Are you setting joy-goals or lack-goals?

I have lists of goals.  There are six-month goals, one-month goals, 5-year goals, pie-in-the-sky goals, lots and lots of goals.  I’ve been doing this for a long time because I am a list-making fool.  And what I realized a couple of years ago was that the goals I actually achieved were joy-goals and the goals I fell short of were lack-goals.  And I am certain this holds true with most of you.  Let me explain:

A lack-goal begins with a self-critical thought

I don’t like my body.

The goal that is created from that thought is phrased like this:

I need to lose weight so I will go to the gym 4x a week.

Just reading those two sentences makes me feel restricted and small.  Yuck. Yet this is what most of us do.   And it does not work.

A little backstory on me:  I struggled with my weight during my 20’s.  I was heavier than my friends and while they could seemingly eat whatever they wanted, I could not.  I put myself on diets, I Jane Fonda-ed it up at home, I thought about food ALL THE TIME, and what did that get me?  Depressed.  Angry. My negative self-talk was LOUD and it was MEAN.  I had all kinds of goals like the one above and I never achieved a single one of them.  So what turned it all around for me?  When I had a joy-goal.

I made a list in 1998 of lifetime goals, things I wanted to learn or achieve or try,  (seriously, did I mention I love lists?) and #1 was “learn how to kick box”.  I moved to Los Angeles in 1999 and began training in the French art of kickboxing called Savate.  I loved it from day one.  I felt like a badass and it brought me so much happiness.  There was NEVER a question of missing a class or a “crap I really don’t want to go to the gym today” moment.  My kickboxing goal was created out of joy. And when I decided to fight for a spot on the American team for the 2000 Savate world championships, I weighed myself for the first time in months.  Guess what? I had lost weight.  Without even trying.  It wasn’t my motivation behind my goal.  And that made all the difference in the world.

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Joy-goals.  Try it out.

Psychologist Kelly McGonigal from The Willpower Instinct states, “Study after study shows that self-criticism is consistently associated with less motivation and worse self-control.”  So the next time you bemoan your failure to achieve a goal, stop a moment and investigate the source of that goal.  Is it coming from that negative, nasty place inside us all?  Or is it coming from your quiet, joyful place?

I bet I know the answer.


The recipe this week is from the Thug Kitchen Cookbook.  If you have never heard of these guys and swear words don’t offend you, I highly recommend you check them out!  They are devoted to a plant-based lifestyle and their recipes reflect their joy and passion.  Plus, they are irreverent, raunchy, and hilarious.  My favorite kind of people!

White Bean and Red Lentil Burgers

  • 1/3 cup red lentils
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 cups cooked white beans
  • ½ red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of your favorite no-salt, all-purpose seasoning blend
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Grated zest of ½ lime
  1. Combine the lentils and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let that all simmer until the lentils are soft and mushy and the water is mostly gone, about 10 minutes.  Drain away and extra water and let the lentils cool while you prep all the other shit.  (I warned you!)
  2. Mash the white beans in a large bowl and then add the lentils and the rest of the ingredients. If you find the mixture too wet to hold its shape, add some more breadcrumbs.  Shape that mix into patties (you know, burger size) and put them on an oiled baking sheet.  Chill that in the fridge, covered, for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
  3. Crank the oven to 400F when you’re ready to go. Coat the patties lightly with some cooking spray and bake them for about 30 minutes, flipping them over halfway.  You want them to be golden on both sides.  Serve them up with whatever the fuck you like on a burger and then go to town.

Questions? Thoughts? I’d love to hear from you!

Eat well.


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