Most of us have life goals that we are working towards. We'd like to lose weight, or make more money or just figure out how to deal with stress, and there are lots of books, courses and companies out there teaching us how to do it. There are many paths that will take you to your goals, but there's one fundamental piece of the puzzle that has to be in place otherwise the rest of it doesn't work; you have to learn how to love yourself.
I know to a lot of you that will sound really wishy-washy or flakey, but seriously - how far are you going to get with your goals if you can't be your own biggest cheerleader? Contrary to popular belief, it's not a lack of willpower that causes us to fail, it's a lack of self love. If you don't believe you're worthy of being thin or rich or in love, how can you ever achieve it? If you turn on yourself with negativity, telling yourself you're fat or lazy or useless as soon as you fall off the wagon (which will happen at some point) then what are the odds of you actually reaching your goal?
Building your self love muscle and getting emotionally fit is the inescapable foundation for being able to attract (and keep!) everything else you want to bring into your life.
Get emotionally fit
So how do you get emotionally fit? Self love is such a broad and vague topic and it covers a lot so when I teach it in my 10 Week Self Love Course I break it down into 10 different aspects of self love, with tools to exercise each one.
Below is a brief taster of some of the exercises we cover in the Self Love Course. Read through the different areas and be curious.... where do you need to spend some time building up your self love muscle? Which areas of life are a bit..um... flabbier than others? Just like building our physical muscles it takes a bit of time doing exercises to build our mental muscles so we can be emotionally fit. This mindset shift will create a strong mental state and enable you to smash your health and happiness goals.
Self Awareness + Honesty
Are you being honest about what you really want in your life? Look at this in the context of your career, your relationships, how many hours you work, how much time you spend having fun....are you doing what you really want to be doing?
Self Love Exercise #1: Your Ideal Day
Spend 15 - 3o minutes writing out your Ideal Day in detail. What time do you get up? Who are you with? What country do you live in? What do you do for a job? What do you wear? Go through every detail of your day as if money, time, qualifications, age, etc were not a limitation. Get honest with yourself about how you'd really like to live your life.
Do you take care of your body, mind and spirit? Have a look over this list and see if there are places where you could invest in a bit more self care. Once you're aware of where you are not taking care of yourself, create a plan to change it.
Self Love Exercise #2: Where do you neglect yourself?
Do you know your unique skills and talents? Do you have a sense of worth and purpose in the world and are you getting paid accordingly? In order to raise our net worth (if your goal involves making more money) we need to raise our self worth. Kate Northrup has a lot of great exercises for this in "Money: A love story."
Self Compassion + Acceptance
How do you talk to yourself? Are you sabotaging yourself by trying to be perfect, live up to impossible expectations or comparing yourself? Realise that your mind is not you and you have a choice to believe what that inner critic is telling you.
Self Love Exercise #3: You are not your mind
When negative thoughts come up, take a deep breath and a step back. Ask yourself "What am I really afraid of? What fear is coming up?" Listen for a response and then realise that you have the choice to believe in this fear but you also have the choice to have faith that you can handle it.
Self Expression + Self Respect
Self Love Exercise #4: Where are you blocking your self expression?
Where do you hold back from being yourself? Maybe you don't speak up at work, you don't tell your partner what you really think or you always cave and let your friend pick the movie even though you hate action films. Realise that telling yourself that your opinion doesn't matter drives your self esteem and self respect way down. Start speaking up.
Self Esteem + Confidence
For a lot of us, confidence is the only thing stopping us from actually doing what we want to do. Do you believe you have the capability to do what you dream of?
Self Love Exercise #5: Don't wait to be confident
If you wait to feel confident, you'll never, ever start anything! Look at your goals and just take the first step. Maybe that's booking a personal trainer or a coach. Maybe it's buying new gym pants. Perhaps it's going to Toastmasters. Whatever it is - act now. Your confidence will grow as you keep showing up for yourself.
Self Trust + Intuition
Do you struggle with indecision? Are you always wondering if you are making the 'right' choice with your life decisions? At the end of the day, only you will know what was right for you, so it's important to stop looking to other people (your mum, your boss, 'society') for what to do and start following your heart.
Self Love Exercise #6: Baby steps to Intuition
There are lots of amazing ways to build your intuition and your self trust, but here's a super simple one. When you're stuck on a decision, flip a coin. Your gut always tells you what you wanted the answer to be. Start acting on your gut instinct for small decisions and in no time you'll learn to trust your gut more and more for the more life-changing ones.
What do you do for fun? I know, we're so used to focusing on what we want to achieve, achieve, achieve, but if you're not feeling joy and pleasure, what's the point?
Self Love Exercise #7: The Chocolate mindfulness exercise
A big part of experiencing pleasure is actually to do with simply being present - i.e. really having a connection with your friend, your lover or your food and enjoying every delicious second of it! Try this with a piece of chocolate. Make sure you won't be interrupted. Unwrap the chocolate. Feel it with your hands. Close your eyes and smell it. Take your time. Then take a bite and just let it dissolve in your mouth. What does it feel like. What does it taste like? What does it remind you of? Really be present. (This is a great tool for emotional eaters as well).
It happens to all of us at some time or another. Maybe it's that feeling of groundhog day at work, maybe you can't seem to move forward on anything or perhaps life just isn't turning out the way you thought it would. Most of us have asked ourselves, at some point in our lives, "What's the point?! What am I here for?" or even... "Why bother?"
When you feel stuck, there are a few crucial things you can do to shift your energy and get back into momentum of feeling focused, happy and in charge of your own destiny.
1. Make a decision
My friend and mentor, Bex, likes to say that "powerful people make decisions." This mantra has stuck with me whenever I feel like life isn't flowing and it snaps me back into taking personal responsibility for my feelings and my own happiness. When you feel like life is happening to you, it's often easy to get caught up in victim mode. "My car's always breaking down" or "that guy didn't call back" or "my career is going nowhere" - all of these might be accurate assessments of what you feel life is like, but now that you've registered that it's up to you to make a decision: is that what you want your life to be like?
When you take 100% responsibility for how you feel in every moment you take back your power and can begin to get unstuck. Firstly, ask yourself "How do I want to feel right now? Do I want to feel angry / pissed off / depressed.... or do I want to feel hopeful, happy or positive?" By the way, it's totally fine if you decide that "no, actually I'm pretty upset and I want to wallow right now", but even by making that decision, you'll notice that something really interesting will happen. For one thing, you'll start feeling a bit better because you realise that feeling that way is a choice that you've made, not something happening to you. Secondly, when you let yourself claim your feelings rather than be annoyed that they're happening they tend to move on much faster. You'll probably find that after an hour or two of said wallowing, you actually think "Ok, I'm a bit tired of this now. Where can I go to next?"
2. Create an inspiring vision
Once you've decided that you want to feel happy, it's time to create an inspiring vision for your life because it's hard to feel like you're growing or you have momentum if you're not sure what you're moving towards. Your vision for your life is what will pull everything together and make decision making that much easier. When you can ask yourself "Does this decision bring me closer to my vision or take me further away from it?" you can usually get a pretty clear answer straight away. Oh, and by the way, a big part of your vision is feeling happy and fulfilled, not just doing what looks good on paper.
As an employee at lululemon athletica, we are asked to create goals that spur us on and excite us. The way we do this is by creating a 10 year vision of what we want our life to be like and working back from there. The reason this is so powerful is that 10 years seems far enough away that it allows us to create some pretty powerful and audacious goals. Once you have this vision, it's then pretty easy to drill backwards and see what you'll need to be doing in 5 years time, 3 years time or 6 months time to bring this dream to life. (There is a free version of this worksheet as well as some inspiring videos over at the lululemon website - you can check it out under their Vision and Goals section here)
That's where the inner work like meditation, personal growth and vision and goals becomes so effective; its essentially uncovering the awesome blueprint you already have in place for how to feel happy, healthy and abundant. Without something compelling to pull us forward, most of us feel a sense of being left behind or missing out on something in life.
3. Take action
After choosing how you want to feel and creating a compelling vision for your life, take inspired action. Again, just make a decision and take action from that place. So many times we feel stuck because we are waiting for the "right" decision to come along before we get moving and guess what? There probably isn't one. I've learnt that any decision is better for your happiness and self esteem than sitting on the fence and letting months or even years pass by because you're too afraid to fail. Confidence is built not by knowing the right answer, but by taking action and trusting that no matter what happens, you'll survive. There is no right decision - there is the best decision you can make at the time which will always lead you to the next part of the journey. If you want to get unstuck, free yourself from the fear that you'll never get it 'right'. Make the best decision you can and get moving.
4. Pick what feels high and light
On that note, you want to be moving towards a life that feels vibrant and energising to you, so with every decision you make, lean into the question "Does this feel high and light? Or does it feel low and heavy?" Your intuition always has a better gauge on what will make you happy than anyone else does. Have fun with it, and see what it would feel like in 3 months time if you say 'yes' to this opportunity now. 6 months.... 5 years.... you get the idea.
When you feel like crap, it's tempting to look at these types of exercises and feel like they won't work for you but I guarantee that if you take action, you will always see results...and actually you are already seeing the results of the actions you have been taking! If you don't like the result then change the action. It's all in your hands :)
What do you think of when you hear the term 'Modern Goddess'? For me it's a woman who has tapped into her inner power. She is connected with the part of herself that knows exactly what she needs in order to experience happiness, love and health in her life and she has no qualms about asking for it.
She knows intuitively exactly what she wants to eat and how she wants to move. She knows her unique super powers and what she wants to spend her life's work on. She is focused and driven but would never let that get in the way of her down time, her pleasure or having an amazing sex life. But she's also, well, modern. Forget the goddesses in flowing togas that seem like a mythological figure from the past, this woman lives in today's world but holds the same power, stature and status as a Queen. She is the creator of her world; her body, her health, her fitness, her business, her family, and she takes responsibility for her part in creating a better world for us all to live in.
Sounds pretty grand, right? But this isn't just a 'nice idea' - it's a reality we need to embrace sooner rather than later if we are going to start healing our health, losing that weight, getting off antidepressants and learning how to love ourselves. A lot of women are suffering, feeling lost and undervalued, and we are suffering because we've given our power away.
"At every moment, a woman makes a choice: between the state of the queen and the state of the slavegirl. In our natural state, we are glorious beings... in the world of illusion we are lost and imprisoned, slaves to our appetites." - Marianne Williamson, from "A Woman's Worth"
Through my coaching sessions, I listen to a lot of fabulous women who are struggling. The struggle might come in the form of excess weight they can’t seem to lose. Or it could come from the stress of balancing work and a family. Maybe it’s the underlying feeling that “there must be more to life than this!” It really doesn’t matter what flavour the struggle is because the reason behind all of them are the same.
They are feeling disempowered because they’ve lost touch with their inner guidance, their intuition, their compass… or as I like to call her, their Modern Goddess.
Your Modern Goddess is you, in all your divine and perfect glory. It’s the you that you were born to be before you started trying to do what you ‘should’ do or fit the mould the world asked you to. Essentially, it’s you without your ego or your inner critic waiting to sabotage your health and wellbeing.
When you’re connected to your Modern Goddess, life flows more easily. Of course, life is still going to throw you learning curves: the world is our classroom and the point of life is not for everything to run perfectly; but in the energy of your Modern Goddess, you have peace of mind in knowing that you’ll be more than capable of dealing with them. Illness and weight gain no longer plague you, because you eat and live in a way that supports your health and healing and you learn from what your body is communicating to you. Stress and anxiety are drastically reduced because you have tools like meditation, breathing or journalling to help you process your feeling and bring them back to love and peace.
Let’s face it, if they sold this in a pill we’d all be popping them! But for $0 down and $0 a month for the rest of your life, you can get these benefits. All you have to do is be willing to tap into her and give her some time to communicate to you.
Finding your own Sasha Fierce
Have you heard of Sasha Fierce? She’s the alter ego that Beyonce created for herself so she could be a bold and powerful entertainer. Beyonce describes herself as usually pretty shy, so she tapped into the part of herself that could be a sexy, powerhouse, diva songstress. Your Modern Goddess is pretty much the same thing. She's all your best qualities that you long to embrace and show up with in the world. What would your life would look like if you made decisions from the point of view of your Modern Goddess? How would she dress? How does she deal with conflict? What does she do to unwind? What advice would she give you about any problems you are having? Remember, your Modern Goddess is you without any of your blocks or limitations.
This is a really fun energy to try on and I encourage you to give it a go this week. If you can, spend 10 minutes connecting with her in the morning. This could be while sitting quietly in a chair or while walking gently around the block. Imagine her, feel her presence and really take on her energy and power. Throughout the day, ask for her guidance when you make decisions. It could be as big as whether to take a new job or not, or as simple as whether to have sushi or subway for lunch.
The cool thing about this is that most of the time we are making decisions about our future based on who were were in the past and what we believe we are capable of based on limiting beliefs. Stepping into the energy of our Modern Goddess, we can start to create our lives from a place of infinite possibility and potential and learn to trust ourselves rather than other people for the answers to our own happiness.
Operating from the energy of your own modern goddess will radically change how you create your life. Have fun with it this week and please post below any a-has or transformations you've experienced from this!