A Guiding Question for 2020

This year, I’m going against the traditional fitness grain and putting S.M.A.R.T. goals aside for something a little loftier; focusing on the bigger picture and letting the process of getting there fall into place on its own. Every day, maybe every hour, maybe even every minute in 2020 I’m asking myself one guiding question: If I were already the version of myself I want to become, what would I do? 

If you were already your ideal self, what would you be doing?

We only have one choice to make: are we really committed to becoming that person? If yes, we do the thing. If not, we take it as a lesson and readjust our expectations. 

Does this seem too simple? It kind of is, but that doesn’t make it easy (funny how the hardest things in life seem so plain on the surface). 

Here’s the process I’m currently using to clarify my guiding question.

Step One: What do you want to do?

Make some time to sit down with real pen and paper for what will essentially be a life brainstorming session. 

Without judgement, write out whatever goals you have in mind for the new year first. Get them all out, covering every spectrum of your life (at work, at home, in fitness, at school, everywhere). This isn’t the time to restrict yourself, even the smallest goals count! Here are some examples from my life:

  • Start this blog!
  • Open a new business.
  • Live a frugal 2020 – eating out no more than twice per month, cancel all recurring bills, save as much as possible while out of salaried work.
  • Train for a sub 1:45 half marathon.
  • Visit home at least 4 times in 2020.
  • Technology free mini getaway with my dog 4x in 2020.
  • Take two big vacations.
  • Deep clean the apartment once a month.
  • Train for an 850lb powerlifting total. 
  • Regain 5lbs of muscle mass by June 2020.
  • Meditate for 5 minutes per day.
  • Float at least once per month, no matter what.
  • Make more time for friends – hang out with a friend once per week, especially while between jobs!
  • Continue daily journaling habit.
  • Moisturize more than just your face every single day (we all need this).

My list goes on for quite awhile – that’s the idea!

Step Two: What kind of person does those things?

After you get allllll your ideas out, take a step back. What themes are you seeing? Looking to travel more? Stay in more? Spend more time on yourself, or spend more time with others? 

What traits will be needed to accomplish these goals? Maybe the person that puts 50lbs on her lifting total needs a level of self-discipline and commitment she hasn’t shown in the last year. Maybe the person that wants to travel to 5 new countries in 2020 has a better handle on his personal finances and time management skills than you do currently. 

Keeping all of this in mind, list out some traits that you’ll need to meet your goals. For me:

  • Self-compassion
  • Accepting progress, not only perfection
  • A willingness to commit:
    • to a well-periodized training (and recovery) plan
    • to developing new habits
    • to spending my money on myself
  • Courageousness
  • Authenticity

Step Three: Filter your goals

After singling out the traits you’ll need to meet your goals, see if there are any outliers. Is there a goal that truly does NOT fit in with the person you want to become? Cull it. 

This part is HARD. Letting go of a goal before you even got started on it? Feels like quitting, but it’s not. We cannot say yes to everything (if we want to anything well). This step requires setting boundaries with yourself, in the hopes that you will later uphold your boundaries in the future. 

An example? It may have seemed obvious to many of you: I want to live minimally this year while transitioning work, but also want to take some big vacations and travel! These aren’t compatible. So what gives? That choice is mine, and you’ll need to make some similar choices on your own. Know that there are no right and wrong answers (despite what your friends and family may think). Do what is right for you and own it. 

So for me, I’m letting go of the plan for a big beach vacation this year. I’m betting I’ll have plenty more years for that, and right now I will prioritize careful spending.

Step Four: Make it so you can’t forget it

Give yourself the reminders you’ll need to become the person you want to be. I love visual aids – post-it notes on the fridge (eat an extra meal to gain that muscle back!), a custom phone background (what would your ideal self be doing right now?), reminders in my planner. Make it difficult to forget your guiding question. Put it everywhere.

Step Five: Live it

Now we get to act. It’s already the new year, so there’s no reason not to start immediately! Take stock of where you’re at and what you’re doing and ask, “What would the best future version of me be doing right now?”

I’ll use myself as an example one last time. Starting this blog has been on my to-do list for about a year. In fact, I did get it up and running back in January 2019, but was too afraid to make it live. My perfectionism got in the way! 

And this post – I wanted to get it out on NYE, since it does kind of address the idea of New Years Resolutions and all. That didn’t happen. So what? Do I put if off for ANOTHER year? Thats not what the ideal Lindsey would do. She would own it, want to get the content out for others to utilize regardless of date, and post it! Which is what I’m doing, right now. You can do it too. Feel the fear, and do it anyway.

4 thoughts on “A Guiding Question for 2020”

  1. […] Of the six workouts I did last week, exactly two of them were “to plan.” And that’s totally okay. I sometimes struggle with being flexible in my training. The story I tell myself: if I didn’t do it perfectly, it didn’t count, and I should feel bad about it. How is that helpful in any way? What do I gain from allowing that narrative? Is this what my ideal self would do?  […]

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