The Key to Creating & Surpassing Juicy Goals

I met a new acquaintance for lunch a few months ago and as she asked and I shared my goal and vision for multiplying the ripple effect of vibrant living, she shook her head and smiled a knowing smile.

Curious, I asked, “What?”

“You’re young,” she said. “For you life is still pollyannish and anything is possible. You think you can change the world. I remember that.”


“You’ll learn,” she said.

Why do we feel so cynical and share it with others?

Women are notorious for feeling cynical about their never-realized aspirations and then sharing that with others. They think they are being helpful, to save someone from going through the same pain, but the opposite is true.

Ever heard one or more of the following?

You gain weight when you age and you’ll never fit in your skinny jeans again. It’s just part of getting older.

Marriage is supposed to be hard, so it doesn’t matter ‘who’ you marry. Anyone can make it work.

You’ll never go back to school. It’s just too hard after you’ve started a family.

You’re having a baby? No more sleep, rest, peace now. Life is over for the next 18+ years…

You can’t decide if you’ll get diabetes or not. You either have it or you don’t.

You think you can create change, but… you’ll learn.

No one can go without eating bread and dessert & you shouldn’t even try. It’s just misery.

Goals don’t work. They are too hard to follow-through on…

Instead of being discouraged at my new friend’s comment, I realized she was simply transferring her experience of unfulfilled goals onto me, assuming I’d not want to try if “I knew the truth.”

Far from it. In Tuesday’s article, I shared a journal entry that expressed my feelings on possibility. If you haven’t read it, click here, and then come back to this.

We are cynical because we’ve tried to succeed too many times to count, failed, & didn’t get back up that last time. (click to tweet this)

We fail because we gave up, not because we didn’t reach our goal.

And the real reason we don’t realize our goals is because we don’t really know what we want in the first place. 

The truth is that when true desire meets goal-setting, the match takes a life of its own and goals become sexy, easy-to-follow-through-on, with no need to put up words and reminders. Motivation comes from within, easily.

So if you’ve never experienced this Life-of-Its-Own when it comes to your goals and dreams, I suggest you haven’t gotten really clear on what you really want.

Let me share a very personal story to illustrate:

I spoke at a CRAVE Boston event in January on goal-setting, everyone’s favorite topic at the beginning of new years. Oh, I thought. Not goal-setting… again.

You see, I was verryyyyy cynical about goal-setting because I am the Queen (capital ‘Q’) of setting goals, making lists, and declaring desires… every other week. I’m also the Queen of making a bit of progress and forgetting about them… even when I do everything right – SMART Goals (read that series here), read it every day, get into the feeling I want to feel, visualize, etc.

Like discipline is to the uninitiated, goal-setting wasn’t sexy. At all. I was tired of it, sure it doesn’t work, and apathetic about trying again.

I’m also the Queen of not knowing what I want. I remember sitting in my counselor’s office during college and she asked me point blank, “What do you want from this situation?”

I don’t know, I answered. Instead of placating me, she encouraged me to explore what I want and have spent the last 7 years on a journey to figure it out.

You see, I’ve made some pretty piss poor choices in my younger days that resulted in broken relationships, broken homes, and hitting bottom and scraping my face across the pavement. This taught me that my decision-maker is off, that what I want isn’t good, and therefore I shouldn’t trust myself and my desires…

…which left me feeling confused and unsure – not confident – a recipe for disaster with achieving goals.

Even though I’ve racked up 7 years of making overall healthy decisions, I never followed-through on my goals because I was unsure if they were the “right goals” and if I really knew that was what I wanted. (I also believed there was a “right” goal)

It wasn’t until I connected a true desire with goal-setting that results happened.

I was introduced to Strongwoman last fall and knew I wanted to compete. For those who aren’t familiar with the sport, learn more here. I love it because there is plenty of variety with the events, an emphasis on strength, and a bit of endurance.

For me, I also need an external stimulus to provide accountability to ensure follow-through. Social accountability – a crowd watching my performance, my clients/friends following my training, people asking about my competition – works best for me. If I’ve declared a goal to clients, friends, or even Facebook, it’s official and I’m going for it.

In March, I set the goal of competing in my first Strongwoman competition in August at the gym where I train here in Boston (1. set goal). And I told people (2. Accountability).

Then it was time to figure out how to be in my best possible shape in 5 months (3. The How – step-by-step). My previous M.O. was to struggle through the step-by-step “how” part of reaching my goal, begin, second-guess myself, flail, and finally fail.

Since I know I second-guess myself go through the above process, but really wanted and was excited about this contest, I stopped thinking and hired the how out.

In other words, I found a coach who does what I wanted to do (compete in Strongman) and successfully trains others to do the same. Instead of reinventing the wheel (even though I am a strength coach myself), I got someone else to do my programming and simply followed the program.

And when I stuck to the program, the results showed up. Period.

The rest was simple. I simply showed up 3-4 days a week to train, followed the program, and focused on recovery. No anxiety. No confusion. No unsureness. No skipping training days (because I’d invested $…).

Training was exciting. Discipline was sexy. And consistency paid dividends. I couldn’t wait to get into the gym because I learned more in these last 5 months about life, living, and loving than I have in the last year.

I learned how to progress through mental barriers, visualize each lift, turn off negativity, and really go for it.

All of this made me feel strong, sexy, and confident, which was motivation in itself to continue with the program, even on days I didn’t feel like it.

Just from knowing what I really wanted.


If you’re curious, I competed in the Women’s Novice weight class at the 2013 MASS State Strong(wo)man Championship at Total Performance Sports (also my gym). The novice class is an introductory level competition – encouraging more women to get involved in the sport, so weight doesn’t matter. The other women’s classes were Lightweight, Middleweight, and Heavyweight.

Prizes for winning in Light, Middle, or Heavyweight included a trip to Nationals, while Novice did not.

The events and weights for Novice were as follows:

  1. Axle Clean & Press – 95# (as many reps as possible in 60 sec.)
  2. Deadlift – 215# (as many reps as possible in 60 sec.)
  3. Sandbag Carry – turns at 50′ – 100# (no time limit)
  4. Yoke 300#/Prowler 230# Medley – fastest time
  5. Atlas Stones over 48″ bar – 150# (as many reps as possible in 60 sec.)

There were a few snags along the way. For one, I worked 60+ hours a week plus trained 8 hours per week, incurring a bit of stress in my life. Second, we took a 3 week road trip down south and returned 1 week prior to the competition, making training an interesting challenge. With these two things in mind, I am very pleased with my performance and know I did my best. There was only one event – stones – in which I was not happy with my performance, but overall, a fantastic day!


My experience with this desire, goal-setting, and the process to completion was unlike anything I have ever experienced. I am no longer cynical about goal-setting because it wasn’t goal-setting that didn’t work, but that I was unclear on what I really wanted. This nuanced but important difference is the game-changer.

Below are some tips to trade in the cynicism for real desire so you, too, can start making progress instead of staying paralyzed.

1. Get Really Clear on What You Want. 

You may think you want to lose weightmake more money, or be in love, but I suggest what you really want is a feeling, a state of being. How will you feel when you have that thing you want? What sorts of things will you do? 

Often, we want to feel more confident, sexy, strong, at peace, free, protected, loved, cared for, etc… but we think being a certain size, having a certain balance in our checking account, or having a certain relationship will do those things for us.

If you don’t know what it is you really want, no worries. Join the club! 😉 This takes some time, some discovery, and it’s important to give yourself permission. Ask God. Ask yourself. Spend some time in quiet reflection. Journal. Read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Make a mission statement. Going through these activities will bring clarity to your journey.


2. Entrust the “How” to Someone Else

I cannot emphasize this enough. Getting help removes the incessant analysis, the second-guessing, and allows you to put complete trust of the HOW to get from point A to point B to someone else.

Hire the coach who has done exactly what you want to do. You do not have to reinvent the wheel. It’s time to stop trying to do everything yourself (How’s that working out for you, by the way?).

Believe me, I know what it’s like to not feel like you have the time, funds, or confidence to invest in a coach. That’s what Craigslist Jobs, dogwalking, housesitting, cleaning, and babysitting are for. How can you generate the funds to fund your goal? There is always a way.

Entrusting the “How” to someone else also gives the accountability you’ll need to succeed and follow-through when times are tough.

I help amazing women discover and follow-through on their juicy goals every day. If you want in on this, click here to ask how you can get off the couch and start living!


3. Commit to the Journey

Did I train every single day of my program perfectly. Nope. Did I train overall consistently? You betcha’

Instead of focusing on perfection in each day, realize it’s the consistency over the longterm that counts. So lighten up buttercup! Be more gentle with yourself! Would you talk to a child the way you talk to yourself?

Commit to the journey and doing the best you can and then show up. Done.


4. Daily Visualize the Desired Outcome

In sports psychology, it’s common knowledge that elite athletes excel when they have spent time visualizing every part of their performance in as many situations as possible so that, when the test comes, they’ve already been there, done that, and simple go through the motions of a superior performance. It’s not new.

Women are really great at knowing exactly what they don’t want, and obsessing over it. No wonder we have more of what we don’t want then!

When I began visualizing each lift, each rep, and exactly how I wanted to perform, I rapidly made progress. It was a complete game changer.

You, too, can experience this by spending a few moments each morning visualizing exactly how you want your day, conversation, or time to go.


In the comments below, describe a time when someone shared something cynical instead of encouraging about a goal of yours. How did you take it? How did you respond? And what words of wisdom are you willing to share for others who will go through this experience at some point in their lives? I cannot wait to read each and every one!

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