Tell me if this sounds familiar. You set a goal for yourself, and when you think about achieving it, it’s exciting, it’s exhilarating. But then, you start on the journey of actually bringing that goal to life, to achieving that goal. And all of a sudden, you find that you’re exhausted. You’re discouraged. You’re feeling heavy, and you’re certainly not having fun.
Well, today’s episode is for you. Because I want to talk about how to have fun while achieving your goals. I think it’s the secret sauce, so let’s dive in.
Welcome to the School of Self-Image, where personal development meets style. Here’s your hostess, master life coach Tonya Leigh.
Hello, gorgeous people. How’s it going? I am so excited to talk about one of my favorite topics. I have a lot of favorite topics. Have you noticed? But this one, I just love talking about because it’s something that is so needed, especially in this day and age. Today’s episode is going to be all about having fun. But more specifically, I want to talk about how to have fun while reaching your goals.
I am going to take a moment to brag a little bit about myself. Fun is my superpower. In fact, I have so many people tell me – people that just meet me say, “You’re so much fun.” And it’s a skill I’ve learned to cultivate in my life. Because fun really is a skillset.
Like so many women, I remember being a little girl and naturally having fun, playing outside, I’d make mudpies because I lived on a dirt road. I remember running around with the neighborhood kids. I would find fun in the most simple of things.
But then, something happened. I became an adult. And with adulthood, I believed that fun was something I should put on the backburner, especially when going after my goals. It really bears the question, why do we stop having fun? And why do we not have fun in the process of reaching our goals?
And I think there’s many reasons. One is the way we are brought up; what we are taught to believe. For example, I remember when I was growing up. Fun was something that I got to engage in once I had all my chores done, once my homework was done, once the work was done. Then fun was a reward.
I could watch maybe a little TV. I could go play with neighborhood friends. I could do what I wanted to do. And then, as I became older and I was working, I was taught you have to work hard and that there’s no time for fun, and all of these messages started to cause me to be a very serious and heavy person, both literally and physically. I think it’s one of the reasons why I gained so much weight. I wasn’t having fun in my life.
And then I went to France for the very first time. And over the course of that week, I laughed more than I had in years. I enjoyed more. I savored more. I relaxed more. And I came home on a mission to enjoy my life more, to have more fun. And that caused me to start changing how I lived, how I thought, and especially how I pursued my goals.
So, when I started my company, gosh, 12 years ago – it’s crazy it’s been that long. I think 12 or 13 years. 2009, do the math. It’s 13 years. Is it? But anyway, when I started my company, I made a vow to myself that I was not going to work myself to the bone, as my grandmother used to say; that I was going to enjoy the process.
And what I can tell you all is that year after year, it just keeps getting better. In fact, last year, during the pandemic, even after spending three months in my home, not leaving – I think I left like tice in three months. It was crazy – it turned out to be one of my most fun years ever. And I reached so many goals while having fun.
And it made me realize, the other issue with fun is that people are waiting for fun to come to them. They’re waiting for fun to fall out of the sky. They’re waiting for the invite. They’re waiting for the fun people to show up. They’re expecting things to be fun outside of them, whether it’s their job, whether it’s another person, whether it’s any activity that they’re doing. They expect it to be fun.
And what I want to tell you all is that you bring the fun. You are the fun. I have this special skill of taking the most mundane and ordinary things and making them fun, like washing the dishes and cleaning out my closet, cleaning up the spilled drinks, cleaning out the fridge.
I know how to have fun because I have become a fun woman. The fun is within me. The party lives within me. That’s what I love to say. So, it means no matter where I go, then I can bring the fun. I am the fun.
And so, when it comes to reaching your goals, what we often do is we think that we will have fun once we’ve achieved the goal. So, once you’ve made a certain amount of money, once you’ve lost the weight, once you’ve found your fun partner, once you’ve moved to the fun city, then you’ll be able to have fun.
And what we end up doing is we make ourselves miserable along the way. And one of the things I tell my clients, especially my entrepreneurial clients who are growing their businesses, I’m like, “Listen, if it’s not fun, what are you doing? Why are you torturing yourself?”
And the way I like to think about it – and I’ve talked about it a lot on this podcast. Everything is energy. Everything. And so, if you think about the people you enjoy being around, the people you’re drawn to, the people who have that magnetic quality, chances are these are people who are having fun. They’re enjoying their lives.
And because of that, they attract experiences, opportunities, people that allow them just to keep elevating the fun. A great example is I just went on a girls’ trip to Columbia. Oh my god, I had so much fun. And everyone in the group was fun. And so, we just put our fun together and it was almost uncontainable because it was just off the hook.
People wanted to be a part of our party because were having so much fun. And so, because everything in life is energy, the way you have to think about it is this. However you think you’re going to feel once you reach your goal, you must start feeling that way now so that you are a match for it.
And I know so many of you are lacking fun in your life and you’re so serious and you’re beating yourself up and you’re hating the journey, which delays you getting to where you want to go because you’re not an energetic match for it.
So, last year, I announced my extraordinary goal within the School of Self-Image community, in my membership program. And one of the commitments I made to myself is I am going to have fun reaching this goal.
And so throughout the year, when we would have initiatives, when I would come up with ideas, I would ask myself, is this going to be fun? And if the answer was no, then I told the team we’re not doing it. This sounds awful, I don’t want to do it.
Now, here’s the thing; I could do it and bring the fun and I’m really good at that. But there’s two sides to the equation. Number one, you have to learn how to develop a fun mindset because inevitably in life, there are going to be things that you’re doing that maybe you don’t historically see as fun.
But when you have a fun mindset, you can make it fun. So of course I could have done those projects and I would have had fun doing it, but I want more ease in my life. I want more effortlessness. And that doesn’t mean you don’t have effort. It just feels like you're in flow, it feels like you’re aligned.
And so I really tune in and I feel into my goals. I feel into the next steps to get there, and I always ask myself this, and this is the secret question. How can I make this fun?
And if I have a hard time coming up with answers, I may need to change my goal, or I may need to change my approach. And sometimes that’s through mindset, sometimes it’s through changing my action. But the way I like to think about it is this; I tell people all of the time you have the ability to create whatever feeling you want in any situation.
So fun is a feeling. And you create it by your thoughts. But I love to put myself in situations where it’s so much easier to think the thoughts that will lead to the feeling that I’m seeking, which is why when it comes to these projects, I’d rather choose a different project or a different approach that feels more fun that I’m able to think more fun thoughts around without having to do a lot of thought work around it.
But at the end of the day, I know no matter what I choose, I can have fun doing it. And that is a secret weapon on the path to your goals. The other mistake that I see so many people make is thinking that the goal is the end point. That’s where they’re going to be happy, that’s going to be where they have more fun, and that simply isn’t true.
And I think we can all look back and see times in our lives where we hit a goal thinking that that was going to be it. And then all of a sudden, we move the goal post. Our brains play little tricks on us saying, “Oh wait, you thought this was it? No, happiness is in the next thing.”
And so because I know that, I know there’s no upside in delaying fun, I know there’s no upside in waiting to feel good because what I’ll end up doing if I don’t manage my brain is I’ll just keep moving the goal post.
Oh, you can have fun later, when you do this, when you do that. You can have fun when you get the house cleaned. You can have fun when you pick up the kids from school, you can have fun when you’ve made this much money. And you’ll just keep moving the goal post. What I want you to consider is that fun is the best path to take towards your dreams and your goals.
Now, some of you listening, in fact many of you because I get your messages, one of your goals is weight loss. And because of how you’ve done it in the past and it hasn’t been fun, you now have a negative association with it.
And you have to remember that the brain is wired to pursue pleasure and to avoid pain. So if you see weight loss as a painful journey, if you see it as zapping your joy, making you feel deprived, and all of the stuff that you’ve associated with it in the past, you can see how it’s so hard.
You’re going to have to figure out for you how you can have fun on your journey to your ideal weight. For me, one of the little tricks that I made, it was such a mind trick, but I want to offer it to you in hopes that it will be helpful.
But I think when we are trying to lose weight, one of the things that we start thinking about are all of the things that we’re going to be deprived of. Maybe you’re feeling like you’re going to be deprived of sugar, you’re going to be deprived of carbs, whatever path you choose to take in losing weight.
I started to think about what I could have. So instead of focusing on what I was telling myself I couldn’t have and sparking that deprivation and that fear, I thought about all of the amazing incredible and delicious foods I could have, that I was choosing to have that felt good in my body, that made me feel lighter, that made me feel more energetic.
I started to focus on what I wanted instead of what I feared I couldn’t have. And now of course, with any kind of goal achievements, there’s going to be a level of discomfort because you’re having to think in new ways, feel new feelings, you’re having to go through that gap, the dream gap of where you are and where you want to be, and it’s going to require an identity shift. It’s going to require that you change your self-image, and that is always uncomfortable.
But here’s another little secret for you all; I started to have fun with the discomfort. Okay, what do I mean by that? I see forward discomfort, I like to call it forward discomfort because it’s not indulging in the same old familiar discomfort. It’s a new kind of discomfort of me shedding something, of me letting go, and me rebirthing myself in a new way.
And I started to see it as almost like when you’re on a rollercoaster and it’s thrilling. Even though you’re terrified, right? Especially when the rollercoaster gets to the top and it’s about to take a drop. You’re equally terrified but you’re also exhilarated. It’s uncomfortable but you’re having fun at the same time.
And so when I started to have fun with my discomfort, not avoid it, not try to run from it, not try to suppress it, but I was just like, alright, me and this discomfort, we’re going to party together, we’re going to hang out together, I’m going to get to know that part of me that’s so scared, I’m going to give her lots of love, lots of grace, and we’re going to keep rocking towards where we plan to go, all of a sudden I learn not to take it so seriously.
I’m like, oh, it’s just a little discomfort. I’ve birthed a baby. I can do this. And so I even want you to consider that in the discomfort of change, you can have fun with it. I also love to laugh during my discomfort.
And one of the things I often say is, “Aw, you silly little brain. You’re just so freaked out but it’s okay. We’re on the stage of our life here and we’re going to party like there’s no tomorrow.” And just approaching it with a little sense of humor, a little bit of lightness, not being so serious thinking, “Oh my gosh, I’m having anxiety, I’m having fear, the world is ending, I need to run back into my cave,” you just allow yourself to feel it and you party with it. You don’t run from it.
The other thing with having fun towards achieving your goals is that what I’ve noticed is that when you’re having fun along the way, you’re not in a hurry to get there. And I want you to think about this, going back to everything is energy and you have to be a match for what you want.
Whenever I see people in a hurry, it’s driven out of fear and lack. I’ve got to hurry up and get there because life is so much better over there and it’s not great here. I’ve got to hurry up and get there, I need to make money now.
There’s such an urgency that’s being driven out of fear, which only perpetuates the fear. I’ve seen so many people reach their goals and they’re still afraid. Why? Because how they reached them.
But when you’re having fun, you’re not in such a hurry. And ironically, that’s when you can build momentum, it’s when you’re more clear, it’s when you’re more productive, it’s when you’re more relaxed, and it’s when people are more attracted to you.
So if you’re running an online business like me, or if you even have a brick and mortar business and you’re serving customers, your customers probably want to be around someone who’s enjoying life, who’s having fun. You probably don’t want to hang out with someone who’s grumpy and full of fear and always rushing to get to the next thing.
And so you become a magnet for your people, the clients, and customers that you were meant to serve. Even with weight loss, when you relax, even on a biochemical level, you’re better able to lose weight when you’re not pumping cortisol throughout your body. Because you’re denying yourself of fun, you’re denying yourself of relaxation, you’re denying yourself of pleasure.
Even for those of you who are looking for the love of your life, you probably want to attract someone who’s fun, who’s enjoying life. So guess what? That means you have to be fun, you have to be enjoying life. And what you’re going to notice when you start sprinkling fun into your day and when you start approaching your goals from a place of fun is that all of a sudden, you realize something really, really powerful, and that’s this.
Life really does celebrate the woman who is celebrating her life. And I have so much evidence to prove it true, that the more fun you have, the better life gets. The easier it is to reach your goals.
I personally see life as a game. It’s one big experiment. And I want to play it with a sense of fun and wonder and play like I did when I was a little girl. When I was a little girl, goals were not at the forefront of my life. Now I’m very into goals, I love having goals.
Not because I think reaching them is going to make my life better. I just love how they grow me, I love who I have to become to reach them. But I also know that life isn’t better over there. Life will only be as good as how you’re living this day and the next day and the day after.
So making yourself miserable on the way to your goals isn’t the answer. You may end up with more money, you may end up weighing less, you may end up with a partner, but because of how you reached it, chances are you’re still going to have the same struggles. You’re going to move the goal post.
And so I want to invite all of us to play our lives out with a sense of fun. Life is supposed to be fun. Yes, there are terrible things that happen in the world. Yes, we have gone through a fascinating two years. And quite honestly, I feel like fun is needed now more than ever.
It is a skillset, and it is safe to have fun and I believe in the power of fun so much that I am dedicating the whole month of November within the School of Self-Image to fun. I’m going to be sharing my fun secrets, we’re going to be going on a fun scavenger hunt. I’m going to teach you how to develop a fun mindset.
I’m even going to teach you how to be someone who brings the fun into every room that you enter. And you’ll be amazed at how you can shift the energies of a room. You’re going to be amazed at how you can attract more fun people and what starts to open up for you when you know that the party lives within you and you bring that party wherever you go.
And so we’re opening up the doors for enrollment just for a few days because we’ve had many of you who missed the last cutoff and you’re wanting to get in. And for those of you who know you need more fun in your life, this is the month for you.
There is no better time than right now to have more fun in your life. And if your brain is telling you, “Wait, but I can’t right now, life is way too serious, I’m going to wait until,” whatever, fill in the blank, you need this more than anyone.
Because at the end of the day, at the end of your life, what do you want to say about the life you lived? That you were serious, that you worked hard, you got it done? But how did you do it? You get to decide how you do anything.
Maybe just say those things, but to also say but she was a lot of fun, she impacted a lot of people with her joy. That’s what we’re going to be doing in November. So if you want to join us, go to schoolofselfimage.com/join and I cannot wait to see you all for a month of fun. I love you all and I will see you soon, either within the membership or on the next podcast. Cheers.
Hey, have you grabbed your free copy of the School of Self-Image Manifesto? If not, what in the world? Head over to schoolofselfimage.com/manifesto and get a copy that teaches you how to think and show up in the areas of mindset, style, and surroundings so that you can transform your self-image.