Did anyone else feel like last week lasted a lifetime?
For me, last Monday marked the 3rd straight week of being isolated alone. Other than my daily bike ride, I have had very little actual human interaction - especially not with people I know. And so, last week I felt that toll hit me. I was sluggish, restless, exhausted, sad and unmotivated - there was a constant voice in my head telling me to mope, binge eat, loaf on the couch and watch every awful romantic movie Netflix put out this year (yes, there are many).
On Wednesday, I found myself at 430PM laying on a concrete slab alongside the bike trail across from my apartment. I felt like one of those little kids who go limp when you try to pick them up, do you know what I mean? I didn't have the energy to even move my body. I just laid there, for what seemed like hours.
And that's when I thought about regret. Specifically, regret about how I would spend this time.
Jim Rohn beautifully said, “We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”
So let's talk about regret today. Do you know what my biggest fear is? Hint: It's not if my businesses fail, if I go bankrupt, if I lose everything I've spent 8 years working my butt off for. No, my biggest, most terrifying fear is to look back in 5,10, 20 years and regret not showing up, not giving something my all, not seizing an opportunity when I had the chance.
My fear at this current moment is to look back on this time, this beautiful gift of time, and to feel that I wasted it. That I let it slip through my fingers by watching too much television, loafing on the couch, complaining, feeling bad for myself, [insert self pity/numbing habit here].
How many times in your life have you wished and prayed for more time? Have you ever felt so busy and overwhelmed you just wished you could have JUST ONE day to reset, JUST ONE day where the emails slowed down. Wished you could hit pause for just a moment and work on that project you’re always talking about, take that class you need to excel your career or fuel your passion, start living a healthier lifestyle, slow down and read, launch that business you’ve dreamed about...I know I've found myself wishing for more time over and over again.
I have some very good news for you, that time is now.
For many of us, COVID-19 has given us the gift of time. A gift I am sure those who are working on the front lines of COVID wish they could have, as they hustle and show up every damn day so that we can have more time. With this in mind, ask yourself, how are you going to honor their dedication and sacrifice?
Our lives will go back to normalcy in the months ahead. The emails will pile back up, the obligations will clog your calendar, time will once again feel like it rules us versus the other way around. And so I challenge you this week, actually I beg you, to not spend these precious moments in any way you would look back on with regret, I challenge you to look at this as an opportunity for advancement, not a vacation.
There is no better time than the present to lay the foundation for forming successful habits to help you achieve your goals. And if you can can take even the slightest/tiniest step forward each day, I can promise you two things will happen:
- The tiny, slow steps will eventually lead to a slow walk, then to brisk walk, to a light jog, to a run...until one day you look up and you're in a full sprint as you cross the finish line of your dreams. Achievement is really just a bunch of little moments of progress all bundled up together. Just keep moving.
- When you hold that mirror up in front of yourself at the end of this, or in 5, 10, 20 years - you will be proud of who you see because you will know that in times of hardship, in crisis, in the face of fear - that you continue to fight to show up for yourself. You will know that you are your greatest cheerleader, in fact, the only one you ever needed.
As per usual, I would never challenge you to something without giving you some tools to help you with this journey! So here are steps/tools that have worked for me to keep me focused and motivated on my goals during hard times. And yes, I did do all of these last week as a reset :)
- Identify your goals. Do you have a list of goals? If not, take some time now or tonight to reflect on them. Take the limits off, they could be as grand as winning an Oscar or as simple as sleeping 8 hours 5 nights a week. They may be getting out of debt, launching that business, loving yourself, being promoted at work, learning how to cook, spending more time with your partner (or during COVID-19, it may be spending LESS time with your partner, jk jk). Just write them all down.
- Narrow it down. We cannot achieve every goal at once. In fact, you're setting yourself up for failure if you try to do too many things at once. So I want you to identify 1 goal that is related to your career/finances and then 1 personal goal.
- Freeform your goals. I picked this one up from Rachael Hollis. For each goal, spend 10 minutes just writing down (best to just scribble blurbs all over a large piece of paper) ALL and ANY step you think you can/should/could take to achieve that goal. It's important to do this for at least 10 minutes because as you write, you will naturally make connections to steps/actions towards this goal you didn't know you already had
- Narrow it down again + Sort it. Look through your verbal diarrhea of freeform and identify a few steps that you can take now as you start this journey. Some steps might need to come first, so sort them in the order they need to be in. Small, actionable steps make achieving goals more tangible.
- Make a commitment to yourself. Here you have two goals that you have been dreaming of achieving. Now is your chance to begin! Are you excited?! If so, make a commitment to yourself that every-single-day, you will take some sort of action towards that goal. Whether that action takes 5 minutes or 60 minutes, you are committing to doing it. Remember, every inch forward is progress!
- Remind yourself daily. This one is the most important step for me, I need to visually remind myself daily about my goals, otherwise I forget, I get distracted, I fall off. Here are a few things that work for me (you don't need to do all of these, just some ideas!):
- Post-its are your best friend. I have post-it's ALL over my apartment. On the bathroom mirror, on my front door, on my desk - all with reminders about my goals. Don't be embarrassed if someone else sees them. You're a badass b*tch who takes charge of her life, take pride in that!
- Goal Alarms. Set alarms throughout the day as a gentle reminder to take that inch of progress. I actually set 4 alarms daily now to remind myself to be more present, as that is one of my current goals.
- Vision Board. Is there any imagery you can find/print out that are reminders of your goals? Perhaps it's an image of your credit balance at $0, a yoga certification, a diploma, etc. Whatever it is, print or cut it out and tape it somewhere you look everyday. I want you to stare at it every-damn-day. For me, I'm currently staring at photos of Rachel Hollis, Brene Brown and Oprah. If I'm being 100% honest, I actually photoshopped myself onto Rachel Hollis' RISE conference speaker list ha! But that is my goal and now everyday as I stare at that photo, I take a little step towards making it a reality.
- Identify with a Word. With your goals in mind, choose one word that best describes how you want to show up for that goal during COVID-19 (or the year ahead). How would you describe yourself if you achieved that goal? Once you have your word, look at it daily, repeat it to yourself daily, embody that word. You are that word. I did this in early January at Rachel Hollis' RISE conference and the word I came up with for the year ahead was WARRIOR...well actually, it was F*CKING WARRIOR. At the time, I thought maybe it was a little too intense/extreme. Little did I know what was to lie ahead and that it would be exactly what I needed. Never in my life have I felt more like a warrior. Like I'm showing up for battle everyday, determined to come out of this a winner in my own eyes.
To come full circle, there I was last Wednesday, laying like a slug on this concrete slab, thinking about how blah and exhausted I felt, wanting to spend the foreseeable future eating Doritos and watching Tiger King (still haven't seen it). And then I thought about regret, and how much I would regret those actions. And I remembered I am a Warrior and Warriors do not give up. Instead, they suit up, lather on the war paint, beat their chests, lean in and charge as fast as they can, with everything they have at the unknown, to conquer the enemy they feel is stopping them from having the life they want (yes, my vision of Warrior is in fact Mel Gibson in Braveheart - see below).
So how do you want to show up during COVID-19? Do you want to be a Slug on the concrete or do you want to be Mel Gibson on a horse screaming "They may take away our lives, but they'll never take our freedom!!!!!"
So #LFG. That's right - Let's F*cking Go! Let's do this! Get fired up, use this time to your advantage, seize the opportunity, show up for YOURSELF and make your future self PROUD. The opportunity for greatness is right here, right now, how badly do you want it?
Your biggest fan,
PS. #LFG is the name of my podcast that I'll be launching later this week!