I have always been a goal setter.  I love “to do” lists and I have annual, monthly, weekly and daily lists!  There is such satisfaction when I can check off an item on my list---no matter how minuscule the task.  Setting quantifiable goals, analyzing what works and what doesn’t are typical (and smart) operating procedures in any business endeavor or in attaining life goals.  These practices will always be in my life.  But I’m experimenting with a different approach to accomplishing my goals.  The following quote by Gabby Bernstein inspired me to consider a shift: “When you remove the expectation and just do what you enjoy, you cannot fail.”

I’m practicing letting go of the expectations during the process of completing the goal.  First of all, this shift in perspective simply makes the process more fun.  I realized that I tended to feel anxiety when I was working on certain projects because I was so concerned about making it perfect.  But once I let go of the pressure I was putting on myself and just had fun with it, I was creating much more beautiful results.  When you push through the self-imposed limitations of your idea of what is perfect, it gives you the opportunity to create something really special, because you are expressing yourself more fully.  By letting go of the expected results---which really are a narrow set of parameters you force on yourself---you may be surprised with the ultimate outcome.

Here’s one example I will share with you.  The 8 Limbs of Yoga Practice Cards I recently created started out as a marketing promotion.  I originally developed 8 cards, one representing each of the 8 Limbs, to include along with a purchase of yoga apparel to help educate my clients on this 8-limbed path.  Because I created these cards with the mindset that they were a gift, not an actual product that I needed to sell, I was less stressed about the outcome.  I didn’t care if it would be a successful product, I was just excited to share the 8 Limbs practice with people---which is one of the primary reasons I started OM Matters. 

I received a lot of positive feedback on the cards and people were asking me if they could buy sets.  So I decided to create a 30-card deck to give more examples of how to practice the 8 Limbs of Yoga each day.

How do you let go of expectations?

First of all, this mindset doesn’t have to be just for big projects.  I practice this mindset in daily situations as well, such as when I’m planning a dinner party, redecorating a room in my house or even just futzing in the garden.  When I started this new way of accomplishing goals, I intuitively knew that I first needed to set the stage:  I needed to clear space for the creative process, clear a block of time and clear my mind. 

1. Clear Space – According to Feng Shui principles, clearing clutter and cleansing your space are essential to creating great energy. Starting with a clear space will allow your dreams and goals to manifest more easily.  So wherever you are planning to tackle your goal or task, remove all the clutter.  Clutter creates stagnant energy and for this process you need energy to flow!  Organize the area as well so that you have easy access to the items you need and won’t get distracted by trying to find a pen, scissors, or other tools needed.  Finally, simply clean the area.  This process of letting go of clutter and cleansing your space creates an environment for new things to enter into your life.

2. Clear Time – Block out a set amount of time on your calendar for this process to allow yourself to be free of distractions.  Give yourself as much time as you think you will need and then add an extra 30 minutes to give yourself breaks.  Turn off your phone and computer (unless you need it for the process).  This alone will free your mind knowing you have an allotted amount of time without any interruptions. 

3. Clear Mind – Once you have completed steps one and two, you’ve set the stage to clear your mind.  To do this I recommend you meditate for 15 to 30 minutes.  Or, if your time is limited, even a 5 to 10 minute meditation will be helpful.  If you have a daily meditation practice, do the meditation technique that you are most comfortable with.  If you don’t have a favorite or would like to try something new, try the following technique that is designed to “de-clutter” the mind:
  • Take a comfortable seat that allows your spine to be tall.
  • Set your timer for the amount of time you have allotted for your meditation. 
  • Close your eyes and begin to focus on your breath, breathing in and out of your nose. 
  • As thoughts arise (as they will), place them into one of two categories, thoughts of planning or thoughts of remembering. That is generally what our thoughts are doing. Once you have labeled each thought, let it go and return your focus to your breath. Keep repeating this throughout your meditation.

Once you’ve cleared your space, time and mind begin by setting an intention for your time, such as:  “I give myself the freedom to express myself fully” or “I am creative.”  During this time delete the word “should” from your vocabulary.  In addition, remove any judgement from the process---there is no right or wrong way, just express yourself fully and HAVE FUN!  Finally, if you aren’t having fun, then give yourself permission to stop.  It’s okay!  Trust your feelings.  It just means the timing isn’t right.  Start back up again another day.  Namaste.

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