Do you secretly get super stressed out by the new year, like you have to start the year perfectly to ENSURE the rest of the year follows suit?
Is it possible that it’s not serving you very well?
If you’re a huge believer in dreams, it’s possible to shift the New Year into one of your very favorite times of the year.
In this episode, Nicole unpacks how to fuel your biggest dreams. She shares personal stories of her journey to detach from her goals and instead leverage goals to stretch herself and grow.
“You need to know where you’re going. And just as important, you have to have it be really clear and connected. So sometimes I hear from people that they say, okay, I want a new job. But then they’re not really clear on what that new job would be about, what the purpose it is that serves for them. Why do they care about it? Because they secretly still are just trying to get away from the previous job. So getting clear on what you want on a really deep level is so valuable.”
“When I put my first books out, I was kind of like, “Oh, am I supposed to feel different? Am I supposed to feel worthy now?” And then I realized it wasn’t really about the books… it was about the process of putting the books out there.”
Writing books “stretched me into the human I wanted to be, not the actual experience of selling the books to people and having them read it.”
“Goals are actually about the growth you’re experiencing. They’re not about the outcome”
“ I’m talking about you being aligned. I’m talking about you having that zing and that feeling of like, yes, this is what I’m here to do. And when we’ve got that kind of clarity, that’s when the car starts to roll and new possibilities really start to open up.”
“Drivenness is a form of hyperactivity. That’s when I realized, he (my son) got his ADHD from me.”
Hello, friends. Welcome back to the School of Self-Worth. I’m your host, Nicole Tsong. So there’s something that you should know about me. I am a former new year hater. First off, I’m an introvert, so I would rather curl up at home and snuggle with my dog and go to bed early than celebrate the new year. And really, from high school on, hated the pressure to get dressed up, to find the perfect party, to have the right person to kiss at midnight and to celebrate all of those things. But I also disliked the new year as an adult, because I felt so much pressure to do it exactly right.
I had to enter the new year the precise, perfect way, or else the whole year would be ruined, or at least that’s the way I used to think about it. Then most of the time, even if I did do resolutions in January, they generally died by February. Does this sound familiar? I’ve spent a lot of time unpacking what it was that caused my resistance and also my inability to go the distance with my goals, and I’m about to share all of that with you today. So stay tuned, and if you are a high-achieving career woman who wants to master intuitive communication patterns so you can make fast, intuitive decisions, I have a new private podcast that has the exact step-by-step to do just that. If you want the info, just dm me secret at Nicole Tsong on Instagram and I will send you all of the details.
Okay, let’s dig in into today’s conversation.
Welcome to the School of Self-Worth, a podcast for ambitious women who know they are worthy of an astoundingly great life. Join us weekly as we get on the right side of your intuition, redefine success, and reclaim your self-worth. I’m your host, Nicole Tsong, an award-winning journalist who left it all behind to become a best-selling author of three books and work/life balance expert, helping ambitious women unlock their intuition and step into a life of fulfilment and radical joy. Every single week, I will bring you diverse and meaningful conversations with successful women from all walks of life who share insight about what it takes to be brave, joyful, and authentic every day. Every episode is thoughtfully designed to leave you feeling empowered with tangible tips and advice that will lead you to your next breakthrough.
Hello friends. So I’m going to kick today off with a simple question. Do you secretly get super stressed out by the new year, like you’re trying to set the most scrumptious, perfect resolutions? And the truth is, in all of the previous years, you’ve never managed to actually follow through with them, even though you’re also secretly a ‘never give up’ optimist who really thinks that this year is going to be the year that you totally get it right? If that’s possibly you, you are in the perfect space. So first off, I don’t really believe in resolutions. I gave them up years ago because I feel like resolutions are not the pathway to actually sticking with things that you want to accomplish, but I am a totally huge believer in dreams, and despite my previous history of hating the new year, I actually really love it now and I really love what it represents, and I’m going to get more into that today. But first, let’s talk about how I used to try to set resolutions or goals in the new year.
I’d say I’ve never really been a big fan of resolutions, but there were times where I would set goals and I would say that they almost never really stuck, so I actually would commit to something like a cleanse, which was like a diet in disguise. Or I would practice yoga six days a week, or I would pledge to meditate every day. And I used to do all of these things in a program, typically because I knew myself well enough to know I wouldn’t probably stick with it unless I had some accountability.
when I sign up for something. So I would sign up for these programs, and they usually would last like 30 to 40 days, or six weeks or so, and I would always do it for the time those programs were going on.
But once those programs ended, so did the goal, and I would beat myself up then because I’d think of myself as such a failure. I did it for that amount of time, but couldn’t do it on my own, and I would often feel guilty, too, because I couldn’t trust myself to do things. These things were always things I chose because they made me feel good. They were something like a lot of yoga or a daily meditation practice or eating foods that felt good. So if this cycle resonates for you on some level, or it feels familiar, like you’ve done that before, then we have a really great conversation for you today.
Here’s the thing I’ve learned over time about dreams. First off, dreams can be set at any time of the year. I do love a new calendar year. I love the experience of that. I love the fresh energy that comes in January, but I also know that dreams can be set at any time, so we can do this practice. I am sharing this with you at the beginning of the new year, but I want you to know that this is possible at any time of the year, but we just tend to be a little bit more motivated in January. The other thing to know about this, if you really want your dreams to stick, if this is the year you really want this all to come true, you have to be fueling it the correct way. If you are fueling your dreams the incorrect way, you’re actually never going to reach them.
So this is our conversation today, and I’m going to talk today about the types of fuel that you need to actually have your dreams come true at any time of the year. I’m going to start first, though, with the incorrect types of fuel because this kind of fuel is what I see most people doing. Like putting diesel in your car, when you have a car that requires unleaded, like, your car is not going to work properly, it’s not going to run. It’s going to have all kinds of problems, it probably will break down on the side of the road. I’ve never tried putting diesel in my car, but I can imagine that is not a very optimal situation.
There are two main types of incorrect fuel that you don’t want for your dreams, and we’re going to talk about those first. The first one is not knowing what you want. I see this so often for people. They come to me, and they don’t know what they want. They’re just confused. Things aren’t working for them, they don’t really like their life, but they’re not really clear on the direction they do want to go, and when you’re not clear on the direction you want to go, it’s impossible to actually start to make any progress on this. It’s just like if you get into your car to go somewhere and you don’t have a direction. Say you’re opening up your maps app and you don’t have anything to put in there, or you would just actually wander around aimlessly versus when you know where you’re going, or especially if you’re going somewhere you’re excited about. For me, if I get to go to one of my favorite restaurants and I get to map that, I am on it! I am so ready, so excited and going into that direction, but I find so often for many people, the only thing that they know is that they don’t want their current circumstances. They don’t like their job, they don’t like their boss, they don’t like how things are going right now, but they have no clue how to make it be different.
If you’re putting in what I call the fuel of ‘I don’t know’, it’s not going to get you anywhere. You might think, well, what do I do about that? And we’re going to talk a little bit more about the correct fuels a little bit later. But first you have to really be clear on, am I putting in this type of fuel? If you tell yourself, I don’t know what’s next for me, I don’t know what I want, I don’t know where I’m going. You’re going to get stuck there for a very long time, and you’re going to have a lot of trouble making any progress towards the bigger dreams that you have in your mind, that could exist, but you don’t even know what those are yet. So I’m going to really share with you how you start to get clear. What are those steps? What’s the point of this? And the correct fuel? But first you got to check on yourself, are you putting ‘I don’t know’, into your tank?
Okay, so the second incorrect fuel is attachment. Attachment happens all the time for people where we get really attached to something. Maybe you have done a little bit of work to figure out what your dreams are, and why wouldn’t you want to be attached to it? I have a dream to run my own business, for example. Well, what’s the point of not being attached to it? Isn’t that how it’s going to come true? But here’s what’s really happening when you get attached to an outcome. You are now attaching your self-worth to the outcome of your goal. You’ve decided that your worth and your value on this planet are somehow tied to whether this outcome comes true. When your identity and your self-worth starts to be based on anything external, and you might be doing this even right now, maybe you have a goal at work to get promoted and you’re very attached to it, and all of a sudden, your worth, your value at work, are completely tied to that, and you’re evaluating what everyone says to you based on this desire, you have to get promoted.
Now when these things don’t start to happen, let’s just go with the promotion version. When you want to get promoted and you get really attached to this idea, all of a sudden everything is framed from that perspective of whether you get the promotion or whether things are going to go your way. Now you start to feel guilty or bad if it doesn’t actually start to occur. You might start to make some assumptions about yourself, like that you’re not really good at your job, you start to really diminish who you are, and you can get really negative about yourself in this situation, and when you do get really negative, how do you think that any of your goals could even come to pass? That is one of the key things to understand.
The second piece to remember about attachment is, it causes us to grip. We start to really get dependent on this idea of hitting it. We start to hold it, we start to try to control outcomes, and this can start up other programs, like fear of failure and impostor syndrome, where you worry you won’t know yourself without actually reaching this particular goal, and being in this contracted state will really stall you out and keep your dreams from happening. On top of this, what happens when you get so dead set on it, is you start to block out the potential for any other pathways to open up. What if it wasn’t that you were supposed to get promoted at your current job? You were actually supposed to be open to another job that would give you a bigger pay raise and more satisfaction and fulfilment. When we get really attached to the one thing, we get myopic, only looking at one particular thing, so you get stuck in this one way, instead of being able to see that there is so much more possibility and openness in your life than you ever see.
I see this all the time for my own clients, where I can see them getting stuck on things, sometimes they get very attached. I’m like, can we really release how this is supposed to go? Can we really release the idea that we know the direction of this, and we can just set ourselves in a direction and then release the attachment? And you’re like, “Ok, Nicole, easier said than done.” This is true, which is why I want to talk now about the correct fuel. This is the fuel that you want to put in your tank, and these are the things that are going to make a difference for you and be the most effective way for you to actually start to set some dreams and have them begin to come true, and this is going to be easy, because after seeing the incorrect fuels, you’ll be like, “Okay, I got it. I’m going to get this correct fuel. This is going to be easy.”
The first correct fuel is to know what you want. You need to know where you’re going, and just as important, you have to have it be really clear and connected. Sometimes I hear from people that say they want a new job, but then they’re not really clear on what that new job would be about, the purpose it serves for them. Why do they care about it? Because they secretly still are just trying to get away from the previous job. So getting clear on what you want on a really deep level is so valuable and the most important fuel that you really want to start to put in this vehicle that’s taking you to the next stage of your life.
For me, if I want to go right, and I was giving you that example of getting in the car to go to the restaurant. If we are going to eat something that’s just sort of whatever, that’s a fine restaurant, I don’t care that much. But if we’re going to my favorite restaurant, with the best dishes, the one’s that I love the most, I am hopping in that car and getting us out the door to go eat there. I’m so clear and so excited about the steps that it will take to get there. So knowing what you want, it has to be specific, and it has to be something that feels really aligned to your heart and to who you are, and it’s not something that you’re doing because you think that you’re supposed to, it’s not something you’re doing because other people have suggested it to you as a good idea.
I’m not talking about if other people are constantly giving you ideas for jobs that you can take, or different career paths that you can take, and none of them are ones that you have really considered and checked in on yourself and said that’s what you really want. I’m talking about you being aligned. I’m talking about you having that zing and that feeling of, “Yes, this is what I’m here to do.” And when we’ve got that kind of clarity, that’s when the car starts to roll, and new possibilities really start to open up.
So now that we are here, and you’ve got this really zingy excited thing that you want, our second correct fuel is detachment. I know it’s not a surprise. You probably saw this coming. Detachment. This is like the pinnacle place to hang out. Detachment, I will say, is not something that is simple and easy for us to do. It does require a lot of practice and a bigger amount of work for us. This is something I go way deeper in, in my course, Your Clear Calling, because it is something that’s important for us to master into practice. But I’m going to get into the basics of why detachment is important here, because I’ve got a little secret for you about goals in general. It’s not actually about reaching your goal.
You’re thinking, “What are you talking about, Nicole?” But it’s really true, and while I love, love, love when my clients reach goals, because they do all the time, they get new jobs, they have huge amounts of financial abundance, they meet their life partners, they have so many incredible breakthroughs, but goals are actually about the growth you’re experiencing. They’re not about the outcome. Why is that? This goes back to self-worth, because it’s about how you expand in the pursuit of the goal. Think about the last job you had, or maybe it’s your current job and how it feels when you’re stalled out, when you’re not being challenged, when it’s the same old, and you just keep doing the same thing every single day. That’s usually when you start to itch for change. You feel like there must be something else that you are here to do, there must be a different career for you. There’s something outside of the current job. This is because humans are designed to grow and to stretch, and goals are one of the most effective and most foundational ways that people actually grow. Because again, it’s not about getting to the outcome and getting to the other side of the goal. It’s about who you are while you’re pursuing it. It’s about the expansion of yourself in the process.
What I’m talking about now is having the self-worth to stay detached from your goal, and this is an essential part of fueling the dreams that you have out there, when you say, “I am worthy, valuable. No matter what the outcome of this goal, I’m just in it to stretch and to expand and to understand myself.” That is when our goals become powerful, and that is actually when the goals start to come true. So when you do finally reach a goal, I promise the reason it is so sweet is because of the expansion you experienced along the way, how you pushed yourself, the way you tried different things, the way you actually moved through fear of failure and said, “I’m not going to people please this time, I’m actually going to just see what I want to do.” Because at their heart, your goals are simply a way for you to be the person that you have always wanted to be, you get to actually be that person in the moment. And by the way, achieving it isn’t going to automatically make you a worthy person. I can tell you this from experience. When I put my first books out, I was kind of like questioning if I’m supposed to feel different? Am I supposed to feel worthy now? And then I realized it wasn’t really about the books. I realized it was about the process of putting the books out there. It’s about the process of telling people my books existed, and that stretched me into the human I wanted to be, not the actual experience of selling the books to people and having them read them. Even though that part was lovely and awesome, it was truly me being able to move through this imposter syndrome and to say, “Wow, I put all of who I am into the process of these books and now I get to have them be in the world, and get to be totally detached from how it goes from there, the outcome after that.”
So for you, this practice of detachment, is such a worthy practice, and it’s such an important fuel for yourself as you head into this year of how to set goals and then also be fully detached. How can you really be in this practice of becoming the person you can trust to pursue your goals, your purpose, to really lean into your intuition, to really understand your worth and value and to keep expanding in this life?
To me, that is truly what this life is about, every stage of growth and expansion. So there you have it. If you are in a place where you are ready to fuel your dreams really powerfully for 2024, and you’d like some support with this, knowing it will make all the difference in the world, because I promise you it will, I am leading a training on this very topic. Dm me Worthy on Instagram at Nicole Tsong and I will send you all the incredible details.
Okay, thank you so much for being here with us today. I am so grateful to have your attention and your listening, and I can’t wait to see you again next week.
Thank you so much for tuning into today’s episode. Before you go, don’t forget if you are a high-achieving woman who wants to uncover your biggest blind spots preventing fast intuitive decisions, I’ve got a 72-second assessment for you, so make sure to dm me quiz on at Nicole Tsong at Instagram. Thank you for being here and for listening. We read every note that we get from you about how the podcast is making a difference in your life. Please know how much we appreciate each and every one of you. Until next time, I’m Nicole Tsong and this is the School of Self-Worth.