Ep 72: What Goal Skeletons Are in Your Closet

Today we are talking about goals and actually setting goals. And, as I’ve thought about this, one of the critical things that I teach in my program and that I coach people on is setting and achieving their goals to help them live their purpose. Now, a critical piece of that is what I call the goal cycle.

In this episode, we are going to talk more about building foundation before you can actually achieve a goal, to define what brings you joy and to discover what that purpose is with your joy. So tune in and get inspired to not only set intentional goals but to savor the growth that comes from every attempt, big or small.

What you’ll learn in this episode:  

  • How to set goals that bring joy and lead to true accomplishment
  • Strategies for building a solid foundation for goal achievement
  • Techniques to rewrite subconscious narratives that hinder goal achievement
  • Balancing strategic action and emotional management when pursuing goals
  • How to address and overcome ‘goal skeletons’

Featured on the Show: 

Click HERE to watch this video to learn The 3 Things to Avoid When Reading Self-Help Books

Listen to the Full Episode:

Full Transcript:
Welcome to the Mom on Purpose Podcast. I’m Lara Johnson and I’m here to teach you how to get out of your funk, be in a better mood, play more with your kids, manage your home better, get your to-do list done, and live your life on purpose. With my proven method, this is possible for you and I’ll show you how. You’re not alone anymore. We’re in this together. Welcome back to another episode of the Mom on Purpose Podcast. Last week I came clean about why I didn’t set goals in 2023. So if you haven’t listened to that, go back and listen. But today we are going to be talking about goals. But before we begin, I wanted to also mention, if you are loving this podcast, if there’s episodes that have resonated with you, please go to the review section of this podcast. I’m going to be talking about this. I would love to even read some reviews on the podcast because this is how people find the podcast and how we grow our Mom on Purpose community. When I think about the changes I want to see in the world, I think about the movement of moms that are living on purpose. Yes, there might still be challenges in motherhood, but being able to really know what you’re wanting to do with your life, being able to show up for your kids in the way that you want to, and really feel fulfilled, that’s what drives me. That’s the reason why I started this podcast. So if nobody’s able to hear it, then I don’t feel like I’m able to move this movement forward. So would you help me with that? I would love that. So thank you. The second thing, and I mentioned this last week, I am putting together the book club list for all the books we’re going to be reading this year. So the Mom on Purpose Book Club is for every mom that doesn’t feel like she has enough time to read, or enjoys reading but wants a different perspective. So I read the books for you and then you get to show up and learn about the books and how to apply them. I love it. And you probably have heard the recordings here on this podcast. It’s so fun being able to attend live. So if you go down to the show notes, you can click on The 3 Things to Avoid When Reading Self-Help Books. It’s a very short video. But when you click on that and subscribe to get that video, you will also get a link that you can subscribe to that will bring the Mom on Purpose calendar invites straight into your calendar. Those calendar invites include the Zoom link to join, the day and the time. It also includes the book that we’re reading for that month. So it’s really important for you to go to the show notes and click on that. If that’s something that you are interested in, we would love to have you there as part of our book club. All right, so today we are talking about goals and actually setting goals this time, not reasons why you shouldn’t set a goal. And as I’ve thought about this, one of the critical things that I teach in my program and that I coach people on is setting and achieving their goals to help them live their purpose. Now, a critical piece of that is what I call the goal cycle. And I’ve talked about this in the past. You can go down, I think the episode is called How to Set or How to Achieve Any Goal. That’s where I really dive deep into the goal cycle. What I notice is lots of time when people hire me to help them with their goals, I actually have to slow them down before we ever reach the goal cycle. There’s a lot of things that we have to lay the groundwork, create a really strong foundation around before you can actually achieve a goal. Because if you think about a goal as like you’re building the house up, but you have an unstable foundation and you haven’t prepped the soil and you haven’t set those rebars, that house, nothing will matter. And I see this so much in my clients, even people before they come to me, where they’ll set a goal and they’ll go so far into this goal and really push to achieve it. And they achieve the goal and then they step back and realize, I’ve been ignoring my kids for a year, I have so many piles around my house that I can’t get to. And then suddenly it feels like everything falls apart, everything that they’ve worked for doesn’t matter because of other things that have been neglected. So all of that’s to say that’s all critical things that I address when I am coaching a client. But a small piece that we’re just going to take out for today of building that strong foundation is being able to understand all of the pieces of that. So the first is really getting clear on knowing who you are. The second is to really define what brings you joy and to discover what that purpose is with your joy. The third is to establish your decision-making cycle, like how you actually make decisions. The fourth is to address the goal skeletons in your closet, and that’s where we’re going to focus today. These goal, I’ll call them goal skeletons that are in your closet are the stories and patterns that you subconsciously believe about your goals. And when you get clear on what these patterns and stories are, you start to have a healthier relationship with setting and achieving goals where you will not be sabotaging yourself in the process, you will not be shaming yourself in the process. There’s a few really common ones that I see. And of course, if there’s others, this is not a full comprehensive list, but if I have missed any, feel free to email me and I’d love to do an episode on whatever you’re seeing that I missed as far as these goal skeletons go. So the first one that I see is the pattern of is this the right goal or is this the right timeline? It’s always some kind of variation of rightness, that there is one perfect right goal out there for you and if you pick the right one, you will achieve it within the timeframe that you have set. That’s one of the patterns that I see a lot and it can be really detrimental to you really because there is no right goal for you. There are goals that you make right for you and your situation. And it’s never about the goal as much as it is who you are becoming in the process. So when you’re asking if this goal is right, perhaps a shift is who do I want to become and does this support that? That’s really what you can narrow it down to. And then how you get there doesn’t really matter. You can get there in lots of different ways, just like you can reach a destination on lots of different roads. And yeah, eventually there may be the very end fork in a road that’s going to get you there, like I’m not going to be a doctor. I have to go to medical school. That is a path I would have to take. Yes, but questioning yourself, the entire process on if it is right or not is creating excess mind drama. It is a skeleton in the closet. It is not real. All that is real is that you get to define who you want to become and then you get to find goals that support that. There are lots of different right choices. So that’s the first one. The second one is a fear of failure. Some people will call this perfectionism. It doesn’t really matter which way you can look at it. We can get into the semantics of all of it, which is always fun to do, but in this situation, I’m going to lump the two together. What I believe perfectionism is, is an underlying fear that you are doing it wrong. Again, there’s that rightness and wrongness. Or that you are going to make a mistake and that you are going to fail in some way. When I see a lot of people, this goes back to the first one, trying to choose the right goal, what they’re trying to do often with that thought, the underlying behavior is they’re trying to avoid failure, same thing with perfectionism. If I can get this just right, then I’m going to avoid failure. So they over-focus on being perfect or accomplishing it in this perfect way in hopes that they won’t have to feel the emotion of failure. When you’re looking at goals, this is a goal skeleton, it will feel so real in your body. No, of course it doesn’t feel good to fail. It doesn’t feel good to make a mistake, especially if other people are seeing it. But what starts to happen is that you will hold yourself back for years most likely because of this pattern, because of this skeleton that isn’t real. And when you start to really coach on that, you start to chip away as to why it feels so traumatic to your body to fail, why it feels like you have to get everything just right. So when we’re looking at this, especially when I’m coaching someone, we’re looking at strategic action. We’re not going to set a goal and haphazardly throw things at the wall and hope something sticks. No, that is not what we’re trying to achieve here. What we are trying to achieve here is a healthy balance of strategic action and emotional management. When you have those two things working together, it becomes so much easier for you to move forward and that you are able to manage the emotions when something doesn’t go your way, but you’re also not having to go above to this obsessive level of perfectionism. So the next one, the next skeleton, the goal skeleton in the closet is that hard work equals a lot of time and a lot of energy or drive or ambition where it takes so much out of you. This is a really common one I see with my moms because … Well, with you. All of you are moms. Welcome to the Mom on Purpose Podcast. But when I see this show up, it often comes from the thought that my family is so important, I already have a lot of things on my plate, I can’t put one more thing on my plate. Therefore, I cannot achieve my goals because my goals are going to take a lot. And you know you have a lot of evidence probably to prove that true in your current mindset. So when you’re looking at goals, oftentimes what our brain will do is project the future. So when you’re projecting the future in the past, yeah, your goals probably did take a lot of work because you didn’t know how to do it otherwise. It probably did take a lot of time because you had not laid a foundation to support that moving forward on that goal. So when you’re looking at this, suddenly you start to feel so guilty when you’re working towards a goal because it feels like it’s taking from your family that you love so much and that demands a lot on your time that you already feel burned out about. So when you’re looking at this, and again, we’re not going to go in depth on this episode about how to unwind these, but I want you to really see this as a pattern, as a story that your brain has told you. Not all goals require a lot of time and a lot of energy. For the most part, they will require a lot of mental shifts that will allow for change to happen very naturally. Doesn’t mean it will be comfortable, but it will start to happen within the flow of your family. So the next one is trying to know all the steps of the goal before you set it. And when we talk about this in coaching, this is where the decision-making cycle comes into play because lots of time we will spend a lot of research trying to figure out how to achieve this goal in its entirety. And when you are on Google and you’re researching this, chances are you are going down a crazy rabbit hole. You end up taking hours and hours and you’re not any closer to your goal and you’re probably more discouraged because you still don’t know how to achieve it. And you took on so much information that it’s like you become so discouraged that you should know all of that right now. That is a huge subconscious pattern that happens with, I think, all of my clients. And even within my own brain, I’ve seen that pattern over and over for years. So much so that I would get held back for months at a time thinking I needed to know the full process before I ever set a goal instead of chipping away at it a little bit at a time. With this one, I always like to tell my clients, Frozen 2, fabulous movie. I’m sure if you are a mom and you were listening to this, you have seen Frozen 2 at least a hundred times. I felt like my daughter was old enough to not get really into it, but I liked it. So I might’ve watched it more than once on my own. So there’s a part where Anna sings a song about decisions, like how do I move forward when everything feels so hard? And she makes that choice. I don’t want to spoil it, but she loses someone very close to her and she doesn’t know how to continue. So she decides and sings a song about just taking the next one decision, the next one step ahead. And that is what I would invite you to do. If you are feeling like you need to know all of the steps, I invite you to think, what is the next one step? Most of the time it’s a lot smaller than you think. Most of the time it might be looking up a phone number of something to call. The next step might be dialing the phone number into your phone. The next might be talking to the person on the other line. Those are all steps you know how to do. But your brain, if you say, “Well, I’ve got to call this place to get this information,” your brain may shut down, it feels too big. So go back without having to worry about the goal in its entirety. Go back to the next right thing to do, the next right … I wouldn’t even say right, just the next step of something that you can do that you already know how to. So the last goal skeleton that I see a lot in my clients is that of goal shame. Goal shame is big. It is scary. It is uncomfortable, and it is completely optional. I would not have believed anybody who told me that years ago, but stay with me. We are going to talk about it. Okay? I’m not trying to prove it to you, but what I want to invite you is a gentler way to look at setting and achieving your goals. When I talk about goal shame, it looks like I didn’t achieve a goal, therefore I will never achieve any more goals in the future. And it sounds so clear, right, when I say it that way, like of course that’s not true. But to your brain, to your subconscious, it feels very true. Another thing with goal shame that I see is that people will start to do one word intentions, like I haven’t achieved my other goal, so I’m just going to set a one word intention. I did that once. My word was survival. Guess what? I achieved my goal. I survived that year. And really it just came down to the fact that I was so embarrassed that I never achieved any goals that I would set because I didn’t actually know how to. And that was a lie because there were plenty of goals that I was achieving. There may have been one that I was hyper-focusing on and therefore couldn’t see all the others that I was setting. The other thing that I really see with goal shame is that it comes from the thought of I can’t do it, therefore I’m not good, or I’m not good enough, or others are better than me. And it won’t sound like that to your brain, but what it will feel like to your body is scrolling on social media and you’re feeling a pit in your stomach when you’re seeing other people do things that you want to do, and suddenly then you start comparing yourself. Or you’re walking by a mirror and you slow down and you start looking at your hips. That’s what it will feel like. Another one is if you are telling your kids that you can go after your goals, that you can achieve anything that you want and you fully believe it for them, but yet you’re sad inside. This all comes back to goal shame. This is the suffering that you are putting yourself through because you have negative patterns and stories you have been telling yourself about your past. So when you think about, say, skeletons in the closet, we’ll go back to that, or monsters in the closet, with a kid, what do you do? You go over to the closet, you open it up and you show them there are no skeletons in here, but they still don’t relax, right? I can tell you all day long about what you believe about these goal skeletons and how they are not factual. I would be able to get on a phone and talk to you until I was blue in the face about how that isn’t true. But because your mind, just like a child, they have seen bones, they have seen skeletons, therefore their mind projects what could be in the closet, but it’s not real. Just like your brain has these goal skeletons you are projecting that you will not achieve them in the future no matter what anyone else says. It will feel so real. The only thing that you can do is to start proving to yourself that it is not true. It will take a lot of effort. It will be the most beneficial effort you will ever spend when it comes to goal setting and achieving. So when you’re looking at this, and we’ll spend more time on this, but the number one thing that I want you to work through that will change your life more than anything is, what goals have you accomplished? Your brain will immediately go to big goals. I graduated college. I bought a car. I, whatever those … I ran a 5K. Your brain will go to these very big things. I want to outline a couple small goals that I have seen this week in my own family. The baby is learning to walk. Or let’s say this a different way. When I think of a child learning to walk, I think of them actually standing up and falling down. For whatever reason, our baby, I mean, he’s 14 months now, we are looking at physical therapy, so I just want to say that, he will not stand up. We can’t figure out if he can’t or if he’s just lazy. And to just stand up or to have the desire to stand up, that’s all we’re doing. But that is a huge goal for him. That is big. At some point you learned the exact same thing on how just to stand up. That may be what you have to do this week is learning how just to stand up again because you feel like you’ve been beaten down by your goals in the past. Just stand up. So the next one I’m looking at with my five-year-old. He had been learning a Christmas song at school. He was so excited to perform this Christmas song. He had been working on this for months with his class, but it felt very real to him. And he ended up being sick on the day that his kindergarten class performed it in the assembly and they all got to go up on stage. He had to learn how to process disappointment. Last night as I’m tucking him into bed … Now, granted Christmas is a couple weeks ago. This happened in December, like three weeks ago. He started crying last night that he didn’t get to perform the song that he had worked so hard for. That was something that he had to learn. That was a goal that he had to accomplish last night was that he had to learn how to feel a negative emotion. Now, you may not see that as a goal that you have to accomplish because you want it to be more tangible, but any time in your life when you feel a negative emotion and you don’t know how to process it, that will hurt. That should be a very valiant goal that you set because you will feel negative emotions when you are working towards goals. Another I was looking at, it was for me. My daughter is, she’s nine years old. She loves to decorate cupcakes and go outside and sell them on the corner. We have amazing neighbors. She is very talented actually. She makes incredibly beautiful cupcakes, especially for a nine-year-old. They look very professional. This time she wanted to practice doing two colors at once in her piping bags that she had got for her birthday a year ago. So we had to line all the frosting up in two rows and we had this whole technique that we were doing to achieve this. It was a learning process for me. But on top of that, we really wanted to make a chocolate cupcake recipe. We have a very great vanilla one, chocolate was not. We didn’t have one that we liked. We had tried some in the past and it didn’t work. So I had to test a cupcake recipe and I was worried it was not going to be good, she was going to be disappointed, or she would still want to decorate them and try and sell them and I would not feel comfortable selling something nasty to my neighbors. So we had to spend some time there, and I had to really work on my emotions that this may not work. And it was like I had to have a strategic pessimism mindset that this might not work and this is what I’m going to do if it doesn’t. That was a goal that I had to accomplish was I had to be okay messing up a recipe. I don’t like doing that because I don’t like wasting my time. That’s my thought. Now, in this situation, it actually worked out in my favor where these cupcakes were very delicious. And I could say that was the goal that I accomplished, but for me, the goal that I actually accomplished was being okay probably wasting time on cupcakes that didn’t turn out tasting good. And I had to be okay with that, that was a goal I accomplished. So when you’re looking at this question, what goals have you accomplished, yes, your brain will want to talk about all the big ones. That is a good thing. But I want you to look at yesterday or last week or the last month and get so crystal clear on the small things that you are doing every single day that you are not giving yourself credit for. That is the only way to start unwinding the goal skeletons in your closet. It will be worth it, I promise you. Hang in there. Have a wonderful week. Thank you for listening. Please share, review, and subscribe to this podcast so that together we can live life on purpose. 

How to Connect with Lara:

Web: www.larajohnsoncoaching.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/j.lara.johnson/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/larajohnsoncoaching

Work with Lara: www.larajohnsoncoaching.com/work-with-me/

Share this post

Free Video

3 Things to Avoid When Reading Self Help Books

Enter your name and email below to watch the video.

We use cookies to ensure you receive the best experience on our site. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you agree with our terms.