Goal Setting How To For When Goals Feel Constricting or Heavy

Goal Setting How To For When Goals Feel Constricting or Heavy

Goal setting how-tos usually focus on the mechanics but leave out the energetics. This is why I’ve always had a funny relationship with goals. They’ve either felt meaningless or constricted and heavy.

If you can relate, I’m glad you’re here because I recently had an opportunity to shift the way we set and relate to goals here at The Origin Company and it’s already calling in more sales!

I recently learned to do sales forecasting and had filled out a beautiful forecasted plan for 2022. Accompanying it were a set of goals for each of the offerings we have planned for the year.

Each goal had a minimum, target, stretch, and dream goal so that we had a range to shoot for.

I was so excited because prior to this, any goal I’d set felt like it was randomly pulled out of the ether and when we didn’t hit them, while it didn’t affect me that much emotionally, I could feel that it wasn’t good for team morale.

I wanted something more grounding for us all to root into to direct our energy, attention, and efforts.

We were in the first promotion after getting the sales forecasting and goals set and within the first 48 hours it became clear that the goals I’d set weren’t realistic.

It was a brand new program we were offering and unlike anything we’d ever offered before so I’d simply shot too high.

The Case for Setting Lower Goals from a Nervous System Perspective

What I know from decades in business is that when there’s momentum and enthusiasm, it’s magnetic for sales.

What we were experiencing on the team was not momentum and enthusiasm – it was a feeling of demoralization.

So often in the manifesting world, it’s suggested that we eschew what’s realistic and instead shoot for pie in the sky goals as a way to energize them towards us.

I’ve tried that and it doesn’t work for me.

Why? Because when there’s a part of me that’s more in doubt than in trust, my nervous system goes into a place of feeling danger and tension.

I could feel this contraction happening in my body during the early days of the promotion and I knew something had to change.

So, we decided to lower the goals.

Relaxation and Manifestation

There was part of me that thought:

“Am I giving into fear and doubt? Am I thwarting my efforts to manifest? Am I blocking the Universe from delivering by lowering our goals?”

But here’s how I knew those things weren’t true:

As soon as we went around and reset our goals as a team, everyone felt more relaxed.

And you know what’s really good for energetic flow? Relaxation.

The more you relax during birth, the easier it is to get the baby out. (I did not say easy. I just said easier.)

The more an aperture opens, the more light gets in.

Our bodies are tuning forks. 

Why? We’re simply a bunch of atoms vibrating at a certain frequency that makes us appear as solid matter.

When our nervous systems are fried and in a heightened state, we do not call in calming, expansive experiences like receiving abundance and feeling beautifully connected.

We call in more experiences that add to our fearful energetic state.

But when we find portals that allow us to settle into a state of safety and calm more often, we choose actions and scenarios that are a match for that state and we perpetuate more calm, expansion, and relaxation as a result.

For me, pie in the sky goals are kind of fun to play with and I like having a dream goal that feels outside the realm of possibility so it can draw me to it over time.

But you know what feels really good?

Having a goal that my body feels fully in alignment with now because it activates the rest and digest response in me…and then I have more capacity for creativity, connection, and joy.

(When we’re in fight, flight, or freeze because of fear and constriction, our blood flow and mental activity get focused only on the vital organs and the extremities so critical thinking, creativity, healing, expansive thinking, and deep connection become unavailable to us.)

Now we’re getting results that are far beyond our minimum, doable goal because our state of relaxation and regulation is energizing and attractive!

Goals Don’t Matter

I think in the end, the goal doesn’t really matter. It’s how the goal makes you feel.

For me, a doable goal makes me feel relaxed and safe.

I find that expansion and magnetism are readily available from relaxation and safety.

Whether you’re setting stretch goals that feel outside the realm of reality for you or you’re setting doable goals, here’s what matters most:

Focus on what makes your body exhale.

A regulated state is a magnetic state.

Goal Setting How To

Whatever you need to do to support that for you, do it and your dreams will be well within reach.

Want to dive deeper into the beautiful dance between your nervous system, other aspects of nature and biology, and your business? Our new program, Regenerative Business just launched today. Check out all the info here:


What goal setting practices do you practice and how do they work for you? Can you relate that setting realistic goals feels relaxing and actually allows you to become even more magnetic? Let me know your experience in the comments!

Kate Northrup is an entrepreneur, bestselling author, mother, and founder and CEO of The Origin Company, which reaches hundreds of thousands globally. Kate is committed to supporting ambitious women to light up the world without burning themselves out. She’s the author of Do Less, the Do Less Planner System creator, and runs The Origin Membership, which helps business owners grow their business while doing less.


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  1. “A doable goal makes me feel relaxed and safe.” I love this!
    You got me in the email when you said that sometimes thinking small is the way to go.

    For me it has also to do with the timeline I’d like to set for the goals. It seems like the Universe likes to serve stuff in its own divinely orchestrated timing, and all rushing and pushing is just useless for that too!

    1. Team Origin

      Yes! So glad this resonated with you!

  2. Kate, thank you for sharing about why lofty goals don’t often work. I love your statement it’s “how goals make you feel” because if you feel overwhelmed or under pressure with a goal there’s absolutely no way that you were going to achieve it. I take big picture goals then break them down into daily consistent micro steps, which helps me feel accomplished in the moment.

    1. Team Origin

      Love this Martha – so glad this idea works for you!

  3. Holy. Crap. What a beautiful permission slip. I’m so glad you put this together and shared! Now if only I could figure out how to get my super scarcity mindset to be okay with having goals that will not immediately solve our problems of scarcity. (while trying to New mom a high needs baby and while on food stamps) 😅🥴

    1. Team Origin

      A permission slip is a great place to start! We hear you – this might help 🙂 https://katenorthrup.com/let-mother-nature-financial-planner/

  4. Wow! I thought I was “doing something wrong” when I felt hesitation in setting gigantic goals. When I course-corrected to smaller goals I started to feel guilty about not trusting the Universe. Goals felt like a losing battle.

    I really appreciate you shedding light on the most important aspect of the process: how you feel. I do set monthly revenue goals, and now that they are much more reasonable I have a lot more fun seeing how close I am getting, and even if/when I come up short I feel excited to go again and bring more creativity into the picture. It’s a new practice that’s working out really well so far. Thank you for this clear perspective on the impact of goal setting and what is always most important: our own sense of safety.

    1. Team Origin

      You are so welcome! It sounds like what you are doing is exactly what your nervous system needs 🙂


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