🎧 EPISODE #3 Setting Goals That Stick With Brianna Wiest

Author & Journalist Brianna Wiest discusses processes & tactics on setting goals that stick. To learn more about Brianna & her writing, visit BriannaWiest.com

Brianna’s Books:
101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think
Salt Water: Poems On Healing & Wholeness
I Am The Hero of My Own Life
The Awakening Mind, book bundle

Thought Catalog

Social Media:

Amy Riordan “You are the common denominator in all of your life experiences. If there’s a pattern in your life, there’s most likely a pattern in your behavior.” -Brianna Wiest  

Amy Riordan Welcome to the Amy Riordan Podcast. They say owning a business is a journey in self development, so I decided to explore just that, whether you’re an entrepreneur or looking for fulfillment in your day to day life, get inspired here through interviews, life stories and proven self help techniques. What you do with the information received in this podcast is completely up to you. But if you act, you will alter the course of your life in ways you never could’ve possibly imagined. I’m Amy Riordan. Let’s do this.  

Amy Riordan I’ve been following Author and Journalist Brianna Wiest for some time now. Her work can be found in such places as Thought Catalog, Medium and Forbes, which is huge. This woman, at such a young age, has completely transformed the way that I think, and I think she could do the same for you as well. So I really hope that you enjoy this next interview with Brianna Wiest, Author and Journalist, and if you get the chance, check out her books, but mostly just enjoy the complete geeking-out the you’ll experience as I interview one of my heroes.  

Amy Riordan Hi, everyone. So today is a really big day. Today I get to interview Brianna Wiest, who is one of my favorite Authors and Journalists tell some of our listeners where they can find your content, which is really, really deep amazing stuff.

Brianna Wiest Oh, thank you so much. So I write for, quite a few different places. So the best thing to do would be to go to my website, which is BriannaWiest.com, and you can hit subscribe and then you’ll get emails of kind of the selected best new articles that come out, or can follow me on instagram, because I have new words posted there every day. But if you want to look for full length articles, you could go to places like Forbes or Medium or anything like that.

Amy Riordan So you can also find Brianna’s link to her website below. I’ll also be linking some of her, some of her awesome content, probably from Forbes, cause that’s my favorite right now. Brianna’s here actually to talk to us about How To Set Goals That Stick. Maybe give us an overview of how how you get your goals to stick.

Brianna Wiest Mm. Such a great topic too. First of all, you have to do something called; I don’t know if you’ve discussed this before, but the reverse engineering. Which is basically, you get really crystal clear with the end result you want or needed to be in your thinking big picture, and then we break it down from there. So ok, in three years, this is what I wanna have done. What would that mean I need to do each year, each month, each week, each day? And that’s how you build up to that. But deciding what you want those goals to be; a lot of people say to you, oh, my gosh, I get this all the time. You know, ‘I don’t know what I want. I don’t know what I want, you know, I don’t even know what what I had to change my life for what to go for.’ And the thing that I always say is, start with the opposite of your fear, start with the opposite of your pain and start with the opposite of your problems. That’s what you want. The opposite of the thing you are most terrified of, that’s what you want. So if you are, you know, absolutely terrified of, I don’t know, for example, losing a job or, you know, financial instability. Your goal needs to be financial health and security. That’s what you want. So if you’re having a hard time figuring out, you know, where your path is leading and you don’t feel inspired or motivated, you don’t need to. Start with what you know you don’t want, because it’s the opposite of that. So then once you get it, I think a clear picture of just a few things that you want to create in your life. I think you also need to look at yourself.. I have this venn diagram in my journal where it’s like, ‘What are my interests? What are my skills? And where is there a market gap? How can I combine those things to create something useful for other people or to monetize it?’ Because I really do think that what we’re here to do.. I don’t think it’s like this complex formula that we need. It’s like, encoded… I don’t think it’s like that at all. I think it’s just very simply a mixture of what we’re interested in and what we’re really, really good at. And so I think that, in a lot of cases, your purpose is kind of right in front of you. It’s kind of right in front of your eyes, and I think that when a lot of people come to the realization of who they are and what they want to do, they more find. They’re like, oh, that was kind of right there all along – like all the pieces came together. That makes perfect sense. I’ve said that forever. I’ve loved this thing forever or I thought that was interesting my whole life. And then it kind of all comes together, and it’s not a coincidence. And sticking to your goals, then, is a matter of rigorous discipline and, you know, in so much content that’s motivational. People are like, ‘Never give up, no matter what.’ And it’s not even the best advice, because, I would say in my life I’ve had to give up on so much more than I had to stick with my hot to, like, put my pride aside and have the humility to say “That’s not working.” Okay, let it go because there’s something else that that is going to work. Um, and it’s even in, like my career, which is, you know, been consistent for many, many years now, you know, even you know. Okay, well, how is my writing going to reach people or you know who my working for now? And that’s shifted so much until I started to really find my flow. And even though my my intent in my goals that stayed the same, it’s the how – it’s how – I knew the what. It’s the how that I had to be open, you know, to working with and and being open to other possibilities, cause there’s first of all often alot of opportunities out there that are better than you would even think to ask for and I think that a lot of people, really hold steady to ambitions and hopes and dreams and plans that they had when they were young, before they even really knew who they were. So you create this image of your life, these goals you want to achieve, and it’s for a person you no longer are. You’ve outgrown them, and you have to have the courage to let that go. So let go of the childhood dreams and to design a life for the person who you are now not who you were 15 years ago. And if that means, you know, breaking your heart a little bit to do with its OK, there’s a grief process. There’s a letting go process. There is a, ‘You know what? That’s not right for me. And if I can see myself for who I am now, when I have to offer the world now, would be so much more successful and so much more happy.’ I’ve talked for a really long time.  

Amy Riordan Oh, no, you’re fine. I love that I’m just here to listen. I love that you talk about reverse engineering because that’s so important. That’s not something that has been a topic with the podcast so far. But I think that that’s huge because a lot of people think they need a plan before they have the end goal, which seems backwards in itself. But I really, really love the brought that up. I want to go a little bit deeper with discipline, so you set a goal you’re passionate about. That helps a lot, obviously. But, how do you keep yourself disciplined when it comes to your goals?

Brianna Wiest Yeah, So first of all, I think that you need to care about it enough, because I see this happens so often where it’s like if you don’t care about it enough, there’s nothing intrinsically motivating about it to you. You’re not going to stick with it. And that also plays into the – be willing to let go and come up with something that’s more aligned for you because it should stoke a fire in you, you know what I mean. The idea of having that end goal or potentially not having that end goal should make you think… ‘If I get to the end of my life and realize I never did this, I will be able to be at peace,’ and that’s what you need to be thinking. Like, ‘If I get to the end of this whole thing and didn’t do this and didn’t show up and didn’t do this work. Am I gonna be OK with myself?’ If the answer is ‘Yeah, You know what I am. I don’t I don’t need to do that. I’m gonna be OK.’ – OK, great. Then you have your answer. If the answer is no, ‘I’ll regret it forever.’ Then you need to let that wake you up. It’s kind of really been recently that I have been trying to articulate this correctly, too, that I’ve become more harsh. And I guess that’s even the wrong word. Um, but harder on myself, but in a positive way. And so for years I was always kind of like, ‘Well, like, follow your emotions, if you don’t feel like it, it’s not right.’ And I now see for the people who, like we truly MAKIE IT. And I’m not even talking about, like, you know worldly measures of success. I mean, people who are living their like deep, authentic truths, like living like VERY happy lives, like soulmate relationships, traveling nonstop, I’m talking about like they’re living exactly the way they want. Like there is no room for excuses. Like, your life is not measured by your excuses. It doesn’t matter why you don’t feel like it or you can’t or whatever, you have to show up anyway. – I guess I could use my own life as an example. When I wake up in the morning, I start writing and I write, I mean, many articles a day. I’m obviously always working on books or whatever else I’m doing, like it’s non negotiable. It is NON NEGOTIABLE. There is no time for I don’t feel like it. When you start, you’ll start feeling like it. You know, Mel Robbins says this too like, ‘f you wait to feel like it, you’ll be waiting forever.’ And more importantly, just because you don’t feel like it doesn’t mean you’re not capable. It just means you don’t feel like it. The skill, the talent, the ability, it’s still in you. You CAN still do it. You just don’t FEEL like doing it. So it’s at that point in time that you need to start parenting yourself. You just start thinking like you are your own child and you’re thinking to yourself, ‘Okay, I understand you don’t feel like doing this, but is it absolutely essential to our, you know, health, well being or livelihood, that we do this thing?’ And if the answer is yes, then you need to sit down and do that thing. And I will say this; It’s hardest at the beginning. It is hardest at the beginning. Seven years ago, writing five articles a day was… I couldn’t do it. Now, like it’s – it’s done in two hours. Like, I blink, and it’s done and I’m onto the next thing. And that’s years and years and years of practice. But it’s it really gets easier over time. And I don’t really think about it at all anymore. But the beginning I had to – At the beginning I had to be like, ‘Hey, do you care enough about this to, you know, keep working at it?’ But now it just kind of happens because I’ve basically retrained my brain, reinstated my comfort zone. I feel uncomfortable when I’m not doing this work. At the end of vacation, like alright, I’m ready to go back, I miss it from. And on Sunday, like I’m excited. I’m like, Ok I can’t wait to, like, pick it up in the morning. And you get to that point after just kind of training yourself to get used to it.

Amy Riordan That’s amazing, cause that really shows that you love what you do and I think that shows through your work though too. If you you guys haven’t read anything by Brianna, you definitely need to. One of the things you brought up is you need to be a parent of yourself. And I love that you said that too, because I read this. Actually, I don’t even know what it was, I’m trying to remember if it was a video or something I read. But they just said it’s you versus you. It’s not you versus your husband who’s trying to get you out of bed to workout. It’s not you versus your boss. It’s like you versus you. When people set goals, they need to be careful because they need to set the goals for themselves. And I kind of was hoping you touch a little bit more on that a bit.

Brianna Wiest Oh, God, Yeah, well, and it goes back to, you know, we had these ideas we wanted about our lives when we were young, even. Oh, my gosh. In high school; college. Even then. You know, you think you know what you want. And and part of that is really just things you kind of adopt from people around you or just your peers, or, you know, what you hear is so that would be success or that would make me feel good or other people would love if I did that or you know, other people seem to think that’s a really cool thing to do. And you just kind of unconsciously start like adopting other people’s ideas of success for your life. And then you have to let that all go because people get really attached to – they like the title of the job, they don’t like the work of the job. They like the elevator pitch, which is ‘Oh, this is what I do.’ But they don’t like the day to day grind of it. You know I, oh gosh I see this with writers all the time, they are like, they like the idea of being a writer. But when it comes down to sitting down every day and writing thousands of words, they don’t want anything to do with it because it’s not like super fun. It’s a job, like anything else. I mean, I think it’s fun but it’s still work, you know, it’s definitely – it’s definitely work. And you have to be really daring and bold and be willing to say, ‘This is truly how I want to live each day and whether other people understand that measure of success or not, it doesn’t matter.’ And the thing is, is that when you hold true to that, and you stay with it and you’re consistent, the people in your life will start to see. – You’ll start to see. My mom has been saying for – my gosh, seven years. – She’s like, ‘My daughter is doing what she was born to do. She’s doing what she was born to do. I’m absolutely sure. And she’s, you know, my mom, my family and friends have been so proud and supportive, but, you know, they joke. When I first started out, they were like, ‘Oh my gosh, like she’s,  she wants to become a writer, like, you know, is this ever gonna work out?’ You know. But I’m like, I’m like, yeah, just wait. We’re gonna make it. But then, you kind of just show them over time and just show people, show the people in your life like, you know, I love this. This is is what I’m here to do. This is the best thing I can offer to the world. This is how I can, you know, build a career. I love and support my family and myself. And yeah, you have to do it for you. And you have to change for you and you have to pick goals for you. And in another sense, you also can’t decide what’s right for another person’s life and you can’t make them change if they don’t want to. You know, I really do believe. People say, ‘People never change.’ That’s not true. People do change. I’ve changed radically in my life. So I know, for a fact, that people are capable of profound change, but not unless they want to. And when someone’s in a relationship, let’s say, their boyfriend or whoever else is, you know, kind of stuck in these really, you know, bad habits. And they’re like, ‘Well, are they ever going to change?’ My question is always, ‘Do they want to change?’ If they want to change, then yes, it’s much more possible. Not a guarantee, but much, much, much more likely. If they don’t want to change, if they’re happy with where they’re at, they’re not going to, and nothing you can say or do is gonna make it happen. We can inspire each other. We could encourage each other. We can support each other. We can walk with each other. We can show each other the way. We can’t fix each other, save each other; We can’t force each other to rise up to our potential. We have to. – It’s You and You. You come into this life alone, you’re gonna leave this life alone and the big mountains of your life, you have to climb alone. Even if the people you love her right by you, it’s still yours to do, it’s still on you.

Amy Riordan I’ve seen this in myself and I’ve seen this in other people. I can definitely see what you’re saying. Let’s talk a little bit about changing your mind because – not only with people who set goals for others on accident, but also for goals they set themselves. There’s a negative stigma behind changing your mind, especially when you’ve done it a lot. I mean, and I guess a lot of it stems down to like people feeling like they have wasted their time or worrying that other people think they’re wasting their time. How do you feel when it comes to changing your mind?

Brianna Wiest So changing your mind, the sense that you had a goal but you realized it wasn’t right for used you’re letting it go and trying again. That kind of thing?

Amy Riordan Yeah.

Brianna Wiest Well, there. I think there are two ways that this happens. There’s something that I call uprooting, which is a self sabotage cycle where you’re not comfortable with blossoming, but you’re comfortable with sprouting, which is a metaphor to say that you’re kind of addicted to that sense of a fresh clean start. And you really don’t have healthy or effective coping mechanisms for stressful situations or conflict resolution or anything like that. So you get started at something, you’re in a new cities or a new job, and then consistently, again and again and again, you can’t, you know, you take your roots down and stay there long term. That’s a problem. That’s a problem, because if it’s not situational and it becomes chronic; a pattern, that usually means there’s something going on where you’re having a resistance or an issue with attaching and really getting into your life because you cannot just keep uprooting again and again and again and again, you were going to get nothing done. Your whole life is just gonna be about changing logistics and moving and getting used to, you know, the new job or work or whatever it is and never staying through the hard part. Everyone is happy at the beginnings. It’s all fresh and new and interesting. Yeah, right exactly. Of course, everyone is that way. But the people that can make it are the people who stay when it’s tough and learn those coping mechanisms. Okay, so with all of that said, with all the with the uprooting pattern aside, when it comes to changing your mind, you have to put your pride aside and accept that it is far worse to hold something that you don’t really want to do because you’re afraid of other people are gonna think that you quote unquote ‘failed’ – that is not it. It is so much worse if you stick with something, you know, for a lot longer than you know you want to be in it because your pride is in the way. And if you explain to people, I have found, if you’re just honest, say, you know, I really tried. It’s not for me, but I want to try something else. No one is going to judge you. They’re like, ‘Oh, wow. Yeah, that’s happened to me too. Proud of you.’ Like, you know, I mean it’s all in our heads, that fear of the judgment because people really don’t – people are like a lot more understanding about that then I think the like, you know, give credit for. And then the last thing I want to say about changing your mind is also, so when we’re in the work of our lives and so I mean, really, all of our inner growth is about changing the way that we think. And the best way to open yourself up If you’re really having a hard time, if you have had a problem in your life again and again and again; you’re always coming up on this resistance. Whatever it is, it’s a chronic issue for you – The thing that you have to start with is, ‘I am willing to see this change.’ Not it has to change, or it will change by this date. Not this is how I’m gonna change it, or this is what’s gonna be like, when I’m there. That’s way too far up the ladder for us. We got to start on step one, which is, ‘I am willing to see this change.’ And when you look at the biggest problem you have ever had in your life, the reason it’s a problem is because you’re completely closed to a solution or growth or healing. So if the only thing you can muster is, ‘I’m willing to see this change.’ What actually happens is, the situation kind of dislodges from the energy that it’s in, and it starts to change itself and that momentum starts building. And then you see, like a miraculous change. But it has to, you have to start with the willingness. ‘I’m willing to see the change. I’m willing to see my financial life change. I am willing to make more money than ever made before or ever thought I could. I’m willing to see myself be healthier than I ever thought it could be.’ Because a lot of time people get a lot of resistance to being like, ‘Well, I am going to be healthy and in shape.’ And when you’re starting in a place where you feel so bad about yourself, it’s really hard to make that jump and that jump – anything from total self hate and doubt to like, complete self love and belief. It’s such a far jump, you actually end up kind of getting angry on almost reinforcing the negativity because it’s so impossible to achieve, that you almost just get frustrated with yourself and you’re like, ‘No, I knew I couldn’t do this, this is why I never try.’ Right? It’s because you’re trying to do a leap that’s way too huge. We cannot go from our lives are a mess to our lives are totally healed. We’ve got to take the one tiny step of the ladder next, which is what? What can we change right now? What can we master today? What can we master, in the next hour. What can I do perfectly in the next hour. Can I do this on thing? Can I write – like, for example, can I write one article perfectly? Just one. Can I just do that? Just one today? That’s it. Can I show up into one workout at my full capacity? Just one. Just one workout at a time. ‘Am I willing to see this change?’ And then it really does kind of sprout from there and just evolve with you naturally.

Amy Riordan I completely agree. And I love what you said about Uprooting. That was an eye opener for me, thank you. Like kind of a sub topic from what we’re speaking on today, but I think that that’s like – I’d definitely say that that has been a struggle with me for this podcast, for sure. One of the things you talked about, actually in an article back in January, is that super successful people have one thing in common. They do not take roadblocks as finalities. So I kind of was hoping you could expand on that, too, because I feel like that’s a lot of what will make your goal stick.

Brianna Wiest Yes. So, one of my best best friends. She is young and she’s a really, really successful business owner. She owns a really gorgeous salon in the city where we live and her business has just exploded over the past few years and, you know, she’s one of the best friends so I see her all the time and I’ve watched her and I’ve learned from her and the thing that I would always notice – at the beginning, you know, she was like, I didn’t know how to do anything. I didn’t know how to do payroll. I didn’t know how to, you know, rent a business. I didn’t – just all of these, you know, things – she had to get licensing just everything, you know, hire people. She had never done it before, and every time she came up with this challenge, she would never be like, ‘Well, I don’t know how to do that. I can’t do that.’ She’d be like, ‘Okay, let’s figure this out.’ She was She is the most intense problem solver I’ve ever met in my life and she never takes, like, a challenge or anything as, Well that’s why I can’t do it.’ – She’s like, ‘Okay, well, other people learn, so I can too.’ And I’ve seen what that’s done for her life. So I’ve tried to adopt that mindset to And then, you know, just interviewing people for different stories or just really knowing very successful people. I realized they are committed 100% to the what.  – The what is,  ‘I’m going to have a thriving business. The what is, ‘I’m going to do what I love for the rest of my life’. Their what is consistent; it’s the how that they’re very open to. How are we gonna get there? Okay, I’m willing to have other people put their input in, re-strategize, regroup, try again, whatever it is. You know? Something that I think gives people anxiety in their early twenties, I know that certainly did for me, is this kind of – the fear of the fall from grace, which is, ‘Ok everything is going well, but what if I lose everything? And what if all of this work goes away and you know, all this stuff? And the thing that truly healed me from that was remembering that I’m investing every day and myself and if I lost all of this tomorrow, I could rebuild it because the skills are in me. And my faith isn’t in one job, or one business, or one person. My faith is in me. You know what I mean? You lose one relationship, you can build another. You lose one business, you can build another, because you have the skills to do that. And then you stop putting an unhealthy attachment. You know what I mean? On you know, W’ill this one job you there for me forever?’ It’s okay if it isn’t, because what you are learning and you’re taking into your life, you’re gonna keep building. You are gonna get to your destination no matter what road you have to take to get there. It’s like a road trip, like right, well, there’s literally construction on this road, and we can’t go that way. It’s like, Alright, well then you turn around and go home? No, you just find another road.  

Amy Riordan Exactly. It’s perfect.  

Brianna Wiest It’s a simple metaphor, but they’re always most effective.  

Amy Riordan Yeah, and I think a lot of it comes down, and this kind of puts this full circle, to once you start working toward something you love and you’ve worked toward it for several years – Just like you, with your writing –  I mean, they say practice makes perfect, but I think it’s more you’re building a confidence over time. And if you’re confident in your writing itself, you don’t have to be worried about the next job.

Brianna Wiest Right. Yeah, exactly.

Amy Riordan So we don’t have a lot of time left, but I did want to ask just really quick. What is next for Brianna? What’s next for you?

Brianna Wiest Oh, I have a book coming out next year, which I’m really excited about, and it’s my favorite thing I’ve ever done. Been working on it forever. It’s a book about self sabotage, and I am so incredibly excited, I think my best book ever. I think it’s my my best work ever. It’s the best things I’ve learned. It’s just all compiled in one. So that’s the next big thing.

Amy Riordan Well, that’s exciting. Well, thank you so much for for being with us today. I was really, really, really excited to talk to you. Thank you for helping us learn how to set goals that stick. I think the listeners are really gonna love this topic. And I hope that I get to talk to you again soon.

Brianna Wiest Yeah, same. Thank you so much. You’re so, so lovely.

Amy Riordan Thank you, Brianna. Have a good day!

Brianna Wiest You too.  

Amy Riordan Amy Riordan is a weekly podcast, brought to you by me, Amy Riordan. Love this podcast? Leave me a review and share it with friends. You can also find me on social media. Subscribe to this podcast for all new episode notifications. With questions, topic requests or interviewee nominations, visit AmyRiordan.com. Curious about specific content mentioned in each episode? Those details are linked below.

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