Anna Maria Locke

Are you addicted to achieving? How to create a healthy and positive relationship with your goals

2017Anna Locke
building confidence and creating a healthy and positive relationship with goals

This time of year I always get caught between the hustle and busy of the holidays (Parties! Presents! Family time! Travel! Visioning my new business dreams!) and the urge to carve out as much quiet downtime as possible to get cozy and reflect on the year behind us.

Tis the season to reflect on the year, do one last final push to finish 2018 projects and goals, and think about New Year Resolutions, right?

Still not sure how I feel about annual resolutions but I’m definitely a fan of the fresh start. I’ll be sharing my top 2017 takeaways, lessons, and favorite memories soon, but for now I want to talk about goals.

More specifically, about my relationship with goal setting, self worth, and creating a positive relationship with the hustle.

Over the past couple of years as I've been learning how to slow down and heal my perfectionism/workaholism/anxiousness I've found myself drifting away from goals, telling myself stories like "I'm just going to go with the flow" or "I need to embrace my feminine energy and focus on alignment" or "my business and life is in such a state of evolution, I don't want to tie myself down."

But I'm starting to realize that I NEED goals, discipline, and structure to feel my best. For me, there's definitely a thing as too much flow, and it makes me feel ungrounded, overwhelmed, caught in my head, and blerg.

The REAL reason I didn't commit to any specific or tangible business goals this year is that I was afraid.

Afraid I wouldn't have what it takes to follow through.

Afraid I'd fail.

Afraid of the hard work necessary to grow into my goals.

I wanted to be able to give myself the safety net to be able to say at the end of the year "Oh well, I didn't reach that goal again...but it's ok because I didn't really go for it. It wasn't my priority."

Ya feel me??

And I'm calling bullshit because I'm tired of playing small.

I'm learning how to create a healthy relationship with goals, work, and ambition -- a relationship that stems from knowing that I'm inherently worthy of happiness and success and am able to work from a place of passion and purpose, instead of trying to prove myself from a place of desperation so I can hang my self worth on my achievements.

0107.jpg

I’ve been a high achiever and perfectionist my entire life.

In second grade I had to make up a standardized test that I missed while on a family vacation, and I remember the teacher’s aid telling my mom that “Anna is a trooper!” because I buckled down and crushed it. 99th percentile, baby! I never studied for tests, always waited until the last minute to write papers, earned more money in scholarships than I’ve ever earned in all my jobs combined.

I grew up living with not just the belief but the unshakable assumption that I would excel at everything I tried.

This mindset served me really well while I was in school, when there were clearly defined benchmarks and a sense of momentum from semester to semester. Do the work, get good grades, pass the class, repeat.

Once I graduated into the “real world” however, I started to realize how emotionally and mentally destructive this self imposed pressure and perfectionism could be.

I kept on achieving and striving, without ever feeling like I was good enough. There was always more to do, more goals to reach, like I was sprinting through a marathon but the finish line kept moving farther and farther away, and it only got worse once I quit my job to be a full time entrepreneur and coach.

About 2 years ago I finally woke up and realized that this wasn’t how I had to live, and that I could CHOOSE how to define success for myself. I could learn how to define my sense of worth outside of my work and achievements.

It takes a lot of time and patience to unlearn patterns, belief systems, and habits that have lodged in our subconscious.

Whenever you want to make a positive change or shift in your life, especially one that involves boosting your sense of self worth or self love, I’ve found that awareness is the first step!

In my own journey and in working with other ambitious, high achieving recovering perfectionists I’ve discovered that we feel most stressed, small, desperate, and overall YUCK when we’re overly attached to our achievements and goals.

You can love what you want with all your heart but don’t be attached to getting it
— Melissa Ambrosini

Over the past couple of years I’ve been getting curious about my own sense of self worth and how I can show up from a place of wholeness -- knowing that I'm already good enough and have nothing to prove.


What it feels like to be addicted to goals:

You’re driven by a sense of desperation and fear, constantly second guessing yourself and your brain won’t shut off. You keep feeling like you’re not doing enough and need to work harder. You fall into people pleasing patterns if you depend on other people (clients, team members, etc) to reach your goal, so you give them power over your sense of success, identity, and worth. The thought of failing gives you a visceral reaction of deep shame, you can’t even contemplate it so you keep numbing out on busy work. You fixate on the numbers and freak out if they’re not constantly going up...you attach your sense of self worth and identity to your own success and external achievements.

You're subconsciously driven by fear:

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of judgement
  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of letting others down
  • Fear of letting yourself down
  • Fear of being stuck
  • Fear of being mediocre
  • Fear of being not good enough

Your sense of identity revolves around what you do, and you may find yourself getting trapped in comparisonitis, feeling jealous and bitter of other people or women who seem to have what you want.

You think, "if I relax and slow down, I will lose my edge and be unproductive," or "my drive and ego is a good thing b/c it motivates me to get shit done." 

THESE THOUGHTS ARE MYTHS.

It is possible to be motivated from a place of rest, passion, purpose, and love.

To work not because you have to prove yourself, but because you can’t NOT do the work you love.

How to detach your self worth from outcomes and achievements

  1. Get curious about how you want to FEEL: How do you want to feel when you're engaging in your work? When you're reviewing your progress? When you realize you might be off target and need to pivot?
  2. Add in mega doses of self compassion and empathy. How can you be kinder to yourself?
  3. Make sure you're setting goals from a place of passion and purpose, not ego or what you "should" do. What would you do if success/failure/money wasn't an object? What is your heart calling you to do? What would you do if you weren't afraid?
  4. Give yourself permission to do the inner work. Feel the ugly feels. Process your insecurities, fears, doubts. Entrepreneurism and growth is a rollercoaster and a spiritual journey.
  5. Get support!! Whether that's  your partner, friend, or a coach ;) this inner work is hard but having trusted people in your corner makes it a whole lot easier and faster.

HOW I WANT TO FEEL: light, powerful, excited, empowered, confident, free, grateful, connected

I'm dreaming big for 2018 again.

Giving myself permission to go for it, but permission to be ok if you I make my goals in the end.

Because it's not about the achieving in the first place. It's about the process, learning and growing along the way.

xo Anna

 

If you want some guidance around setting soul-aligned goals for 2018, download my new free guide: Create an Inspired Year!

 

photo by Artistrie Co

Let it be easy and fun

2017Anna Locke
IMG_0832.jpg

WHAT’S UP MY FRIENNNNNDS!

Happy freaking December! Winter has officially arrived here in Chiberia, our little Christmas tree is twinkling (even if we haven't put the ornaments up yet), and I'm trying to be present and enjoy every last bit of 2017 and the holiday season.

It's been a while since I wrote a blog post. Where have I been?

Leveling UP.

This is going to be more of a "personal update" post as I catch you up to speed on the top life lessons I learned in November. It was a crazy expansive month, and I've never felt this connected to myself, empowered, and confident.

As soon as November arrived, it's like I saw the end of the year coming and all of a sudden a fire lit and I woke up from my cozy comfy 10 months of 2017 "flow" and realized there were still a lot of projects and things I wanted to accomplish and finish before the calendar flips to a fresh year, and I couldn't keep holding myself back for one more second!

So I burned the boats, joined a group mastermind, invested in a high end business/life coach, raised my rates to be in alignment with the value and transformation I facilitate for my coaching clients, decided to stop playing small and over-thinking my life, created and shared my new powerful vision for my health coaching team, did a mini cleanse to kick my sugar addiction and re-calibrate my energy, started waking up at 5:30 to prioritize my self care, and had about a bajillion breakthroughs and mindset shifts.

Oh, and I chopped my work hours (bye bye "busy work") and still ended up making more money in November than I've ever made in a single month in my entire life.

WAAAA told you it was a big month.

I've been learning that our external "success" is proportional to our level of inner growth and personal development, which is why it’s so important as creative entrepreneurs to prioritize the deeper inner work it takes to get clear on our mission, vision, WHY, and work through all the fears and limiting beliefs that hold us back from taking action and growing into our goals and dreams.

I feel like God/the Universe is always sending us messages and signs through the universe that point us back to where we need to be and what we need to remember.

One of my favorite parts of life coaching is when my clients unconsciously mirror back a message or insight that's deep inside myself too. In the process of holding a safe and sacred space for them to meet themselves where they're at, figure out how they want to feel inside their vision, unravel what's blocking them from moving forward,  sometimes it feels like I'm actually coaching myself too and guiding us both into action.

And pretty much all my coaching calls and conversations this week have been pointing me back towards two main messages:

  1. Let it be easy

  2. Trust yourself

LET IT BE EASY. Because I’m done with making life and business hard and complicated. 

I’m releasing the belief that money and success are a product of sacrifice and hard work.

I’m not afraid of deep, soul work. Easy doesn't mean effortless. But it CAN feel aligned.

Easy doesn't always mean comfortable. But like a hard workout, it's exhilarating.

And TRUST. Ohhhhh trust.

At the beginning of 2017 I chose “open hearted” to be my word of the year and it was a great guide for several months but TRUST is what I keep coming back to again and again in my journal and conversations.

The biggest lesson I’m working on right now is to trust that everything I desire is coming my way. To trust that I’m enough right here, right now. To trust that I’ll grow into my goals and vision as I go...but I’m safe to take action from where I’m at right now.

I can be a control freak and perfectionist, which combined with my background in science and tangible results makes it really hard for me to feel happy and successful if I can't SEE things happening.

That's why trust is so important. Even though I can’t see all the tangible results I desire yet, I can trust the inner change, trust in a higher power, and trust the transformation that’s already happening inside of my mind and heart and energy.


So I'll leave you with a couple questions to reflect on:

Where can you let it be easy?

Where can you release your tight grip on control and surrender to trust?

xo Anna

p.s. I have two spaces open for life coaching in December! If you're a visionary, ambitious, high performing, multi-passionate creative entrepreneur or simply someone who feels called to forge your own path and you'd like some support in taking your happiness and biz to the next level, click here to book a complimentary 30 minute call!

3 ways to manage stress without eating your feelings

2017Anna Locke

Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. This post constitutes my personal experience and opinions and is geared towards women who have an otherwise healthy relationship with food and their bodies. If you experience binging or suspect you have an eating disorder, please reach out for help!

If you’ve ever found yourself elbow deep in a box of cereal, popcorn bag, running through the drive thru for fries, or polishing off a sleeve of Oreo’s before you even notice what you’re doing...

First of all, there's no reason to feel guilty or ashamed. You are hardly alone! Most women deal with stress eating (or emotional eating) from time to time.

Stress eating is a habit if you can’t NOT imagine yourself heading to the drive thru for fries or ice cream if you are feeling down. When you’re triggered, it’s your immediate and first reaction.

Feeling overwhelmed. Stuff snacks in face.

It's hard to stop eating your emotions because you can’t just break the habit cold turkey. First of all, it’s a completely automatic behavior ingrained in your subconscious, and if you DIDN’T soothe yourself with food you’d feel like a completely deprived emotional wreck, which would only make your stress worse.

When we emotionally eat or binge, we're actually using this behavior as self care to protect ourselves from negative or uncomfortable emotions we'd rather not face.

YES! Emotional eating is self care! It's just probably not the best way to take care of yourself. 

So how do we start to overcome our emotional or stress eating habits?

First of all, you have to give yourself permission to actually feel your feelings.

You can't eat or drink them away. Just because you're numbing with food doesn't mean the stress is disappearing, but by allowing ourselves space to physically and mentally process our emotions or get to the bottom of where our stress is coming from in the first place, it WILL pass! It's like the opposite of that Gandalf scene.

Once you start to feel your feels, there are so many positive ways to deal with stress or negative feelings in order to flip them into higher vibes.

Another disclaimer: if your feelings are too overwhelming for you to handle alone or stem from a traumatic experience, pleeeeease see a counselor or therapist! You deserve to heal and feel your best, and you deserve the help you need.

When it comes to replacing emotional eating with a more positive behavior, we need to first RECOGNIZE when it happens and then REPLACE the habit with one that's more nurturing so you can keep food in its rightful place in your life.

Food is delicious. Food is fuel. Food is energy. Food is celebration of life!! 

Here are a few non-food ways to manage stress if you want to stop eating your feels!

overcome emotional eating.png

3 NON FOOD ways to manage stress

1. Get outside for a walk.

Even if it’s just 5 minutes around your house or office!

This is the best way to chillax because usually when we’re feeling stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed, it’s because we’re overstimulating ourselves with too many tasks, responsibilities, browser windows, notifications, to-do’s, etc all at once.

Getting out into nature immediately calms your nervous system, removes you from a stressful situation, and helps you gain clarity and perspective on your priorities for the day.

Getting your body into MOVEMENT (a brisk walk) will channel and release any negative energy.

Remember that anxiety = energy. We have to give it a place to go!

If you can get sweaty and workout, even better.

Visualize what that would feel and look like >> Feelings of stress triggered. Instantly lace up shoes and hit the sidewalk.

2. Do a pen to paper braindump.

Again...most overwhelm comes from holding EVERYTHINGGGG we need to do over the next week/month/year plus potential ideas plus conversations plus fears like “am I good enough?” plus re-hashing past events in our brain all at once.

Putting pen to paper and literally dumping everything in your brain is so cathartic.

Don’t censor or judge yourself, don’t try to organize a to-do list, just LET IT OUT. Take as long as you need.

If you start writing tasks, break them down into every step involved in that task.

Once your brain is dumped, you should already feel better, but to take this to the next level of calm, now you can organize your braindump!

1. Categorize things, e.g. To-Do’s, Fears, Random thoughts/ideas, Negative inner critic chatter

2. Look at your lists and ask yourself “Is this something I need to release (e.g. fear) or something I need to take action on? What is a ‘should do’ vs. a ‘must do?’ What can I delegate? What ‘should’s’ can I let go of?”

3. For all the ‘must do’ or ‘want to do’ action items, schedule them on your calendar! Now you don’t just have an overwhelming guilt inducing to-do list. You have a PLAN.

Visualize what that would feel and look like >> Feelings of stress triggered. Instantly grab a pen and paper and let it out!

3. Use music to flip your mood.

It’s so easy to forget how powerful music can be! Make a playlist on iTunes or Spotify of all your favorite happy songs. I have an ongoing playlist and whenever I hear a song that makes me happy, I add it!

Bonus: have a solo dance party to your music. Because stress = energy and we need to give it a place to go to release it! Yes you might look crazy or stupid. Laugh at yourself!

Visualize what that would feel and look like >> Feelings of stress triggered. Instantly press play on your “happy mix” and dance it out.

Empower yourself to process your feelings, then move forward and upward instead of dwelling in a rut.

Remember that making deep changes in our mindset and behaviors can't happen overnight, so practice practice practice and have tons of self compassion and patience with yourself through the process of change. You will have setbacks, that’s not a sign that you failed, it’s a sign that you are leveling up!

xo Anna

Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. This post constitutes my personal experience and opinions and is geared towards women who have an otherwise healthy relationship with food and their bodies. If you suspect you have an eating disorder, please reach out for help!