I think I was talking about hiking and my friend said, “Wow, you’re really goal-oriented, aren’t you?” I thought that was so funny. I know so many people who are working toward goals that I forget many people don’t set goals. I didn’t always set goals. I didn’t use to be intentional about creating the life I wanted. I mean, I’ve always had big dreams, but I never worked toward them. I was good at singing so I just thought I’d be a singer. I just flew by the seat of my pants. But I’ll tell you why I constantly set goals and work toward them now.
I’ve always had big dreams, but I wasn’t very good at accomplishing them. They were just dreams. Some of my earliest memories of my life are of my sisters and me playing pretend. I remember pretending we were rich and when we saw a speck of dust on our Lamborghini, we got rid of it and bought another one. A 5-year-old girl pretending she had more than one Lambo? It’s hilarious to me now because that’s the last thing I would buy. I’ve always dreamed of having a home near the ocean. The ocean is magic to me. I’m still working toward that one. I always had dreams of being a wife and a mom. I wanted a son first, and then a daughter. Now that one I did “accomplish” if you can call it that. But I did have a son first and then a daughter. I don’t even know why I wanted that. Really doesn’t matter, does it? But I tell people all the time, jokingly, “That’s what I ordered.”
The beginning of my journey
In 2003, my son was born. My boss retired the day I returned from maternity leave, so I got her job as a director of a huge agency. I started making what, to me, was huge amounts of money, but I was spending money faster than I made it. I got the second home in the mountains, the fancy Acura, and the big house. Then in 2008 I was newly divorced and 8 months behind on my mortgage. I had a few weeks to move out before they were going to foreclose, and I desperately wanted my life to be different, so I signed up for the very first personal growth conference I’d ever attended. It was at a Marriott in Oakland.
I met amazing people. I jumped and danced. I learned about the brain and how we form our beliefs, and how to change them. I loved it and learned so much. While I was there, I got a call from my friend, also my nanny, who told me the house across the street from her just put up a for rent sign. I called the number, faxed an application from the hotel, and got the house. In 2008, everyone was losing their homes and the rental market was nuts. Every home was rented within hours, if not minutes. Even my new abode with the shitty carpets I talked about in my book. I rented it without even looking at it. And when I did see it in person, I was horrified. The family that lived there before me had completely trashed the place and the owner made absolutely no improvements before we moved in. But, alas, we had a place to live, and we made it our home. My kids loved that place. They still talk about it 6 years later. There’s always an upside to everything. I didn’t care about ruining the house, since it was already gross and old, so I let them do whatever they want.
But I digress…at that conference I met my dear friend Alexandra. She said she was going to run a marathon on the Great Wall of China. The date of the marathon was the one-year anniversary of the day my divorce was final. I thought it was a sign. I said, “I want to go!” I had no idea how I was going to get the money, but I saw a vision of me running on the Great Wall of China. I wrote it down every day. I posted pictures of the Great Wall on my vision board. I talked about it to everyone I knew. But business was getting worse, and I was making less and less money every month. Every single paycheck was less than the last. March 24, 2009, I left my job of 12 years to join another single mom who owned her own marketing business so I could work from home. I worked out an agreement with her to receive a guaranteed paycheck for the first 6 months while I worked on getting new business, and she agreed. With my very first paycheck, I paid for the China trip and booked my flight. Running on that wall with 1,500 other people was one of the best days of my life.
Why? I had a dream. I had no way to pay for it. I visualized myself there. I focused on what it would feel like, what it would look like, and I saw myself running across the finish line. Now that dream is one of the greatest memories of my life.
Our dreams can become our reality
Seeing our dreams become reality is one of the best ways to create joy and fulfillment. Working toward a dream or goal or vision is how we feel good. We create our own self worth by making progress toward something we really want to create in our lives.
Think of your greatest memories. I bet most of them started as a dream. Everything amazing in your life that has already happened started as a thought first. All the little joyful moments with your kids, playing board games at the kitchen table, making s’mores around the fire, or walking on the beach while they boogie board. I had dreamt about having children and doing fun things with them ever since I was little. Creating memories is the best way to create your own personal joy and happiness and fulfillment.
So why don’t we work toward creating more memories? And how do we do that?
Why is a relationship dream any different than any other dream or goal?
Tony Robbins said it best. “It’s not about the goal. It’s about who you have to become to achieve that goal.”
If you want great relationships with your kids, you have to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy them, right? Otherwise, they drive us crazy and we’ll drink a bottle of wine. Maybe that’s just me. I have to take care of my mind body and spirit in order to create the life I want with them. It’s up to US to be calm, be good listeners, and be playful if we want our kids to talk to and spend time with us. No one can do that for us. No one is going to save us. Only we can create joy from within if we want to have great relationships. It’s an inside job.
I create that joy and in turn, the life I want by setting goals and working toward them. When I do that, I feel proud. I love the word intention. Maybe that resonates with you more than “goal.” What I intend to do gets me closer to becoming the person I want to BE. It’s the actions that make us. In order to take care of mom so I can be a good mom, I have to be active, I have to move my body. So I made a goal to hike 300 miles last year. 300 seems like a TON. But if you hike every Sunday, that’s less than 6 miles a week. Completely doable. And why hiking? It checks off all kinds of boxes all at once!
I love it. Doing something you love is the best way to create self-worth and joy. I feel so good.
I get outside and get the sun on my face, looking at God’s gorgeous mountains He made for us. I’m getting Vitamin D. (I live in Arizona so in the summer we go when the sun comes up). I feel so good.
I listen to books on tape, so I’m also serving my mind and spirit. I’m learning something new. I feel so good.
When we’re not listening to a book, we’re talking, spending quality time, and strengthening our relationship. I feel so good.
I’m burning calories and sweating, both incredibly great for your mind and body. I feel so good.
And then afterward, we got to breakfast at this place that has insane gluten-free blueberry pancakes. Let’s be honest, I should really put that as the first reason.
Then usually we take a nap when we get home.
Your vision for your future is unique.
Your vision for your future is unique to you and only you. I wanted a husband who loved to hike with me, and you might hate hiking. Your dream is in your heart because that was meant to be for you. Making a goal that you can work toward creates the desire to take actions that make you feel good. You did something that made YOU feel proud. It can be anything.
I talk about my boss list that I wrote in 2013 the day of my friend’s wedding. My list had specific goals in 4 categories: health, finances, family, and home. I asked myself, what could I do in each category that would get me closer to my dream? I wanted to create great memories with my kids, so I made a goal to read to them every night for an hour. I made a goal to eat at the dinner table for 5 nights a week. And what that does is when you have a day where everything goes to shit, they are screaming at each other, and you are pulling your hair out, you can look at yourself in the mirror and say, “Well, that didn’t go how I wanted it to go. But I still ate dinner with them and I read to them, so I am doing OK. I accomplished my goal. I am doing OK.”
No one else can do that for you. We create our dreams. We create goals that get us closer, and when we accomplish those small quantifiable goals, we feel good. We feel like our big dreams are possible, and we feel that we deserve to have a husband who loves us, cherishes us, and adores us exactly the way we ARE. We are always growing, learning, and changing. My experience proves that if you just keep working toward a dream or intention or goal, whatever you want to call them, and keep focusing on becoming the person you want to BE, your soul mate will find you. Those dreams you have with your future beloved will be the best memories of your life. I know it.
If it can happen for one of us, it can happen for all of us.
Wishing you lots of love,