Spiritual tools to help you achieve your goals.

The New year is here. Many of us have set intentions for goals in health, work and relationships. We’re inspired, yearning for growth, and determined to change.

But it’s Winter! It’s cold outside, it gets dark early, we feel more tired, and for some it can be very hard to find the motivation to implement these goals. Shouldn’t New year’s Day be in the Spring-time?! Spring brings more sun, more warmth, beautiful flowers, and an easier energy to get things done!

The Winter appears to be an obstacle to achieving our goals, but I think there is a gift in starting the New year in Winter. It’s reminder of a very important lesson in life- that no matter the goal, you will have obstacles to achieving it. And moreover, the greater the goal you have, the greater the obstacles will be to attain it.

This means that whether you’re trying to lose weight, find a new job, grow your family, start a meditation practice, or spend more time with friends, there will be things that get in the way. It will not be smooth-sailing. This is why only 8% of New Yorkers’ keep to their New year’s resolutions the entire year. 

There will be times you are thriving and moving closer to your goal. There will also be obstacles- hard times- when progress is slow or delayed. And, there will be times you are utterly stuck- the dream seems impossible. You hit a wall and you want to give up. What now?

These obstacles serve a purpose. It is to test you- how strong is your desire to achieve this thing? How far will you go to make this happen? If you don’t succumb to the defeat, these obstacles will serve to strengthen you and your goal.

This is a lesson I’ve learned only recently from one of my teachers, Gedale Fenster. He teaches to anticipate the obstacles to your goals so that when they occur, they won’t be as shocking to you and you will have the strategies to work through them, and not abandon your goals. He quotes Rabbi Nachman of Breslov who gives the example: You want to build a house. You must first picture how you want it to look. Have a clear vision of your goal. You then have things to do- you have to hire a contractor, purchase permits, interior design, etc. Now, anticipate obstacles: this contractor may not work out/ permit can take 2 more months to come/ rain will slow things down, etc. Create solutions to these obstacles, but just knowing they will arise has already helped you through them.

Now that you have the obstacles in mind, you also need the strategies to get through the emotional response to your obstacles. 

This is because when things get difficult- feelings of disappointment, anxiety, fear, and depression can make us forget our goals and abandon them prematurely.  I discussed some of these in my last 2 newsletters “SAD” and “Turn on the Light” –

Here are some way to manage our emotional response to obstacles:

  • Attitude of Gratitude: Be grateful for what has gone well thus far. Count your blessings. You will automatically be in a more positive frame of mind and motivated to continue on your path.
  • Breathe: This will slow your anger and frustration, and bring you back to clarity and a sense of patience.
  • Celebrate the Wins– Remember what you have achieved thus far…even one positive thought is one step closer to achieving your goal.
  • Step-Away: Sometimes we need a break from our work. Sometimes to rest and rejuvenate and sometimes to seek advice and support from others. 
  • Why: Remember your purpose. What was all this for? Is your desire strong enough? If not, want it more.  When your WHY is strong enough, it becomes very difficult to abandon your goal.  Your purpose will always help you overcome the delays, the disappointments, and keep you from despair.

We are all going to hit obstacles, make mistakes, and fall down. It will happen again and again. Know, your mind is your greatest obstacle- Limited awareness, old fears, and self-doubt will try to get in the way. Remember your purpose, practice gratitude and patience, and you CANNOT FAIL.

With blessings of strength and fierce positivity on your path,

Dr. Miriam Pineles, DACM

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