Dynamic Goal Setting and Mantras
Lumia Coaching co-founders John Kim and Noelle Cordeaux discuss dynamic goal setting and the power of mantras within the practice of life coaching.
The Everything Life Coaching Podcast, featuring Lumia Coaching founders John Kim and Noelle Cordeaux, is a deep dive into the experience and business of being a life coach. Subscribe to get new episodes weekly!
Dynamic Goal Setting and Using Mantras
This episode features Lumia co-founders John and Noelle discussing the hamster wheel of our brains, the power of mantras, and goal setting galore!
John: Alright, what’s up? Today, we’re going to talk about goal setting and mantras.
Noelle: Yeah, and what goes on in your head, like that little hamster wheel of self doubt, self talk, the whole combo, the whole thing.
John: Which is really important. I hear we have about 60,000 thought a day, and most of those thoughts are the thoughts we had yesterday, so we’re just basically in this weird loop of thinking the same thing, and if we don’t change the conversations that we have with ourselves, we’re just going in circles. Right?
John: And most of our thought are what? They’re negative—our default isn’t to just think of amazing positive, “I can do anything” things—they’re usually tied to our insecurities and the bad stuff that’s happened, right? A lot of residue.
Noelle: Yeah, so one of the ways to combat those negative thoughts, one of the ways to gain control over your thoughts and emotions is to stop for a second—whenever you start to experience frenzy, or panic, or anxiety, or guilt, or shame—and ask yourself, “Are my thought right now housed in the past, the present, or the future?”.
John: Ooh, interesting.
Noelle: Because a lot of times—
John: So you actually categorize?
Noelle: Yeah you categorize them, because a lot of times—the pain response, the guilt response, the shame response, fear response, frenzy, anxiety—is housed either in the past or the future. If you are grounded, truly grounded in the present, you’re focusing on the task at hand. And if you’re focused on either the past or future, there’s not really anything that you can do about anything.
Noelle: It’s the past or the future. It’s either over or hasn’t happened yet. So, it’s a really nice point to be aware of.
John: So, what is your mantra? What is a mantra that works for you? Real quick—guys, if you’re listening or watching, give us your feedback, and as I ask Noelle this, tell us what your mantra is and we’re free so we can keep this a conversation.
Noelle: Absolutely, let’s back up a little bit. We’re life coaches at Lumia, we run our Catalyst Life Coaching Intensive. So, what we’re doing right now is giving you guys life coaching tips, tools, and techniques that you can both use for yourself and that you can also bring to your clients. So, the task at hand today is we’re talking about how to use mantras in order to quiet that voice, in order to stop beating yourself up, in order to bring it back to center, to bring it back to present, versus living in the past or the future. So, what is a mantra and why does it work? A mantra is a very simple phrase that lays out your intention, quite simply.
Noelle: And why is that important? It’s important because it’s so easy to get so scattered, and one of the number one things that derails goal accomplishment is having too many things to do at once.
Noelle: And not focusing.
Noelle: And letting your mind go to the past, and letting your mind go to the future, and not actually staying in the present and doing what it is that you have to do.
John: Yes, so let’s talk about a few mantras. Someone here says my mantra is “I am safe and I have all the answers within me or within my reach”, which I think is powerful.
Noelle: Oh, I love that.
John: That’s great.
Noelle: That’s phenomenal.
John: I am safe is huge, because most people do not feel safe in this world.
Noelle: Yep, and it can be such a mirage. When I work with clients, and they’re having a really bad day, I try to bring them to a place of gratitude with safety, and say “Hey, do you have a safe place to sleep at night? Do you have access to food and water? Do you have food that you can eat?”. And if the answer to all those questions is yes, then you exist in relative safety.
John: But also safety as in “Are you safe emotionally with friends? Are you safe to share your feelings with your intimate partner? Do you feel safe with your boss?”, all of that stuff too.
Noelle: Yeah all of that stuff. And a lot of that stuff, you have to actively work on, but it’s not really within your control. You know, how other people create an environment—
John: Well you can control who you decide to surround yourself with.
Noelle: Yeah, that’s true. Well, maybe not so much your boss. Yeah, I mean.
John: Well as far as how much you want to interact, or how you can change and adjust, or—
Noelle: How you set up boundaries.
John: Boundaries, yeah of course.
Noelle: Alright, let’s stick with mantras. Mantras.
John: Mantras. So Noelle, what’s your mantra? You know it could change every week, but what’s a mantra for you this week?
Noelle: So, I use different mantras. Starting out for the new year, my mantra was “All I have to do is tend to my health and do my job.”.
Noelle: And anything that falls outside of those two categories, I really don’t need to give my energy to, because I am so singularly focused right now. So that really helps me orient myself in the world. When I’m starting to feel frenzy, when I’m starting to feel anxiety, all I have to do is tend to my health and my job.
John: I love this idea of simplifying, just in general, I think that there’s way too much noise in the world, I think there’s way too much clutter in between our ears, and it’s with everything. So, simplifying, I think the two things you need to do, but also go into your closet, throw away all the shit that you never wear. Simplify—have two nice pairs of pants that you actually wear, and three t-shirts, and just this idea of simplifying everything—food, friends, all of that. I think that it realigns you, it reboots you, it makes you feel lighter. So, I love the word simplifying, and that relates to Noelle’s mantra.
For me, this week my mantra has been “keep it real”. And if I feel like because there’s things happening—Noelle and I are very busy, and have lots of stuff happening to us, and meetings and opportunities—I could feel the tug, the old John Kim not keeping it real, and that scares me, and that’s not who I want to be. So if I remind myself to just keep it real and be me, it makes me swim toward the island. If I don’t, I’m going sideways, and I know that then I’m pulling from my “psuedoself”, as I say. I’m not at my potential, and I’m not going where I’m supposed to go. And I start to feel gross.
Noelle: Yeah, and that internal feeling—what John’s describing—that feeling of feeling gross, is in coaching terms what we call somatic response. And your soma is your body, and getting in touch with your body and how your body responds to stress, authenticity, different people or feelings that may be toxic, you notice it may be in your throat, in your stomach, the back of your neck, your shoulders—where do you feel it in your body when you feel “gross”.
John: I end up breathing from my chest.
Noelle: Oh, interesting.
John: Yeah, and I’m reacting a lot, and I’m very impatient, and I’m just running around with my head cut off.
Noelle: Okay, so that’s—
John: So I’m not living, I’m just a walking reaction.
Noelle: Well that’s really good stuff to know. So, if I was coaching John as my client, I would say, “Okay, so what are you gonna do when you start to experience those tells?”.
John: Go back to my breath.
Noelle: Go back to your breath.
John: Feel it.
Noelle: Feel it.
John: Let it go into my diaphragm, deep breathing. And then I kind of can feel whole again, and readjust. And then my mantra, am I keeping it real—in front of these people, in this meeting, on this Facebook Live. Or, am I pulling from a place where I’m being false or seeking something?
Noelle: I have a challenge for you.
Noelle: I want you to go deeper with your mantra and turn it—instead of a question—into a positive, affirmative statement.
John: Keep your shit real. I mean, I don’t know.
Noelle: Or word it for yourself, I will keep my shit real.
John: Oh, okay right. I will keep my shit real.
Noelle: Does that feel authentic to you?
John: Yeah, I will keep my shit real—whether it’s my words, or my videos, or any kind of engagement with people—I will keep my shit real.
Noelle: I will keep my shit real. I like it! John and I came up with another mantra for each other yesterday, because as he said, things have been pretty much nuts recently. So, yesterday I forgot what day it was, I missed a meeting, I sent out an email to a major organization with the wrong dates in it, and I sent out another email with a stupid typo. And I started beating myself up automatically, because that’s unacceptable for me. Even though it’s fucking fine, whatever. But the mantra that we came up with for ourselves is the word “squirrel”. Because the reason that I got into that state, the reason that John was experiencing chest breathing and shortness of breath, is because there’s been so much stuff going on, and we both needed a code word to come back to center, focus on what we’re doing, remember that life coaching is fun. We’re building a company that we want to work in with people that we adore, and that there’s no reason to experience all of this negativity. We can just say “squirrel”, and kind of bring it right back. Bring it back.
John: Brianna has a mantra, she says “I’m capable of and willing to receive all of the experiences today has to offer to me.”.
Noelle: Ooh, I like that.
John: I like that whole idea that the day has to offer you something.
Noelle: Yeah, I agree. I agree. That’s beautiful, I love it. Does anybody else have mantras or questions about mantras? Please type them in for us.
John: Yeah, there’s a little bit of a delay, but let us know. And the other piece of this whole thing, and Noelle mentioned it, is something we all do—beating ourselves up if we don’t accomplish our goals, right?
John: This idea of internalizing, pointing a gun to yourself. So this is also a negative pattern that can grey you out, and that can turn into a wall or a block for you to then become afraid to go out and do stuff. You gotta stop beating yourself up if you don’t accomplish what you set out to accomplish.
John: So how do we do that? First we have to be aware that we’re doing it.
Noelle: Well I think checking in and saying “are my thoughts in the past, present, or future”, super helpful. And then the other thing to ask yourself is “will this matter one year from now?”. And that’s a really good check in. Will whatever it is that’s like acutely bugging me right now—let’s take for example the fact that I completely flanked on a meeting, just didn’t show. Will that matter one year from now?
John: Of course it will! I’m just kidding.
Noelle: No! It’s not gonna matter at all.
John: It’s gonna change your whole life.
Noelle: No, 100% not. That will not matter one year from now.
John: Oh but one week from now—
Noelle: One week from now it won’t matter. So I have a choice in this moment—I can stew, I can beat myself up, I can mention it to a bunch of people like I’m doing right now, or I could just say “Well, that happened yesterday, I’m now in the present, what does this day have to offer me?”. Thank you Brianna, I love that.
John: Yes, I like this idea of pulling back, which is kind of the same. I think we fall into the trenches very fast. Just to pull back, look at your whole story—and the things that are life and death to you now, the feeling that the sky is falling—all of that will dissolve if you see the whole picture, and that there’s so many more chapters, and how far you’ve come. Once and awhile I will pull back and try to see my entire story instead of just this chapter I’m in now.
Noelle: Oh, 100%, 100%.
John: And Noelle as CEO, she does that with the company, seeing the big picture, then all the things that happen day to day aren’t magnified.
Noelle: But I’m human. I’m so human, and so I can take the micro things—like my own fitness journey—I’ve been working really hard at upping my strength.
John: And you’ve been consistent.
Noelle: I’ve been consistent.
John: And I’m proud of you. She’s boxing now.
Noelle: I’m boxing, watch out world. So I love boxing, and if I miss a workout, or I’m too tired, or my day has gone completely off the rails—because I do handle a lot of stuff—I’ll beat myself up, because I haven’t taken that one small step in this one day. So if I bring it back to will this matter a year from now? No. Will my consistency over time be the thing that propels me forward? Yes, 100%. Will that one workout impact the whole enchilada? No, absolutely not. Have I been consistent? Yeah. So, as John is saying, look at your whole story.
John: Yes. Alright guys, we’re gonna recap real quick.
Noelle: Okay, so we’re talking about setting mantras for goal accomplishment. And one of the reasons that’s important—one of the reasons why people have a hard time accomplishing goals—is because they focus on too many different things at once, and they don’t drop it down to a singular focus, a singular intention. So, we’re saying that you can harness a couple of different techniques—coaching techniques—in this regard.
Number one, when you set a mantra and you repeat it to yourself, you’re engaging in biofeedback, you’re setting up a singular, repetitive structure in your brain, deep in the grooves, that help you adhere to habit formation. So, repeating a mantra to yourself really cements what it is that you want to do, and it also simplifies your intention so that you’re not focusing on too many different things at once. And the other piece of it is not beating yourself up when you haven’t taken the step that you wanted to take or thought you were gonna take, or did the thing.
So do you have feedback on not beating yourself up to recap?
John: Being aware that you’re doing it, centering yourself. For me, it’s the thing about breath. And then knowing that you have to stop this pattern or else it will continue to drown you.
Noelle: Yes, yes. And then on my end it’s “will this matter in one year from now?”.
John: Oh right, pull back.
Noelle: Pull back. And are your thoughts in the past, present, or future?
John: Yes, that’s a really big one. File your thought and take control of them. Alright guys, be well. Happy Friday.
Noelle: Happy Friday.
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