Having a goal to aim for can be one of the most motivating things to keep you going during the good and bad times. How many of us have made a New Year’s resolution only to give up a week later?
I was speaking to a person this past week that was so excited about what they were trying to achieve. As the conversation progressed I watched as their shoulders slumped forward as they despondently recounted that they didn’t expected to have to do so much work.
The first thing that goals don’t do is the work. If you expect that once you’ve set a goal that everything will just magically happen then you’re going to be in for a surprise.
Roselyn and I have had a goal to go away for our thirtieth anniversary. If we didn’t book the plane tickets, accommodation and work out some semblance of an itinerary then I can guarantee it isn’t going to be much fun. It’s taken a lot of time and effort to do these things…..and in our case, it’s for something fun!
If you’re constantly hitting your goals, then challenge yourself to dream bigger. Make your goals big and audacious! The whole point of a goal is to stretch you and inspire you to move into places where you haven’t been before. Having a goal is not the end game, it’s the start of a journey so make it a worthwhile journey.
Roselyn and I have a dream of completing the Milford Sound walking track. It’s a five-day hike through the mountains of southern New Zealand (think Lord of the Rings) and it’s a fairly challenging trek. Due to other commitments, we can’t do the hike for just under two years. Despite this, we’re already training and focusing on our overall fitness.
Having our goal doesn’t take away the pain of hunger from a sensible diet nor does it take away aching muscles after a weekend’s walk. What it does do is keep us centered on why we are doing what we are doing and along the way we feel a lot better ?
Goals don’t inspire you if you don’t feed them. Every time we go walking, put on our hiking boots or pick up some new equipment from a hiking store we are reaffirming our goal and getting a little excited. Sitting on a side table in our family room is a photographic book of the Milford Sound trek and every now and then we pick it up to feed our goal.
Be honest with yourself and manipulate your own emotions (yes, I said manipulate) by feeding your goals. Talk about them with friends (not too much) and have things lying around that remind you why you’re on the journey. If you don’t do these things, then your goal will die and you will wonder why you’re looking at a documentary of someone doing a hike rather than experiencing it yourself.
Many people believe that goals should be inspirational and yet they feel burdened by them. How many times have you said that you’ll lose an amount of weight and it never happened? You end up using your goal as a whip to chastise yourself after you eat yet another cream puff. For me, these types of goals are really bad…..I just start to feel crushed by them.
Rather than talking about losing weight, have a goal of the type of lifestyle you would like to achieve. For example, it could be that you want to run around the backyard with your kids without puffing and panting. Now ask yourself, what needs to happen to achieve this goal? Losing weight is boring but playing with the kids is awesome!
As you may have guessed, I’m not a big fan of diets. The problem I see with them is people go on and off them and their weight goes up and down like a yoyo. Rather than going on a diet, quite some time ago I decided to make a lifestyle change for the better.
When I turned fifty it suddenly dawned on me that if I kept abusing my body the way I was with no exercise, bad diet and working crazy hours then I wouldn’t be around for Roselyn much longer. My first journey was to my doctor to get a physical to ensure there wasn’t any problems. The next was regular exercise and a complete dietary change.
Does it mean I don’t eat chocolate or anything like that? Not at all…..but I look on it as a special treat rather than a nightly munch. I’m well on my journey and my goal is not to lose weight (although that is nice) but as I said before, to trek the Milford Sound hike with Roselyn. We also have a lot more adventures lined up.
My goal would be meaningless unless I did something about it…..it’s also good to add a little spice every now and then on the journey. In my case, in a few minutes we’re off to the local hiking store to check out some gear.
So remember what goals do and in many respects that they don’t do.
Have a great weekend.