Yesterday’s post in this real health series was on how to set health goals for the new year. I explained how to set SMART goals to help you to move towards your vision of health. I do believe that setting goals can be a great way to give you motivation and direction. Goals also create a framework for your actions and keep you moving forward. However, setting and achieving goals is a masculine energy trait.
What do I mean by masculine energy?
Thrive Global describes masculine energy qualities:
“The masculine energy is stable and more predictable. Its strengths are willpower, clarity, and focus. The masculine energy likes to create structures and rules, so it knows how to apply the logic correctly.”
Is achieving goals really the way to ultimate health and happiness? Today I want to talk about how being too focused on goals can move you away from health rather than towards it. How the over-controller can cause more stress than it is worth. And to explain how balancing masculine energy with feminine can be helpful when trying to make positive, healthy changes in your life.
Goal setting is a very masculine energy approach to getting things done. By this I don’t mean it is for men. I mean that it is a very focused, purpose-driven, logical, left side brain approach. Setting and achieving goals involves a lot of mental energy for planning, taking specific actions, tracking and analysing your progress. This isn’t always a bad thing! But we always want to make sure we are balancing this out with a more feminine free-flowing energy. Otherwise, we can become too rigid, pressurized and stressed out.
How too much masculine energy affects your health
Our bodies can become tense and tight because our nervous system is constantly in fight or flight mode. Everyone knows nowadays that high levels of stress can causes all sorts of health issues. This can be anything from high blood pressure and weight gain to insomnia and anxiety. For women, living too much in the masculine energy can also lead to hormonal imbalances. This can affect our menstrual cycles and our fertility.
Is your overall goal is to become healthier, reduce your risk of disease and feel happier and less stressed? Then the masculine energy trait of setting yourself strict goals might actually be more harmful than helpful!
Signs of masculine energy i.e. the over-controller
One of the signs of being too much in your masculine energy with your health goals is the presence of the perfectionist or the over-controller. This could look like micro-managing every aspect of your life, excessively planning or monitoring your actions. It could also look like being focused on your health goals at the expense of enjoying life. Or feeling guilty and beating yourself up if you slip up or fall off the wagon.
Nowadays with smart technology like fitness watches and apps it’s possible to collect more data about ourselves than ever. We can record how many steps we do in a day, measure and track the calories and nutrients in the food that we eat and monitor our heart rate, hours and quality of sleep. Again, I’m not saying that these habits are bad things but when they become obsessive and we are trying to control every aspect of our health then is it really healthy?
Or maybe you are feeling frustrated because you are doing everything right but you aren’t getting the results you expect. By this I mean the results according to whatever logical formula or calculation you are using. Maybe your goal is to lose weight so you eat the recommended calories to lose 1kgs a week. Then, oops, you actually gain 0.5kg in the first week. Maybe you start a strength training program and you aren’t seeing any muscle gains. Or perhaps you have started to meditate for 10 minutes a day but you are still feeling anxious and stressed.
Why the over-controller is unhelpful
Unfortunately our bodies are not machines. There are so many things that can affect the way you look and feel in your body and how you respond to lifestyle changes. This includes your genetics, metabolic health and quality of sleep. Also the climate you live in and how much stress and responsibility you have in your life. If you try to control things and become fixated on a certain outcome, you will only end up disappointed. And this is assuming that you are able set reasonable goals and stick to them!
But another problem with setting goals is that we don’t always consider how life can get in the way. How despite us doing everything right, life can turn things upside down. Look at this year! Who would have expected that we would spend nearly the whole year stuck at home in lockdown?! How many of us set goals at the start of 2020 to go to the gym more? Or planned to spend time with friends and family that quickly went out of the window?
And on the less extreme end of the scale. What about when life events get in the way of your health goals? It could be a holiday that interrupts your training schedule. Or a wedding or birthday celebration with lots of yummy foods that are off your diet plan. You want to be able to go with the flow and be more flexible and intuitive. You don’t want to feel like a failure if living your life means you don’t stick exactly to your plan.
Balancing masculine and feminine energies
So am I saying that you should totally give up, surrender to life and not set any goals? No. You always want to find balance between masculine energy traits and the feminine. This means setting goals to work towards that will challenge you and guide you into the person we want to be. But also giving yourself freedom to change things that aren’t working. Plus remaining flexible and being willing to adapt to whatever life throws at you. This is the feminine energy in it’s element!
You can track our progress against our goals without becoming obsessive. You can use data to guide your journey without becoming obsessive. When you set goals you can be reasonable and build in wriggle room. You can allow yourself room to breathe and be more intuitive and still make progress. It’s important to have self-compassion and acceptance when you don’t do things perfectly. Remember, you aren’t the same person on a day to day basis. Especially us women as we move through our hormonal cycle each month. So we can’t set goals expecting ourselves to be like robots.
Today’s challenge: Reflect on the masculine energy and the over-controller in your life
Your task for today is to reflect on your goals and actions. Look out for the masculine energy traits and see whether the over-controller is leading in your life. Take a few moments to focus on your breath and let go of any tension in your body. Notice how it feels to be relaxed and focused and try to approach your health goals from this energy.
Over to you…
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