Signs of Growth Toward a Goal: Momentary Shaking
Monday June 26, 2023

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“If you’re shaking, you’re growing.”

As the end of each June nears, I welcome a new planner into my life. This may seem a strange time of the year to begin with a new planner, but as it is an 18-month version (Academic calendar is the descriptor given), the overlapping from my current planner to my new one has revealed itself to be an insightful practice and ritual.

Yes, I am filling out six months for a second time, rewriting everything I have written in July-December in my old planner into my new, but what I am also doing is checking in with myself regarding the clarifying objectives I have set for my life, concrete steps I need to make to reach the goals I set as well as any other specifics I have delineated in my old planner. And inevitably, because ‘life happens’ as they say, I am able to tighten up my focus, acknowledge where I don’t need to place my energy (or shouldn’t place my energy) any longer and become ever more clear about where my focus needs to be and what is distracting it.

Admittedly, some Junes are more clarifying than others, and such was the case with this June, in 2023, most revealing and instructive for many reasons.

Yoga as life coach.

The above quote was expressed by my yoga instructor recently in class as we were holding parivrtta utkatasana (aka revolved chair pose), or it may have been garudasana (aka eagle pose), or perhaps one of the many other poses that the longer you hold it, retaining the proper form, the more your body tends to shake if it is less accustomed to the pose. But with time, conscious focus and proper breathing, the pose becomes a place of deep focus and a practice in the power of presence to attain calm. To hold one’s body, all twisted and contorted to the onlooker in stoic stillness doesn’t happen by accident and it doesn’t happen without first, more than a bit of shaking.

Whenever we choose to make a significant and long-lasting change in our life, the commitment will not be brief and the results will not arrive swiftly. In fact, if we are consistent and focused, when the results arrive that we had set as an desired outcome, it may have happened so gradually, that when such a moment arrives, it may feel almost odd that it wouldn’t; almost as it if the desired outcome was part of your life for some time, when in truth, it only recently materialized because you chose to change and showed up again and again, remained disciplined, limited distractions and held fast to what you knew could happen if you stayed focused.

Often when the shaking occurs, literally or figuratively, having chosen to put ourselves in the position we are in – either in a challenging yoga class or stepping toward a dream we’e never attempted before – we think something is wrong, and we may consider stopping – stepping out of the pose, stopping the momentum toward our goal we have built up, correlating in our lizard mind that the shaking to an unwanted rattle in a motor’s engine signaling us to stop and drive no further. But that would be a faulty analogy.

Last year we talked about the cycle of self-sabotage. And I bring up knowledge of this mental (unhelpful) default because if we don’t know what the mind is doing and why it is doing it, we get in our own way and thwart our own progress toward something we know we want, if only – we think – we didn’t have to shake to achieve it. But that is what the lizard mind wants us to think: that we should always feel comfortable, that we should always feel secure. In other words, our lizard mind wants us to stay just as we are and have been because it likes what it knows.

The body shaking, your mind swirling with fears of the unknown, is a sign that you are making progress. It actually is a healthy sign that you notice the shaking because it reveals your depth of self-awareness in a time of chosen change, even if you don’t know what the evolution of the change will be, but because you have consciously chosen the direction you are traveling, the class to teach you the skill you desire, you have a fairly good idea of the general outcome, and the outcome is what you envisioned as to be part of your future self/life.

Back to my June 2023 new planner arriving for the latter half of 2023 and all of 2024. Having written my objectives for my life – personal and business, items I had listed in 2022 and carried over into 2023, I realized even through many stresses over the past 18 months (the metaphorical “shaking” that prompted some pondering of whether what I was doing was constructive toward my objectives), that I am not only on the road headed in the direction I want to travel but closer to the eventual primary destination than I realized so long as I stay the course. And that is the lesson I want to share with you today. Whatever change you are trying to welcome into your life, there will be times, along the long journey of travel, that will leave you ‘shaking’ and thus doubting you are doing what is necessary or even constructive. This is where self-trust must consciously come into play.

In 2016, episode #77 of the podcast talks about trust inspired by Brené Brown’s book Braving and breaks down exactly what trust is. And while this episode is looking outward to building trust with others, the same concept and definition applies to being able to trust yourself.

  • Boundaries – you will need to have discipline with yourself. Limit distractions, enhance the quality of the life you live that is within the boundaries that nourish the change you seek.
  • Reliability – follow-through. Do what you say you are going to do. Stick to your daily or weekly or monthly objectives. Have patience and be consistent.
  • Accountability – there will be hiccups along the way. Don’t pretend they didn’t happen. Acknowledge them, learn from them, but don’t dwell on them. Move forward and apply the knowledge gained.
  • Vault – this one more aptly applies to a relationship with another person, but it can apply here. You are going to have oopses along the way. You are human. Don’t dwell, don’t sing a song about them. Move forward. Do it better next time. Show up for that yoga class this Thursday even if you missed the class you had meant to go to on Tuesday. Don’t throw in the towel. Just get on with it.
  • Integrity – live the life that honors your best self. Choose to be courageous rather than lingering in a comfort zone that ignores or dismisses your potential; practice patience. What you seek will take time. Know this. Invest the time. Walk the walk, don’t just or at all talk the talk. In other words, just do what you need to do. Don’t get ahead of yourself and talk about it before it is actually done.
  • Non-judgement – let go of the self-critical voice in your head. Be your own cheerleader, friend and support. Don’t get in your own way and berate yourself. You are doing something new. Something you have never achieved before. It will be weird, uncomfortable, odd, and different, but it will be worth it. Hang in there.
  • Generosity – Be kind to yourself along this journey. Nourish yourself with regular self-care that is constructive to the goal/outcome you are seeking.

When you begin to exercise self-trust, you are building a foundation that will hold you through those shaky moments and prevent you from losing your courage that you will need to keep proceeding forward.

The ‘shaking’ has to happen to enable you to eventually to be able to arrive where you desire. It is part of the chosen expedition you are on. But the good news about the unwanted shaking is that it is it temporary, so long as you maintain your momentum, keep attending class (to carry forward the yoga analogy) and reassure yourself that you indeed are willing to struggle for a short period of time to reach an outcome that will have long-lasting positive benefits. Know this before you begin, and your stress during such moments will be far less. I won’t say you won’t have stress during these moments, but because of your self-awareness, you will be able to nip the stress/worries/doubt/fear in the bud before it becomes a hindrance and drains your energy or infects other aspects of your life.

So today, if you are along any journey in your life where you are heading toward an objective that is new, difficult to achieve, but when attained will improve the quality of your life and what you value, embrace the temporary ‘shaking’ and don’t get off the ride. See it through so you no longer have to ‘shake’ any longer once you break through this temporary component of attaining the change you seek.

Wishing you a wonderful week. 😌 Thank you for stopping by.


22 thoughts on “Signs of Growth Toward a Goal: Momentary Shaking

  1. These ideas are really helpful to me. When I think of a particular struggle that I have been living with, I can apply all of these concepts to my choices (up to this point) and see it now for what it really is! I’m looking over the notes I just took (yep) and each one rings true, but I especially love the directive to “walk the walk” and not to linger in a comfort zone that ignores my potential. Lots for me to use here – thanks, as always!

  2. Great article once again Shannon! I am curious about what type of planner you use? I always struggle finding the right one.

  3. Thank you for the encouragement, Shannon
    ………..what great reminders : )
    Sometimes we forget how far we have come , and it’s wonderful to have a cheerleader 🙂
    Have a lovely week ………..and enjoy your new planner .
    x Anne x

  4. As I try to finish up some office work, the workmen are busy upstairs remodeling my bathroom. I am questioning this decision. The noise is upsetting Lola, the dust will drive me to distraction, and my routine has been totally disrupted for the week with a guest on the way. What was I thinking? And then a little break to read the post today reminded me of why I made this decision. It refocused my shaking thoughts. In my early life, I studied ballet. The process, in many ways similar to yoga, demanded concentration, practice, and dedication. The successive injuries required another decision, one I often question. That said, I know this is a short-term complication to what I consider to be an ordered life. Thank you, Shannon, my vision is clearing.

    1. Lucy,

      You have so elegantly described an example of temporary shaking. Coincidentally, on this day, my neighbor’s contractor has arrived to begin a kitchen remodel and she is moving out of her house for the duration. Certainly, a shift in life, but something she has been wanting (the remodel) to happen for some time. I can empathize with your shaking during the middle of such a progress and wish you peace and calm however you and Lola can find it as I know it is uncomfortable. Hang in there, and personally, being there while they work, ensures you will get what you planned for. Wishing you well and thank you very much for your comment. 😌

    2. Aaah, Lucy 🤗

      Having workmen in the house , no matter how good they are , and how much wanted the work and renovations have been , is such an upheaval for you , and for Lola .

      I hope that your new bathroom will soon be completed , and that you will be able to enjoy the remodelling , once it is done .

      I think , especially when we live alone ( I think you do ? although I know your son and daughter in law are nearby )
      we become used to the peace and serenity of our days unfolding as we plan them , but when we begin to share our house with others , be they friends ( lovely 🙂) or workmen (so disruptive , however lovely they may be 😂 ) the rhythm of our days is disrupted .

      You mentioned that you used to study ballet ( which I love ) and your post reminded me of The Rite of Spring , all the corps de ballet dancing frantically to that relentless beat 😂😂

      Just picture the end result , and the forthcoming lovely visit of your guest , and give Lola lots of extra attention and love while all the hammering and banging is going on ❤️
      It will all be with it in the end .

      x Anne x

      1. I do have a husband of more than 53 years. He often steps back during these times. Since retirement, he has had multiple health problems and as he has done well in all, he is painfully impatient. His assistant used to tell me this all the time. We are each our own person, thus the long union.

        1. Thank you for sharing, Lucy .

          How wonderful to have had so many years together , through all the ups and downs which long relationships entail 🙂

          I’m sorry about the health problems, I hope that both of you are managing to keep as well as possible , and oh yes , trying to be patient with the limitations imposed by increasing years !

          Especially because, in our heads we are still ageless , and are constantly surprised to find out how much longer things seem to be taking than they used to 😂😂

          Best wishes to both of you .


        2. 😄Dear Lucy 53 years is a good innings as we say in the game of cricket. I’m right behind you at 48. My hubby is also impatient so I think that’s the secret for a long union. Wishing you many more years. Kameela🤩

    3. Indeed Anne great reminders. We forget to remind ourselves of our achievements and how far we’ve come. Kameela 🤩

    4. Lucy . It never rains but it pours! The dust always settles and you’ll be able to enjoy your remodelled bathroom and your guest. The disruption will be worth it You will then be relaxed when you welcome your guest. Poor Lola they don’t like strangers in the house. Our cat runs away to hide everytime we have a workman in the house! Hope you give her some nice treats .
      What a lovely discipline ballet is. I practised an Indian classical dance called Kathak ( Sanskrit for storytelling) which takes years of practice and training. I only performed at private gatherings. I still do some routines once or twice a week at home but not as energetic as before😄. Hope you’ll be pleased with the final result of your bathroom. Kameela🤩

      1. Dear Kameela, a colleague enrolled her daughter in a Kathak group. They were to perform at an annual International Village event here. Bad weather cancelled all the performances that year I never got to see her. I have never performed (well maybe in the early days with Miss Dee’s Dance Academy!) but studied for some time. I am lucky now if I can hold first position longer than 5 minutes! Ha, time does fly. As my clock is ticking away the last hours of the day I have just finished damp dusting the entire bathroom. I feel better about it, it’s a thing. Tomorrow is another day:) 🙂

  5. I love the idea of using an18 month planner as a tool to reflect mid-year! You are brilliant. I immediately ordered one today. I have been feeling the need to get back on track this year, and the act of writing and reflecting will be just what I need. Thanks as always for your thoughtful insights and practical applications.

    1. Thank you for stopping by Debbie and happy to share. Once I found this structure of a planner (Smythson has them as well, but is a luxury, however, Gallery Leather is very similar and far more affordable), I knew I had found what I needed. I hope you like it too. 🙂

  6. Good morning, Shannon,
    Thank you for the reference to this 18-month planner. Just the ticket for my beginning retirement on June 30th! This should definitely keep me on track and provide “structure” now that I won’t have the daily “get up & get out” pressures of a workday.

  7. Shannon an excellent motivating post. I love the analogy with yoga. As someone who has practised this discipline for many years I know only too well about the’shaking as you try to get into a new pose. When the shaking stops and you’re holding that pose , it’s such an exhilarating feeling.
    I think that shaking’ is the element which helps us to get it right if we choose to. I’ve had a few of those in my time. I also see it as learning to ride a bike. You try and try not wanting to give up and then after many false starts,bruises, and hurt pride you succeed. Oh, the thrill of it,
    Have a great week Shannon. 😊

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