Day: January 6, 2011

Goals, Because Scoring Feels Good

So why do we have goals? How do we achieve them? Who really cares?

Let’s start with the easy stuff. There are a few reasons we have goals.

  • One, to have something to motivate and inspire us to push hard and better ourselves.
  • Two, to feel the feeling of achievement which also involves success. Warm and fuzzies, can’t beat that!
  • Three, to hold ourselves accountable, to keep us trucking down the right path.
  • Four, some of us just like making lists!

Now here comes the hard part, how do we achieve goals?

I feel like these simple rules apply to most goals. Maybe your goals include physical feats; 100 kb swings in under 1 minute, a muscle up, 10 strict pull-ups, lose 10lbs, run a marathon, etc. etc. Sometimes the goals are personal; get that boyfriend of yours to marry you in a year, buy a house, travel to Iceland (I hear it’s lovely this time of year), finally read The Odyssey. Perhaps they are work related; get a raise, be on time to work, not work through lunch every day, be nicer to the mail room guy, whatever. There are endless kinds and types of goals but there are some simple rules to follow if you want to be successful.

Here are some good tips to make you a super star:

  1. Make at least 3 short term goals that affect the long term. If your goal is to do 10 strict pull-ups making a short term goal of running 3 times a week is not really helping you achieve the big picture. Make sure the effort you are putting in helps you achieve the big end result. Make these three goals small and attainable. If you can only do 1 strict pull up now, probably not the best idea to make a short term goal of 5 in the next month. If your short term goals are too big to achieve in a months time, they are too big and will only result in failure, and failure early on is no good!
  2. Have mid term goals. These are important to check your status. To make sure that you have achieved the stepping stones and can move on. Hopefully if you are looking to lose 10lbs by this half way point (two months, three months, whatever the case may be) you only have 5 more to go. Again, these must be realistic and related to your end goal.
  3. Realistic time management. You can’t expect to be the boss over night (unless your name is Tony Danza); plan, make small steps, and make sure these are things that make you feel good, that you’ve really accomplished something. You can’t move too fast and it’s for certain that if you take too long to achieve these goals you’ll forget, get bored, come up with 5 other goals that sound better, or you’ll stop caring. That’s why the small check point goals along the way are awesome; they keep you working and achieving all the time. Insert, warm fuzzies.
  4. Figure out why. Why are these goals important for me, and how will I feel when I achieve them? The first thing is why, it’s important because you need to make sure you are doing them for you, and that they really mean something. I don’t want to run a marathon because my stupid skinny best friend does them all the time. I want to make sure that it means enough to me personally to stick with it to the end. These are MY goals, not my husbands, not my sister’s, not my children’s goals, they are mine. The reason why you need to think about what you’ll feel like when you get that end result is purely visualization. When your boss gives you a bump in salary how is that going to feel? What will that enable you to do? This helps give you extra incentive to stay the course.
  5. Why didn’t this work before? If you’ve had these goals for a while and still haven’t made any headway ask yourself why? Why did you fail to get to work on time for the last 3 years? What did you try and why did it fail? Not traveling down the same path is the key to success. Repeating stuff is easy, bad habits die hard. If it didn’t work before the way you were going about things what makes you think this time is different?
  6. Who are you going to tell? This one is hard for some people and some of the goals you may have. Do I really want everyone to know that I want to do an Ironman next summer? What if I don’t succeed or what if I decide I just can’t do it. It might be embarrassing or maybe my husband will be mad at me for buying extra swim lessons all for nothing. But then again…the more people you love and trust to tell the bigger the cheering section, the more motivation to accomplish. There is a limitation to this, I don’t really think the guy at the check stand cares that you are trying to fit into a size 4 by the summer. But if you can tell a few people that will support you, your husband, your brother, your co-worker (the one you like), your running partner the more people you will have to push you. The more people you will have to cheer you on and help you stay on the right path. But even more important, the more people you will have to celebrate with!

Simple, easy, make baby steps, feel good about yourself, do it for you, and achieve. Write it down, make a list, put it in your cube at work, tape it to your closet door, find someone else that cares enough to get you there and give them a copy. But whatever you do, write it down! Saving it up in your melon for safe keeping will not help you. You need that map, don’t pull a dad and think you know where you’re going only to get lost. Know where you are and where you want to be. You can do this, I am already so proud of you!