UnF*ck Your Brain Podcast— Feminist Self-Help for Everyone

UFYB318: Greatest Hits: Perfectionism & Achieving Impossible Goals

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • What happens when we believe we shouldn’t rest.
  • Why setting impossible goals often presents challenges for perfectionists.
  • The one pitfall to avoid when setting impossible goals.
  • How perfectionists are always unconsciously setting impossible goals.
  • 2 questions you must ask yourself about your impossible goals.
  • How to set an impossible goal in a way that serves you.
  • The difference between a perfectionist fantasy and an impossible goal.

If you’re ready to make 2024 a mind-blowing year, I’m inviting you to consider setting an impossible goal for yourself. Not because you need to achieve something worthy, or because you aren’t good enough the way you are right now, but because your whole identity will shift in the process.

Women especially drastically underestimate what we’re capable of achieving, having absorbed messages about knowing our own limitations, not wanting too much, or thinking too highly of ourselves. As a result, some of you don’t ever think about the future or have big dreams, while the rest of you identify as perfectionists who live in the future all the time. Either way, the concept of impossible goals can be incredibly powerful if applied correctly.

Tune in this week to hear what an impossible goal is and how to set one in a way that serves you. I’m sharing how perfectionism warps the way we think about goals, important considerations for setting impossible goals if you identify as a perfectionist, and the difference between a perfectionist fantasy and an impossible goal.

Podcast Transcript:

Welcome to Unf*ck Your Brain, the only podcast that teaches you how to use psychology, feminism, and coaching, to rewire your brain and get what you want in life. And now here’s your host, Harvard Law School grad, feminist rockstar, and master coach, Kara Loewentheil. Hello my chickens. I am preparing a little something of a 2024 glow up experience for you all. I’m going to say that we are still saying glow up. I’m 42. I’m not always on the cutting edge. But that’s really how I’ve been thinking about it. I feel like a lot of us, it’s been a pretty intense year in a lot of ways. It’s continuing to be a pretty intense year but we’re just ready for a little more shine. So here’s how this is all going to look. We’re starting today with a repeat of one of my most important episodes when it comes to setting goals and planning and trying to change your life. So we’re going to be listening to 166, which is Perfectionism and Achieving Impossible Goals. This is really important bedrock teaching, before we even start trying to set a goal, understanding how perfectionism is kind of warping our thinking and is contributing to the way we think about goals. So we’re going to start with that. We do have an incredible interview episode next week with Elise Loehnen, the author of the Seven Deadly Sins. So that’s an incredible conversation about the way that the sort of traditional Christian sins have been associated with women over the years. So we are going to be doing that. But after that, we’re going to have four episodes in a row where I’m really focusing on teaching you about goal setting, resolutions, how to think about your own personal development goals in the context of it feeling like the world is a little bit on fire right now, more than even usual. So how to think about our own personal development in the context of global upheaval, why it still matters to set personal goals, how to do that effectively, how to make sure you actually achieve those goals. Going to be diving deep into all of it. So that’s what’s coming up. The other thing that I want you to do to prepare for this little kind of mini podcast intensive with me is to register for a free training that I’m doing called The Feminist Anxiety Fix. So I taught this once last month and it was incredible. We had thousands of people registered. And the response just made clear to me, how serious of a problem this is in our brains which I knew but it just really brought it home for me. So I’m going to be teaching this again, December 5th at 12:00pm Eastern. I’m going to be teaching this free training again called The Feminist Anxiety Fix. In this training I’m going to be teaching about what socially programmed anxiety is and how you can solve it. I’m actually going to teach you a hack you can start using right away, two hacks actually, a somatic hack and a cognitive hack. So body and brain hacks that you can start using right away when you see socially programmed anxiety coming up for you. If you are socialized as a woman and you feel anxiety, I promise you, some of it is socially programmed anxiety, maybe all of it. So you’re really going to want to come to this training. When you listen to this episode on perfectionism and goals then you come to that training on December 5th, you’re going to have a much better understanding of how your perfectionism, your anxiety, your socialization is messing with the way that you think about and set the goals you want to achieve in your life. And then after that we’re going to dive into a couple of podcast episodes in a row where I’m going to really teach you a different way of thinking about setting goals in the context of our world, why and how it's still important and how to achieve them. So we’re basically just going to have a month of working on this together, you and me through the podcast. I’m going to be teaching everything that I use and know but it starts with this episode. And it starts with the Feminist Anxiety Fix on Tuesday December 5th at 12:00pm Eastern. So here’s how you can register for that. Text your email address to +1347 997 1784, that’s +1347 997 1784, when your prompted the code word is anxiety. Or you can go to unfuckyourbrain.com/anxiety. When you don’t know how to recognize socially programmed anxiety, you’re going to end up setting goals that are just trying to solve your socially programmed anxiety, and that won’t work. If you feel guilty about the way that you look or about how you’re eating because of the socialization that you’ve gotten about women’s bodies. And then you’re going to try set a goal to ‘eat clean’ or whatever it is to feel better, you’re not setting a goal from a clear place. You’re setting a goal from trying to resolve the anxiety and guilt and shame that women feel about not living up to possible social expectations. So this webinar itself is not specifically goal focused this training, it’s really about this anxiety in all contexts. But if you want to go on this journey with me of working on setting goals for 2024 in a powerful, sustainable, transformative way, then this training is going to really help you notice when you’re trying to set those goals, kind of from anxiety. And that is also discussed in a different way in this episode that you’re about to hear. So listen to this episode, register for the Feminist Anxiety Fix, probably the other order, press pause, register now. Text your email to +1347 997 1784, code word, anxiety. Or visit unfuckyourbrain.com/anxiety. Do those two things then next week we’ll have our interview with Elise Loehnen. And then we are going to come back and do several episodes in a row all about goals and goal setting to get you ready for 2024. Alright, let’s take it away past me. It is December when I’m recording this and also December when you’re listening to this possibly, depending on when you listen to it. And I got to tell y’all, I have kept the energy up this year and I am ready to rest. I am tired. And you know, I have not been working in an ICU. I’m tired from just having a normal human life. Not to speak of the things that people have gone through this year. 2020 has been a year for kind of so many of us, and I think I’m hearing from a lot of people what I’m feeling, which is this pull to rest more. For those of us experiencing shorter and darker days right now, it’s normal to want to rest more. Your body is an animal. You wouldn’t wake up your cat to yell at her for being lazy because she was sleeping, so I don’t want you to do that to yourself if you’re feeling like you need rest now. And no matter what kind of job you have and how busy your schedule is, I have coached women all over the spectrum on this in terms of what their jobs require, how many hours they had to work, how many family responsibilities they had. The truth is there is always some time to rest if you stop believing that you shouldn’t be resting and that everything else is more important than you resting. If you stop believing that you should be coming up with an enriching activity for your kids because they shouldn’t watch another hour of TV, or you should do the dishes, or you should make a home-cooked dinner instead of feeding everybody tater tots once in a while. There’s a lot of ways that we fill up and spend our time when we believe that we shouldn’t rest. When we believe that resting is lazy. And so no matter what’s going on in your life, I know that a lot of this is the way that you think about your circumstances. And I know because that’s true for me. I have been actually doing really deep work on this myself and finding that when I finally released the idea about how much I should be working or how lazy it was to not be working all the time, all of a sudden, I had so much more room because I had been subconsciously filling that room up with things that didn’t really have to get done immediately or in making everything take twice as long as it needed to subconsciously. It is amazing to me how much more spacious my days are, not having changed any of my responsibilities. So that is my resting message for you. But that is not actually the topic of this podcast, although I totally should do a podcast about this. What I want to talk about today is what happens in 2021, after we rest. Because this is the normal cycle of life and so many of us kind of reject that normal ebb and flow. We think we should be as active as our most active day ever all the time. We think we should be as productive as our most productive day ever all the time. But that’s not what anything in nature does if you look around. Plants don’t do that; animals don’t do that. Everything in nature has a cycle of energy expenditure and then rest. And then energy expenditure again, rest and renewal. Rest and being refreshed. And so after we rest, that’s when we can start to gather the energy to really think about what we want to accomplish or create or experience in 2021. And so today I want to talk to you about the idea of an impossible goal. So this is a concept I learned from my teacher, Brooke Castillo, and I don’t know where she got it. She learned it from someone else or she made it up herself, but that’s where I learned it. And it’s a tool or an exercise, whatever you want to call it, that a lot of coaches trained by The Life Coach School where I was trained teach. But I actually usually don’t teach this goal that often and I’m going to explain why before I do teach you about it. So even if you’ve learned this tool somewhere else, if you’ve ever had trouble with it or found it challenging, or if you’re a coach and you teach it to your clients, I recommend that you listen to this. Of course, if you’ve never heard of this, definitely listen. But even if you think you know what it is, I teach it a little bit differently. So I think this is an amazing tool. I have used it to accomplish amazing things in my life. I also think it’s a tool that can be tricky for perfectionists, and most of my listeners and students are perfectionists. If you’re new to the podcast, perfectionism does not mean you're actually perfect. That’s what we think it means, that we actually do things perfectly. That’s not what it means. What it means is that you think you should be perfect. It means you think you’re never good enough and you’ve never done a good enough job and anything you’ve done, it could have and should have been better. That’s what being a perfectionist is. And so most of you are in that category. And I haven’t taught it until now on the podcast because I try not to teach this tool too early to people who are not really ready for it and are going to misuse it against themselves or who are going to just suck it into their perfectionism. And I’m going to explain what I mean in a minute, but it’s like I imagine the cyclone of the perfectionism, this tool just gets sucked up into that and it never really gets understood or used because it just becomes one more way to set impossible fantasy goals and never live up to them and then beat yourself up about that. So if you’re new to the podcast, you can totally listen to this episode, but then I really want you to go listen to the episode on perfectionist fantasies right after, and that’s in the title. It’s Perfectionist Fantasies and Tomorrow Thinking. Because here is the pitfall we want to avoid. An impossible goal is basically a big goal you set that you don’t think you can accomplish. And I’m going to get into a lot more how and why we would do that, but just for this beginning part, it’s a big goal you don’t think you can accomplish. You think it’s impossible. So here’s the thing; I think this tool can be revelatory in the first instance, like without any nuance, for people who just have never set goals for themselves. There are a lot of people in the world who because of whatever, how they were raised, what they were taught was possible for them, what they saw around them, they’ve just never really tried to do anything big or change something in their lives. For people who don’t have big dreams or who tend to just really operate in the day to day and people who’ve never really thought about their future, who don’t really - who just are like, I just go through my life and whatever happens happens, and life happens to me and I don’t give a lot of thought to where I’m going to be in five years, or 10 years, or what I want to accomplish. Life if just whatever happens to you. For people who are in that mindset, and that’s not bad or good, it’s not better or worse than being a perfectionist. It’s just different. I’ve coached people who are like this, I have friends and employees and people who are like this. None of these are better or worse than the others. It’s just a different way of thinking. So for people who are in that kind of mindset, setting an impossible goal can really be mind-blowing because they’ve never really thought about who they want to be or what they want to do in the future. They’re not very future-oriented, people like that. They aren’t future thinking. So adding future thinking as a skill, as a tool blows their minds and changes their whole life. Or people who maybe have sort of thought about the future or wanted to, but don’t believe they’re capable of achieving something, and so they’ve never really even declared to themselves that they’re going to try. The problem is that for perfectionists, we have the opposite problem. A perfectionist doesn’t have the problem of never thinking about the future. The problem with the perfectionist mind is that it’s constantly thinking about the future and how perfect the future’s going to be, how one day we are magically going to become this perfect version of ourselves, and that our lives will finally be amazing and wonderful and we’ll always feel great because we’re finally perfect. Perfectionists live in the future all the time in our minds. So perfectionists are actually constantly setting impossible goals. Like I want to weigh half of what I weigh now, or everyone needs to like me at all times, or I’m going to vow to never yell at my kids again, or I’m going to set up this complicated morning routine and then I’m going to do it perfectly so that I always feel great and I never feel bad again. Perfectionists are constantly thinking about the future and coming up with fantasies about how to do things perfectly in the future so they can finally be good enough. And I think that sometimes the way that impossible goals is taught as a concept doesn’t make this crucial distinction. And so what happens is that perfectionists just kind of end up absorbing the idea, mis-absorbing it, it’s like an amoeba that eats another amoeba. Just suck it into what they’re already doing. So they just take whatever self-improvement perfectionist fantasy they already had that they’d been vowing to do forever and thinking they need to do to be good enough and imagining being perfect at and never actually doing, they just make that fantasy their impossible goal. So somebody who’s has a weight loss fantasy their whole life and has never lost the weight but is constantly thinking about how they’re going to start tomorrow or on Monday or in January and then they’re going to lose weight and then everything will be perfect and they will always feel confident and everyone will love them and life will be amazing, the person who’s been vowing that to themselves for 20 years, they learn about impossible goals as a concept and they’re like, great, my impossible goal is to lose the weight. Nothing has changed here. When you do that, nothing has been learned. You just take your perfectionist fantasy you already had, you slap a sticker called impossible goal on it, you still don’t achieve it because you haven’t changed your thought patterns, and then you feel shitty about yourself just like you did for all the other years when you just called it a regular goal. So if you’re a perfectionist, meaning you often set goals for yourself that you can’t achieve, that hinge around you doing something perfectly to finally feel good enough, you have to be very careful with setting an impossible goal to make sure you’re doing it in a way that serves you. So let’s get down to business. What is an impossible goal and how do you set it in a way that serves you? An impossible goal, like I said at the beginning, is just a goal that you want to achieve that seems impossible to you. But especially if you’re a perfectionist, you need to make sure you understand two things. Don’t just pick a goal and run with it. You need to make sure you understand number one, why do you want this goal? Why did we pick this goal? And number two, why do you think it’s impossible? If either of the answers to these questions - and I’m going to give you an example in a minute, but I just want to give you the framework. You have to understand why you want the goal and why you think it’s impossible. And if either of those answers has to do with your own self-worth or your own lovability, you’re setting yourself up to fail and it’s really more of a perfectionist fantasy. An impossible goal should not be a goal that you set because you think once you have or can do whatever the thing is, once you’ve achieved the goal, you will finally prove something about yourself, or you will finally feel good about yourself, or you will finally be worthy. An impossible goal cannot be tied to your worthiness. If you tie it to your worthiness, you are dooming yourself before you even start. When you make your worth conditional on achieving any goal, whether you label it impossible or not, you make it impossible to achieve the goal, and not in a good way. Because you have now put so much weight on the goal that any failure on the process becomes excruciating. When you make your worth conditional on whether you can achieve a goal, any failure in the process of achieving the goal means to you that you are not worthy and you may never be worthy, and that is excruciating. And any big goal does require failure along the way. That’s one of the big differences between a real impossible goal and a perfectionist fantasy. In a perfectionist fantasy, you never think about failing. It’s just oh, on Monday I’m going to be a completely different person who can magically do it perfectly. When you really set an impossible goal, you know there’s going to be so much failure along the way. And if you’ve made your worthiness part of it, you are guaranteeing that you will feel terrible and suffer so much and probably quit because it’ll be just too painful. Similarly, if you think a goal is impossible because you believe you aren’t good enough to do it or not worthy enough to have it, then again, your motivation for doing it is to prove to yourself that you’re worthy. So I said there were two questions. Why do you want it? If you want it so you can finally feel good about yourself, then you’ve tied your worthiness in it. And I said you need to ask yourself why do you think it’s impossible. If your answer to that is because you aren’t good enough to do it or not worthy enough to have it, then again, you’ve got your worthiness all mixed up in it. So those two questions can kind of collapse into each other. Why you think it’s impossible or why you want the goal, but that’s fine. If the answer to either one or both has to do with you finally feeling good enough, you’re coming at this from a perfectionist point of view. It’s not going to work. And in that case, you really are just having a perfectionist fantasy and you need to listen to the whole episode I did on those and how to handle them. So what are some examples of good answers to one and two when you’re setting an impossible goal? What would a kind of - I don’t really use the word healthy because I think it means so many different things to different people and it becomes its own kind of perfectionism. But what are kind of reasons that set you up to have a useful experience when you’re picking an impossible goal? And why should we do this at all if it’s so fraught and complicated and easy to fuck it up for ourselves? The reason to set an impossible goal is to blow your own mind with what you can accomplish and who you can become in doing that. It’s not to finally be good enough or worthy. And it’s not to obtain an outcome. If you’ve achieved a goal, that achievement becomes the new circumstance. If my goal is to run a marathon, once it’s over, it becomes a circumstance that I am someone who ran a marathon. That’s a fact now. We don’t set an impossible goal to get an outcome, to create a new circumstance because we think it’ll make us happy. Circumstances don’t make us happy. Running marathons is not what makes us proud of ourselves. Getting married is not what makes us feel loved and good enough. Circumstances don’t cause our feelings. The reason to set an impossible goal is because the most fun thing about being a human is doing something you didn’t think you were capable of and expanding your vision of what is possible for you. That is, if not the most fun thing, one of the most fun things. Most of us drastically tragically underestimate what we are capable of achieving or creating. Because we are mostly being driven by our unconscious thoughts. And we’ve absorbed so much socialization from our families, our teachers, our friends, popular culture, society, especially for women. We’ve absorbed so many messages about knowing our own limitations and not getting too big for our bridges and not wanting too much and not having too much and not thinking we’re special and not standing out and not making a scene and not thinking too highly of ourselves. And we’ve been raised with ideas of what we are or aren’t good at, which often have literally nothing to do with what we actually could be good at or not. So to give you my kind of example, the story in my family growing up was always that I was bad with money. And now I’ve created six million dollars total in revenue in my first ever business, in its first five years, with a very healthy profit margin and very healthy taxes that I pay. So possibly, I’m not actually bad with money. Turns out that might have been a story about me that wasn’t true. But the only reason we know that is because I set the impossible goal of making a million dollars in revenue in one year in my business. And that wasn’t my first impossible goal. My first impossible goal was to make $100,000 in revenue in one year in my business. That didn’t seem possible to me when I was starting out. But then I did that twice over in my second year, and then I set the next impossible goal. And now, making a million dollars in revenue a year is easy to me. Making several is. So I have to set a new impossible goal. Your impossible goal absolutely doesn’t have to be money related. But my first ones were because that’s where I was in my life and my business when I learned about this concept and that’s what seemed truly impossible. I had always believed that I would be successful professionally in some way. I had tons of imposter syndrome still, but I believed that I would have a career. That didn’t seem crazy to me. But I had such a strong story that I was bad with money and that I was kind of spent frivolously and I was - whatever the opposite of thrifty is, profligate. And that I didn’t know how to make money. And so to me, the idea that I would be able to make money and not just enough to basically live on but actually create an enormous amount of revenue, and then to be able to create all of the work in the world that that allows, to have a business and run a business and be able to employ women and give them amazing jobs making change in the world that pay well and have benefits, and to be able to reach all the students that I can reach, all of that seemed impossible, but the money was the concrete thing that seemed impossible. And again, that has nothing to do with money itself. It’s just a function of where I was. I think if I had - I did most of my body image work, the real bulk of it before I trained as a coach. I was using thought work, but it was before I got certified. And I think if I’d known about impossible goals back then, the idea of not binging and purging and being done with that forever, that would have seemed impossible. That probably would have been an impossible goal for me to set. When I was in that life, that was just something I had been doing forever, for 20 years. It seemed impossible. The frequency varied and after a height of disordered eating in my college years and early 20s, it had kind of slowed down. So it was in a fucked up way kind of sustainable. It was not causing me major health problems, I probably could have kept going like that forever. And when I think about what it was like to be living in that mind, where this just seemed like something that was impossible to stop, I think that would have been an impossible goal. So stopping that behavior would have been an amazing impossible goal. Not trying to lose weight and loving my body. Loving my body without losing weight, that would have seemed like an impossible goal. Any of those could have been my impossible goals. I just didn’t happen to know this concept at the time that I was working on those things. So it does not at all have to do with money or business or your professional life. It can be anything in your life. Just because of where I was when I got certified as a coach and when I really learned this tool, those financial goals in my business were what seemed impossible. Because I didn’t believe that I was the kind of person who could do that. That’s what is mind-blowing about an impossible goal. It’s not just like, oh, well I don’t know the how of making a million dollars, I don’t know which buttons to press, but when I figure that out it’ll be fine. It was my identity. Like my identity was as someone who was bad with money and didn’t know how to make money. So the idea that I could become someone who could create a million dollars in revenue in a business in a year seemed impossible. That’s what made it an impossible goal. And it’s important to know why you want to achieve it and why you don’t believe you can. So let’s use that example. Setting the impossible goal of making a million dollars in a coaching business or making $100,000 in a coaching business or making $20,000 in a coaching business is not a good idea if the reason you want it is because you think that once you make a million dollars, you’ll finally feel like you’re a good coach. Or that once you make a million dollars, you’ll finally feel like you’re good enough to success, or once you make a million dollars, you’ll finally feel like you’re as good as your older brother who has an MBA. Whatever it is. That’s not my story. I don’t have a brother with an MBA. None of those are good reasons because those are all about believing that you’re worthwhile, believing that you’re good enough, believing that you have to catch up to someone else or you have to manifest something outside of yourself in order to believe in your own potential. That’s backwards. You cannot achieve an impossible goal to make yourself believe in yourself. I’m going to say that again. You cannot achieve an impossible goal or any goal in order to make your brain believe in you, to make yourself believe in yourself, to give yourself evidence that you’re worth believing it. It has to be the other way around. You have to believe in yourself first. The good reason to set an impossible goal is honestly almost always the same, regardless of the goal. It’s that you don’t believe you can do it, and it would blow your mind in an awesome way if you did, or you’re curious to find out who are you going to have to become and how are you going to have to evolve, or you’re just curious to experience it. What is it like to be that person? And similarly, you have to ask yourself why you find the goal impossible right now. If your answer is I’m not good enough, I’m not a good coach unless I make this amount of money, it’s going to be an uphill battle because you’re trying to achieve the goal in order to feel okay about yourself. Or if your answer is well, if I make a certain amount of money then I’ll never have to worry about money again and I’ll be happy, or if your answer is well, if I can change my body this way, then I’ll always feel good and confident about my body. Those are not good reasons because you’re wanting a change in circumstance to create an emotional state and that isn’t how it works. And you’re never going to get there thinking that way because along the way, you’re going to feel terrible. And then you’re going to be like, well, why should I bother? The whole point of this goal was to feel good and I don’t feel good now, so I’m just going to quit. That’s not how it works. But let’s take my example. The reason I thought it was impossible was my thoughts about money are that I’m not good at making money. Now, that is sort of a negative thought about myself, and so we have to be really clear. I’m not saying you can’t set an impossible goal that has to do with limiting beliefs about yourself. Every impossible goal involves limiting beliefs about yourself, otherwise, you’d already believe you could do it and it wouldn’t seem impossible. And some people might have self-worth tied up in that. So some people’s thought might have been, “I’m not good at making money and that means I’m not worthy.” And then that would be a problem for this project, right? But I did not have my self-worth tied up in it. I thought I was bad at making money the same that I would say I was bad at tango dancing. It was just a statement of fact. It was limiting my life in that it was keeping me from creating wealth and creating the impact of this business, and just like thinking I’m bad at tango keeps me from spending time dancing tango, it was having an effect on me, but I didn’t think it meant I wasn’t a worthy person. In fact, ironically, like make of you, I had a lot of thought about people who were good at making money being bad people. So it was almost a badge of honor. In my mind, it was like, well, people who want to make money and are good at making money, that’s suspect. Those are bad people. So when I say I’m bad at making money, that’s kind of awesome about me. That’s how my thoughts were all tangled up. Now, I could have gone through my life with that thought process just fine if I’d stuck with being a public interest lawyer or an academic, but then I went and quit the law and became a life coach and started a business, so it was not a helpful set of thoughts to have if I was trying to run a business. So you see what I’m saying. I was not thinking I’m bad with money and so I’m not worthy and I need to make this money to prove my worth. In fact, it was kind of the opposite. I had my worth tied up in the idea that I don’t really care about the money, I don’t want to make money. And so my reason for setting that impossible goal was to really challenge myself. I really wanted to blow my own mind with how wrong I was about what I was capable of. I came to this point of being like, you know what, let’s see if I can, and then I can decide if I want to believe it’s a bad thing to do. But coming at it from this place of just assuming that it’s bad and I can’t, I’m not learning anything or growing. I really wanted to experience that shift in identity and self-conception. Like, what is it like to go from being someone who believes she can’t make money and isn’t good at making money, and takes some pride in that in a way, to being someone who can make a million dollars in a year as a life coach? What is that journey? How did my conception of myself have to change? How did my thinking have to change? What kind of negative emotions and discomfort and cognitive dissonance did I have to be willing to feel and work through to make that shift? That is what I was interested in. I was interested in proving my own thoughts about my limitations wrong. I was not interested in proving my worth. I did not believe that how much money I made had anything to do with my worth. I struggle with my own thoughts about my worth in my human brain in other areas of my life where I have to be careful about this with my impossible goals, but not in money, which is why I was able to do it so relatively quickly. Because I didn’t have my worth tied up in it. Any time that you are tying your worth up with a goal, you are sort of fetishizing the goal. Any time you set an impossible goal and you’re really fixated on the goal itself and you think it really matters if you hit the goal, you’re setting yourself up to fail. We call it impossible because - or at least I do, because it truly doesn’t matter if you meet it or not. That’s the paradox. You want it to matter a lot in the sense that you want to take it seriously and do everything you can, and it doesn’t matter at all if you ever actually get there. Because the point of setting an impossible goal isn’t the goal at all. It’s the journey. It’s who you have to become on your way to trying to achieve that goal. So I fought with my teacher Brooke a lot about this when I first learned it. I was very upset about this idea. This was way before we got to my money stuff. This was like, in the first day of certification probably. And so this was the example I kept using that I was so mad about was I was like, what if I decide that my impossible goal is to play for the women’s NBA team or the WNBA I guess it is. Like from my perspective then, I was like, this is a slam-dunk argument. This is - why would that be useful or a good idea? That would be a ridiculous waste of time, it would never happen, it’s obviously impossible, this is such a stupid idea. I’m 5’2, I’m not athletic, I have no basketball experience. But here’s what I’ve learned because my teacher was patient with me, and here’s how I think about it now. Let’s say I set that goal. What would I have to learn to try to reach that goal? Who would I have to become? As somebody who hates sports and doesn’t think she’s naturally athletic, doesn’t think she has any sports talent, doesn’t think she enjoys exercise. I enjoy lifting and I like dancing and walking, you know, sometimes I run even though I hate it because I sort of love to hate it. But I’m not someone who says about herself, “I just love vigorous, strenuous exercise.” So who would I have to become? So much about me would have to change. My lifestyle, my skills, my habits, my thinking, it would be a wild, incredible journey. You could imagine the book I would write at the end of it, even though I probably would never make the WNBA team. If I truly embrace that goal, I would become an entirely different person. Now, in some ways, this is a red herring because the truth is, I don’t think we ever set impossible goals that are things we don’t really want. I would never set an impossible goal to play for the NBA, the WNBA, because I don’t actually want that. So it’s not even really an issue. But I just share it to show you that even going to the extreme, even being like, what if I set this impossible goal that truly is impossible, I’m 39 and a life coach and I’m going to become an astronaut. The question isn’t like, well could you ever actually become an astronaut? The question is like, how much would your life change and your thought process about yourself change if you took that seriously and did everything you could do? For me, I would have to believe I was amazing at science and also get in incredible physical shape. I would have to learn so much, I would have to change how I think about myself. Everything would change. The point is the journey always. What are you going to learn along the way? Who are you going to have to become? So if you want to make 2021 an amazing year, I want you to consider setting an impossible goal for yourself. Not because you need to achieve something else to be worthy. Your impossible goal could be napping every day for a year if you’re someone who struggles to rest. It’s not about doing. Not because you aren’t good enough the way you are. Not because getting the thing or doing the thing will make you happy or change your feelings. It is a terrible idea to set an impossible goal thinking that you’ll feel good when you get there because going after an impossible goal involves feeling terrible. You have to have a lot of negative emotion. You’re changing your whole identity and challenging all these beliefs and sucking and failing all the time. You have to learn how to process that and move through it and act despite it and keep going. So if you pick something because you think getting that’s supposed to make you happy, there’s no way you’re going to stick with it because it’s going to be so uncomfortable along the way. You have to pick something that inspires you, something that seems insane and impossible, something that would blow your mind. Who do you have to become? That’s the point. If you want help with how to do this and how to set goals, that is something we work on in The Clutch all the time. And in fact, we have a bonus module about how to create a New Year’s resolution or set any kind of goal that you will get free access to if you join The Clutch this month. So if you want to get in on that, you want to set this impossible goal and you want some help with how to set goals and how to make sure you’re not picking things to just torture yourself with, or where you pretend you’re going to be perfect, not perfectionist fantasies, you can just text your email address to +13479348861. And we will send you a link, get you all set up to join The Clutch and you’ll get immediate access to How to Make and Keep your New Year’s Resolutions, which is a course that will walk you through a fool-proof process that you can use to set an achieve any goal in your life, including an impossible goal. Or you can just go to unfuckyourbrain.com/theclutch. I cannot wait to hear about your goals for 2021 and to coach you through not only achieving them, but becoming the people that you need to be in order to do it because that is always the point. Happy New Year, chickens. I will see you in 2021. If you’re loving what you’re learning in the podcast, you have got to come check out The Clutch. The Clutch is the podcast community for all things Unf*ck Your Brain. It’s where you can get individual help applying the concepts to your own life. It’s where you can learn new coaching tools not shared on the podcast that will blow your mind even more. And it’s where you can hang out and connect over all things thought work with other podcast chickens just like you and me. It’s my favorite place on earth and it will change your life, I guarantee it. Come join us at www.unfuckyourbrain.com/theclutch. That’s unfuckyourbrain.com/theclutch. I can’t wait to see you there.

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