How to Stop Failing at Achieving Big Goals

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Podcast Ep #1 Morning Lift with Whit

Are you trapped in the Big Goal Fail Cycle? Constantly trying to achieve ambitious goals only to give up before you see real results? Me too! Until I started using these 5 fail-proof steps to complete major projects, develop healthy habits, and move my life in the direction I have always dreamed of.  I’ll share personal stories and struggles with you as we figure out how to build a life we love now and reach our highest potential. 

P.S. I am a Life Coach, if this episode resonates with you and you feel like you need more, support and accountability in your life. Please reach out. I’d love to help you! 

Click here for more info. 

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Whitney Anne Ellis:
Welcome to the Morning Lift with Whit, minutes of inspiration and motivation to start your day off, right? Whether you're feeling uninspired, tired, or just need your dose of encouragement, you've come to the right place. Together, we will discover how to live a life we love while managing the bumps along the way. I'm your host, Whitney Anne Ellis, and it is my pleasure to be with you. We only have two rules at the morning lift come just as you are, and that we all make the most of each day that is given to us. So grab your favorite hot beverage, open your heart and mind, and let's begin. Today's topic is what I like to call the big goal fail cycle. Essentially, you set out to achieve some gigantic goal. You make some progress and you get a little close to achieving that goal. You give up at one point, you get back up, try again. But ultimately you fail to achieve that goal. It ends up collecting dust on the shelf and your confidence gets lowered. So the next time you try to achieve another goal, you remember that time you failed the goal before that. Again, this is what I call the big goal fail cycle. So how do we break it? Today I'm going to share five fail proof steps I have taken to achieve goals, including doing this podcast with you right here and right now. Thank you so much for being here today. I hope that you will subscribe if you find this information valuable and let's begin this process. So like I said before, you set out to achieve some big goal, and I will give a personal example. I have been working on a book proposal for, I would say probably five or six months, which is crazy because five or six months to do a book proposal, I could have already written an entire book, but this book proposal has been such a frustrating thing for me. First of all, it's the first time I've ever done it. I do have like the means and the information to know what I need to do with this book proposal. But every time I sit down to write, either I do nothing or I do a little progress and then take these really big breaks between.

Whitney Anne Ellis:
And it is so frustrating. And I think it's because I've been walking around just saying, okay, I had this gigantic goal to finish a big book proposal and it feels big and difficult. And this is actually step number one of this whole entire process. Let's say you want to lose £30. Och, that's great. But that is a big goal and it feels impossible, especially compared to where you are right now. And I think that's part of the problem is when you set out these big goals, like to lose £30 or finish a book proposal, sometimes we get way down by how big the goal feels and how far removed it feels from our current status. And I'm all for achieving big dreams and reaching for the stars. But this is step number one. This is the step that is so important. Start small. I mean, like crazy small, micro, small. Oftentimes we start out big. Like I said, lose their £30, finish the book proposal. We become so overwhelmed. But if you start small, you'll you'll slowly begin to gain momentum. Most of us, yes, we want to achieve these big dreams and reach for the stars. But we're stuck on the couch just thinking about the life that we want to live. So we've got to get off the couch. And the only way to get off the couch is to start small. And I will give you a really good example. So when I was around 27, I had just moved to New York. I had been there about a year and suddenly I hit a really big bout of depression. Really, really, really bad. And. I just became immobile. Essentially getting out of bed every day was a difficult task for me. I mean, I guess some day I will probably share my depression story, but this was the darkest bout of depression I've to this day still experienced. I call it my blue period. It was really bad. And at one point I was sick and tired of being depressed. And so I made a decision that I was going to do one small step. And that was to make my bed.

Whitney Anne Ellis:
So the next day I said, okay, I have one small step towards. Ultimately, I guess the big goal was to stop being depressed and feel a little happier about my day to day. So my one small step was to make my bed. And so that's what I did. I made my bed. Day one made my bed. Day two made my bed. I didn't think about any other goals. I just thought about, okay, just make your bed. Day three I made my bed and before I knew it, I was making my bed. Then I was making breakfast. A healthy breakfast. I was going to yoga class. And then step by step, tiny micro baby. Step by micro baby step. My life began to transform and I got out of that big dark bout of depression. Well, I didn't know this at the time, but I'm sure many of you have heard of Mel Robbins. She has a podcast, Mel Robbins podcast. It's great. I highly recommend listening to it. She wrote about this, it's called, and she also did this really famous TEDx talk called The Five Second Rule. Essentially, she had a very similar experience in what she did was she would lay in bed and she would go, five, four, three, two, one, and then she'd get up and get out of bed. And it what's so important about the five second rule is that your brain is going to do everything in its power to talk you out of achieving even the small step goal. So I love that it was five, four, three, two, one, get out of bed. And that's what she did. And I didn't know that was something that I was doing, but that's what I was doing. I was taking a small step and doing it immediately. You've got to not allow that voice to keep you from even achieving the small step. And I will say with the small step in your brain, you know, you can do this thing because it's so easy. Like I know I can get up and make my bed, but my brain, when I say, okay, finish a book proposal, my brain is like, Well, I've never done this before.

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Whitney Anne Ellis:
What are you talking about? You want to be able to finish a book proposal, an overview, A book? I mean, this thing is going to be 40 pages long and that voice just keeps chirping and churning. But if I set a small goal, the voice in my head knows that it is so small and so micro that I can actually achieve it. So I'm less likely to talk my way out of it. So like I said, step number one is small steps. Let go of the big goal. That is your end goal, but that is not your current goal. So break down your goal into small micro steps. I know you've heard this before. It will make a huge difference in your life. I mean, I want this to be like the tiniest step ever. I applied this to my book proposal. So what happened was I found out about this writing group that meets every morning at 8 a.m. on Zoom. All these writers gather, they turn their cameras on and they write from 8 to 9 a.m.. And I decided to join that. And instead of having this gigantic big goal of finishing my book proposal, I decided to make a small goal, which was to show up at this 8 a.m. writing group Monday through Friday. That was it. Just show up. Before I knew it, I was writing and one of the things the group does before you start your writing session is they set a specific intention and this is actually step number two, set a specific intention. In that writing group every day. I'm accountable for getting specific about my goals. So for example, I needed to proofread pages one through 18 that is specific, or I needed to write my overview for my book proposal from nine from 8 to 9:00 AM that morning. That is specific. I started realizing one of my biggest flaws in achieving goals was I was never, rarely ever specific enough. I always had these broad stroke goals like lose 20 pounds, read more books. It is all about getting specific, so set a small goal. Step number one. Step number two is set a specific intention related to that small goal.

Whitney Anne Ellis:
So with that book proposal, big goal, I chunked it down to show up at 8:00 am to this writing group every morning. And then I set a specific intention and I do it every day and oh my gosh, before I knew it, within five days. I had my book proposal done. This is amazing because after nearly five months of this lingering thing in my head, like, finish this book proposal. Finish the book proposal. Come on, Whitney. I actually achieved it in five days, and it was all because I set a small goal and I got really specific. And I did step number three, which is track your progress. This for me is such a vital component of it, because oftentimes when we set goals and we start making progress and then we get disheartened, we think, oh my gosh, like this isn't I am not making progress. None of this matters. Yikes. We just get really self-hating at some point in the process where we're like, Who cares that? I've been to the gym a couple of times a day? Like I am not seeing progress. That is the key to actually recording your progress. Find a way to track it, a way that works for you. Whether that is using an app like Strides or using a day planner. I have this amazing, beautiful day planner. I highly recommend. It's called Day Designer. I'll drop a link in the description. You can also find it on my website WhitneyAnneEllis.com Along with all the books I reference, including The Five Second Rule by Mel Robbins. Do check that out. That book is amazing and her TEDTalk is amazing. Anyways, back to what I was saying, which is tracking your progress is so important, is such an important element to actually see. Och, I've showed up five days. I showed up Monday through Friday. This feels good. And I started noticing when I was joining that writing group at 8:00 am and I was making progress on my proposal. I could literally hear this sound in my head and it was like the sound of a train about to leave the station and it was. Choo choo choo choo choo choo choo choo choo choo choo choo.

Whitney Anne Ellis:
And that is momentum. And I have to tell you, it feels like a runner's high when you begin to really get that momentum. I don't know if you want to call that a goal. Achieving high you. Oh, yes, this feels good. I'm making progress on a goal that you deeply want. Oh my gosh, it is such an incredible feeling. And when you finally click into that feeling, it's worth showing up. It's worth doing the small step every single day. So do track your progress. It will make you feel great. You'll hear that train, that momentum coach, and then you'll look back and be like, Oh my gosh, I never thought I could achieve this thing. So I want to talk about step number four. No, your why? I don't know about you, but sometimes, like, as I'm going along, I'll be like, Why am I doing this again? Like, what's the point? Oh, this. I'm just there's no point in this. And you start, like, getting to that process where that mind chatter gets in your head and really tries to talk you out of it, even though you're making progress. I don't know if this happens to you. It happens to me a little self-sabotage. And I notice that this voice really starts conjuring up the closer I get to actually finally completing the goal. It really wants you to be like, No, you can't do something totally different than your current life. And you know that one thing, that voice in your head, that mind chatter, I mean, that's worthy of a full podcast, multiple episodes. It will try to talk you out of things because it's trying to keep you safe. It's trying to keep you in the safe comfort zone. And when you're trying to achieve a big goal, you are determined to get out of your comfort zone. And that voice is doing everything in its power to keep you safe, to not step into change because it's like unknown territory. And that voice is intended to save you from like a lion chasing after you. But it should not be trying to save you from finishing a book proposal or getting healthy.

Whitney Anne Ellis:
So ignore it. I know. Ignore it and know your why. That's what will help you combat that mind chatter is to know your why. What's the point? For me, I've been wanting to tell a story about my financial challenges and what it means to be bougie broke and how to get past that and to achieve financial confidence. This story has been growing in me for like the last two years. I know my why I need to get it out not only for my own self-healing, but to help other people. And when you know that alarm clock says 755 and I'm still in bed and I really don't want to get up, I go, you know what? When you want this goal, so get up. And I do and I show up at 8 a.m. at this writing group and I make progress and I hear the train going. Cha cha cha. Each and with each small intentional step, I get closer and closer to actually achieving and completing that big goal, and it feels great. And to see the progress feels amazing and to check those things off. And there's one thing I learned from doing a whole 30. I don't know if you know what that is. It's a food program where you eat essentially paleo for 30 days, and if you give up, if you eat like gluten or something like on day seven, you have to start over again at baseline zero and then progress and make progress again. And I would say after doing a whole 30, I actually failed once and then did it a second time and finally achieved the whole 30. One thing I learned from that program is I don't really want to lose my momentum. So keeping at a pace where I can check. Yes, I did it today. Yes, I did it. You know, the next day. It feels good. You don't really want those gaps in between. But if it does happen, it's okay. Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself if one day you don't show up, if one day you don't do the small step, it's okay. Forgive yourself and just start again. That's all you have to do.

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Whitney Anne Ellis:
It's that simple. It's truly that simple. And I want to give you another example of how I've applied this to my life. So there's one goal I've had, which is maybe considered silly, but it was my goal was to floss every day. Silly, I know. But also I kept going to the dentist and being embarrassed that my gums were bleeding when I was in the dentist chair. And then they would be like, Yeah, you have some cavities. I'm like, Oh really? And they would always do that thing where they're like, You need to start flossing every day and this is how you do it. And I was so sick of hearing that. Also. I was like hearing stories about people getting their teeth pulled. And I mean, my grandmother had dentures. I did not want to be that person. So I knew my why. I knew that I wanted to have healthy teeth. And ultimately my big goal was to go to the dentist and they'd be like, Wow, you've done a good job flossing and to floss every single day. So I set the goal. I would say flossing every day is a pretty small goal and I got specific. I would do it every night right after I brush my teeth and I tracked it. I did step number three, I tracked it. So I wrote a little Post-it note, stuck it on my mirror, and I was like, I'm going to record every night that I've lost my teeth and I can stop recording this, how many days I'm doing and making that progress. Once this habit becomes so innate that I'm like not thinking about it anymore, I'm just doing it so every night I would brush my teeth and then I would floss and then I would check. And this is a part of step number five, leverage a keystone habit. So if you haven't read it, I think it's the power of habit along with atomic habits. Two excellent books on habits. I will add those in my description in the bio along with on my resource page. Great, great great books to read. Anyways, they talk in the power of habit.

Whitney Anne Ellis:
He talks about keystone habits, essentially a habit. You're already doing well. You're already doing a good habit that you can build upon. So for me, I'm already brushing my teeth every night. So when I brush my teeth at night, the cue is I brush my teeth. Next step is to floss. So leverage any keystone habit you have going for you. Maybe you take vitamins in the morning and then you want to start eating healthier breakfast. So your keystone habit is I'm taking my vitamins in the morning and the next habit you want to achieve is adding spinach to your breakfast every morning. So you take the vitamins, leverage that as a trigger that says, okay, next step in my morning routine is to add spinach to my breakfast. And then before you know it, you're adding spinach to your breakfast. You are no longer eating doughnuts. You've reduced how much coffee you're drinking. You're eating a salad at lunch. And then that big goal of losing £20 actually becomes achievable as you do those small steps. So back to the flossing story. Essentially, I would. Brush my teeth. Keystone habit trigger flossed checkmark on my notepad and I would see the progress and it took me 71 days to get flossing to be a part of my nightly ritual. And now I'm officially a flosser proud to say. And I actually was at the dentist two months ago and they were like, Wow, your gums are so healthy. I can tell that you've been taking care of them. And I was really, really proud. I did still have cavities, but it's because I have deep roots. But anyways, that's a totally different story. But I felt good. I felt like, Oh my gosh, I did make progress and I achieved this goal that I've been like for years trying to achieve, to be one of those people who floss our teeth every single night. And now I rarely go without flossing my teeth. And when I do, I do regret it. And I like floss my teeth the next day and be like, Man. I skipped one day. Yikes. Anyways, it makes you feel good though, and you build self confidence.

Whitney Anne Ellis:
I hope you will use these five steps to help start building your self confidence and achieving goals. These five steps have literally been how I paid off debt. It's if you don't know who Dave Ramsey is, you can check him out again. His links are in my bio and website. He has this whole theory about what he calls the snowball effect. To paying off debt, you start small, you start with your smallest debt, you pay that off. Then you start with your next smallest debt and you pay that off. Before you know it, you're tackling those big, big debts. And that's all about that momentum. And that's literally how I paid off debt, which again, I will possibly do a podcast about that because it's a really good story to share with you. So I hope these five steps I will repeat them so you remember them. Set small goals, have a specific intention with that goal. Track your progress, remember your why, What's the point? Why are you doing this? And lastly, leverage those key stone habits, those good habits that you've already got going to add on to more new habits. And before you know it, those big goals that you have been trying to achieve will be achieved. And I wish you the very best and I hope this inspired you and motivated you and have the best day ever. Bye. This program was brought to you by Dream Machine Productions LLC and Whitney and Ellis dot com To find out more about the resources mentioned in the series, you can click on the links in the description or visit w w w dot Whitney and Ellis dot com. We look forward to connecting with you again soon.

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Writer Whitney Ellis

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