in, for example, this group that I wanna launch for my business, watch this space for all you listeners who think that's interesting. Um, I've been thinking about it for a while and for me it's not a, it's a second half of the year goal, but I do have this document in my files about the group and anytime I have an idea or whatever for that, I just put it in that document and I, so I've amassed like a lot of bullet points and ideas for the group so that when I actually sit down to start to do that work, kind of all the little thoughts that have been bubbling in my head, I've been capturing during the year with no pressure to follow up on them, just any ideas in there.

So that's another way to kind of progress something that's in the future without really doing too much work.

Jen: I love what you said about taking the pressure off yourself, and I think that's exactly what it is. It's like giving yourself space to evolve and move our skills right to you and not creating more pressure on your life with this way of working.

Anne: I love that. Cool. So we've got some like small, manageable low pressure steps and then I really, I really like your next three steps. I think they're all themes that are really important to creating anything that's important to you. So why don't you take us through just the top level concept of expanding your possibilities, step four.

Jen: Yeah, so this is a really important step for two reasons. One, it is around what we believe is possible for ourself and helping us understand that the thing we want is really achievable. So for me, with my home buying goal, it was really important to me that I believe that I could actually do it. That I believed I was capable, that I could save the money, that I could deal with the logistics of it.

I had to really believe that I was able to do that thing. And the second thing that this expanding possibilities is really important for, is helping you work out actually how to get there. So I'm gonna break down how we expand our possibilities.

Anne: Yeah, let me just before you do that, I think believing the thing that you want is possible is the most important thing, right?

That's how you get as close as possible, and it's always hardest before you've actually taken any steps. But creating a mindset, of belief is what allows you to think creatively to troubleshoot when you do reach forks in the road, or challenges which are inevitable. Cuz if you believe it's not possible at the first hurdle, you're gonna close the door.

So I think, you know, for anything that feels uncomfortable and new, this is just such an important, important point to spend some time on.

Jen: Mm-hmm. And actually, this is really similar and to, I think, your career studio step about really finding the people in your life and talking to them. So the first way that I expand on possibilities is by getting connected to friends, or friends of friends, or DMing strangers on Instagram, finding people on LinkedIn.

It's about finding the people that have the thing that I want. So if you wanna be an artist, find artists. If you wanna career change, go and speak to people who have done their career change. And the example for me for buying my house was I needed to go and speak to friends that had bought houses and I was buying on my own, so I especially wanted to go and talk to like other friends who had bought on their own and hadn't done it with the help of a partner. So it was really important for me to go and talk to them and ask them all of those stupid questions like, how do I start this? Like how do I find a mortgage broker?

Like how much money do I need to save? What do taxes mean? Was it hard to find the house that you wanted? And really at this stage, it's about like asking all of those questions, both really practical, like what do I need to do so you can learn, but also the softer stuff. The thing that, you know, might help you understand and get through some of the fears that you have.

Anne: Totally. I mean, this is it, right? Like when you feel confused about how to do something the way you have to take action through your confusion, right? And the way to do that is by having conversations with people who have done it. I mean, this is so important. It's why, as you said, people is like a building block of, um, creating a career that you love, but really navigating life in general.

Jen: So I wanna make sure that in each section I'm clear, you're clear on like what does success look like? Cause it could be hard to know. And really this is when, when you know that you've expanded enough, it's when you suddenly get that feeling of, huh, I have totally got this. Like, I can do this. I can be a homeowner.

And I remember having this really powerful moment with my friend who had just bought house and I was actually subletting her apartment while I was looking for an apartment. And I was in her space that she had just bought. And just being in that moment and having her with my inspiration was so powerful.

I was like, I can totally do this if I've seen my friend Natalie buy a house, like I can buy a house. And I think that feeling of, no, and I knew exactly how to do it cause I'd spoken to her, she'd written it down for me. I had all the steps. So it's just that moment of you've gone from like, this thing is scary out of reach and I dunno where to start to, oh, this is totally gonna happen to me.

I just have. Do the work.

Anne: Yeah. I'm glad that you added that because I think this is, whenever you feel confused about something, you have to, as I said, take action through your confusion, have these conversations, and you're not always sure when you're gonna get that expanding moment or that moment of clarity, feeling like you can do it, but eventually you will.

I know when I was launching my coaching business, one of my best expanders, as you would call it, was I was in a training group with lots of other people, building coaching businesses who were kind of further along in their journey than me. And I just remember being in that room talking to these other women and thinking, wow, okay, if they can do it, I can do it.

It was kind of the example I needed to find my own motivation. Mm-hmm. .

Jen: Exactly. That's really powerful and I think the next step is really kind of in the same way it's about finding the block and moving through it. So the kind of the last step really in the taking action is about, unblocking the limiting beliefs or working out what you're afraid of and getting through the fear.

So there's lots of ways that you can do this and it's whatever works for you. But I have found that the best way that has worked for me is again, just getting all of your fears down on paper. Like what are you afraid of? So for me, I was afraid that if I bought a house that I wasn't gonna travel. And I love to travel, so that was a really big fear for me.

So I wrote down that fear and then I looked at that fear and I was said, okay, is there a counter-argument that I can, I can look at this in a new way? And so I looked at that idea that I couldn't travel, and I said, okay, well maybe I can rent my apartment out on Airbnb and I can use that money to fund my travel.

So I had my fear and then I had an argument that kind of countered the fear.

Anne: Hmm. Yeah. I mean, I look, whenever we're stuck, whenever it feels hard, it's usually because we have some sort of, um, fears that are getting in our way or beliefs about what's possible for us. So getting those out on paper and then asking yourself, how else could it be?

Because at the end of the day, . Right? And if you listen to the mindset episode, I talk a lot about limiting beliefs and how to move past them. But you know, your beliefs are not facts, right? Your, the thoughts in your head are not truth, always the truth. There's always another way of looking at it, right?

Your brain can always talk you into and out of anything, so use that to your advantage, right? If you have a fear, ask yourself what's another way? It could look. Um, so yeah, I think that's really important. Essential for anything that's part of your goals for the year that feels scary.

Jen: And again, you know, when this is working is when you can like, go back and look at that fear list and like laugh at them. You're like, huh. It's so funny that I thought that was true.

Anne: But I, yeah, I'll say there, yeah, like you do eventually get there and you will have to take action while feeling afraid at the beginning. I mean, with anything that's hard. The beginning is always the hardest part because you don't necessarily yet believe that it's possible and you still have fears.

And in one of my mentors once said, Put the fear in your pocket and do it anyways. And I think I think about that a lot. Just you can mitigate your concerns by, you know, looking at another perspective and by talking to people and actually finding out the truth. You know, what's, is it your projected fear?

Is it reality or is it a projection? You know, getting an example of what's possible. And at the end of the day, there's always gonna be some trepidation in doing anything new. And it's okay to have that residual fear or nervousness with anything that you're doing.

Jen: Exactly. And I think if, if your goals aren't making you afraid in some way, then they're probably, yeah.

Then they're not gonna grow you. You're not gonna expand, you're not gonna get to be, uh, the version of yourself that you're aiming to be. So like I think again, look at fear as like welcome fear. Fear is showing you that you're growing.

Anne: Totally agree. Love that. Is there anything else you wanted to say on this or do you wanna talk in, talk about the last step?

Jen: Great. So I will move on to the last step. So this is called checking in with yourself. And as I spoke at the beginning, this is really about building our trust in ourselves. Our trust in our ability to do what we say we're gonna do, which is really important, and our trust in ourself to pick back up when we go off track.

So I recommend that you, whenever you start this process, put a calendar invite in your diary in your calendar three months from the date that you're doing. Three months from then. Three months from then. So if you're starting in January, you'll do it at the end of each quarter. And the reason I suggest doing a calendar invite is that say you go off track and you forget about this for like two months.

Like, yeah, you'll soon get a reminder in your phone that says, check in in your intentions and you'll be prompted again to come back and think about it. So just take advantage of the, the energy that you have for goal setting now, and, and give just future you some of that thinking.

Anne: Okay. Let me ask you. So do, but do you ever, has it ever happened to you?

Cause I'm sure some people will be thinking this like, where you are all in the zone and then you kind of fall off the wagon and don't really do anything and the reminder comes up in your calendar and you're like, oh, I don't really wanna do this. Right? Like, I feel so off track and you know, does that ever happen? And if it does, like how do you manage that?

Jen: Oh yeah. I fell all the time. An example of last year, my,my ritual and routine goal. Part of that was to do financial check-ins every month, and I put invites in my calendar to do that every month and for around three or four months over the summer last year, I didn't even look at my credit card bill.

I massively over spent. I was traveling, I was working, I was having fun. I was seeing friends, and I knew that I was overspending. I knew that I wasn't doing my financial check-ins, but I put my blinders up and I just said, nah, I don't wanna look at it. I don't wanna look at it. And I did that for a few months and then eventually, uh, and I just said, it's okay, I'll do this later.

And then eventually, you know, a few months later I decided, okay, I am now ready to like really look at my finances. I had the space for it and simply, previous version of me would've like felt guilty about it. I would have justided myself for overspending and instead I just said, okay, my word for this year was building.

I didn't say I had to be perfect, I just said I had to build something. So what that meant was just starting again from where I was. And you know, going back through those months, I hadn't done my finances and just doing them now and just saying to myself, I am building. I'm not being perfect. And just really giving yourself the space and grace to, to show up in the way that you are able to show up in that moment and not holding yourself to be perfect.

Anne: Yeah, I mean, I, I think this is so important when you're creating a habit or a new way of being, you want to expect that you will fall off the wagon so many times. Just because you fell off doesn't mean you can't do it, and, it's just having the mindset of committing like recommitting, being open to recommitting as many times as you need to ultimately create whatever it is you're trying to create, which is, you know, you not checking in for many months and then, you know, whenever you did checking in is you recommitting and the process of recommitting starts to build the habit, right? And you might go another few months and not do it, but if you just recommit to checking in again, then you're constantly coming back to the intention that's important to you.

And if we can have a perspective of it's inevitable that I'll mess up and like, that's okay. It's not about not messing up, it's just about staying committed to ultimately becoming that person. I know I spent at least a year of my life trying to, or working on becoming someone who went to bed before 10 30 because I wanted to get up earlier and, and to make sure I got up proper eight hours of sleep. It took me a year. It took me a year. Now my body is used to it, but I had to stay committed to that for a long time to make it my reality.

Jen: Mm-hmm. . Absolutely. And I think that idea of like you, you are gonna go off track and understanding that at the beginning just gives yourself so much grace. And I think when you do have these check-in moments with yourself, you know, whether you do them when you put your calendar invite in or whether you do them later, it's really having that self-reflection moment and seeing like, okay, why did I go off track?

Like what was happening to me? What were, you know, was I afraid of something? Did I need more people to learn from? Uh, had I set myself a goal that I didn't really wanna do? And were there any things that I did do that I can celebrate? So I think it's just really having that moment of self-reflection for like the, the ways that you grew and the ways that you can improve.

Anne: Yeah. I think that's an interesting point, right? Like has there ever been a year when you've kind of dropped stuff, like you've checked in and you've realized this is no longer important, or I, I'm not feeling this goal in the same aligned way I was.

Jen: Yeah, absolutely. I think the goals can evolve too. And again, that's kind of when it comes back to the intention.

Let's take that example, the bravery year. Um, I wanted to be brave by writing a blog. And what's really funny, it's full circle, is I wrote, I set up the blog. It was January and I wrote a post about goal setting by themes like this word intentionality that we're doing today because I was doing that and it was really important to me and I wrote this whole piece and I was really afraid of putting it out there and I didn't do it.

I, it probably still exists somewhere, this like blog piece that I never published. And so that year, you know, that I thought I was gonna be brave by like becoming a blogger . But then the way that my year turned out with what was happening in my personal life is that that no longer became important. And instead being brave meant like, uh, leaving a relationship that wasn't meant for me and like expressing my sexuality or like moving on from a job that didn't work for me.

So the way that I thought was gonna be brave didn't happen. And that's okay. and I think again, I would really kind of, uh, get everyone to kind of feel comfortable with is you might set these goals and these five core things and then something might happen in a year that means that that's not possible.

You know, you might lose your job, you might have something happen in your family. You might decide that that thing just isn't what you want once you go and talk to people. And so again, I would just really encourage everyone to be okay with that, to allow fluidity, to allow flexibility, and you can always come back to your core intention and you can always find a new way to fulfill it.

Anne: Yeah, and I mean this is good because we're kind of coming back to the importance of the intention, which I really think is everything hangs off of, and you know, when you're coming up with that intention, that one word at the start of the year, sometimes I think there's. The way that we articulate what we want might be where our head is in that moment.

But if we, the word the thing we're trying to feel, I kind of think it comes from a deeper place and, and I think your example of bravery was so, is so powerful for, to illustrate that because you kind of had these tactical goals, like start a blog that you thought were being brave. But I think there was something else deeper inside you that knew that there were kind of bigger things to be brave about, right? Certainly in terms of like your relationship and your sexuality, which ultimately came to light, but you would've never put those as tactical goals to begin with. And the, this is why I think this is such an incredible tool is because I think you tap into, with the one word, you're tapping into something really deep seated and almost subconscious.

And I don't know, to me that's where the magic is.

Jen: And I think you'll find that things start to unfold. So again, my word this year is expression and that even this year, uh, it's come out in really interesting way. So this podcast is me expressing myself and, and I've got another podcast I'm recording next month.

And I think just seeing how once you set yourself this mindset that you're coming to the year with, it can really open you up to these new possibilities in ways that like I couldn't even fathom. So in January, I wouldn't have set myself. You know, speak on two podcasts, that wasn't a possibility for me but because I had this idea of expression when Anne and I had this conversation, it was so aligned for me to come and have this conversation with you. So again, I think our subconscious, as you say, knows more than we know, and I think this process is really about giving yourself space to explore.

Anne: I love that.

Thank you so much for taking us through this tool. I really love it. I'm a big proponent of it. I'm gonna use it on myself, um, this year, and I'm really excited to see how connection manifests in my life. And, you know, for everyone who wants the hard copy of this, it's gonna be on my website in the show notes, so that'll be www.The career studio.com/podcast.

And then you can look for the episode with Jen Lewis and the link will be there. Um, Jen, is there anything else you wanted to share?

Jen: No, I would just love to hear how this goes for people. So if you try it and it works for you, please reach out to me. My contact details are on the podcast notes, and yeah, I would love to learn about the intentions that you are setting for yourself.

Anne: Yes, I love that. We'll, we'll post about this on Instagram and LinkedIn and so people can put their words for the year in that. I would love to see that. So fun. Okay, well thank you so much for sharing this with me. I really love what you've created and I'm excited for your year of expressing yourself.

Jen: Thanks, Anne.

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