“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.” – Bruce Lee
It’s that time of year again. The time when everyone is working on some goal or other for the year. Weight loss, giving up vices, getting more exercise, being more involved in the community, the goals are as varied as the people trying to reach them. The common thread being, making a positive change in your life.
The focus is on the things you need to do to make that change happen. There is an ultimate goal set, and we set forth determined to accomplish it. In theory, wonderful plan. In reality…if it were as easy as saying I want to do that, you’d have done it already! So how do we turn a resolution into the actual lifestyle change we are looking for?
The first, and likely most important step, is also the one we are most likely to skip. Honest assessment. How did you get here? The pounds, the bad habit, none of that appeared overnight. SO, how did that happen? (Hint, you were definitely involved!) Why do you smoke/eat/drink/watch too much tv? How has that been serving you? Is it a crutch or just something you do because you’ve gotten used to doing it? The latter requires simple retraining, the former, a whole lot more honest assessment and work. Crutches can’t just be set aside. You will only reach for another when you wobble again. (Ask me how I know.) So be real with yourself. Don’t kick yourself (too much) for the choices that got you here, but be honest with yourself about what they were. They WILL be popping up to derail your goal. Knowing them ahead of time will help you make a plan to dodge them when they do.
Step two, get support!! Confession, I SUCK at this. Reaching out for assistance requires two things I am not great at, admitting I need help and inviting someone in to see my mess. Not at all in my comfort zone. I am private and independent. I have learned that I also need help. No matter what you are trying to accomplish, someone has experience you can benefit from. Experience you will never benefit from if you don’t ask. They have answers you need, advice that can serve you and, perhaps most important of all, the kind of understanding only experience can bring. So, reach out. Find the kind of support that fits you. You will be so much more successful if you do.
The next step is setting REALISTIC goals. I understand that you want to loose 100lbs, run a marathon, and 1000 other big goals. Big goals are great. But they sure do feel hard to reach! Break them down into smaller parts. Set mini goals. Walk before you run (seriously! Your muscles will thank you!). Making them into small bits, helps you track progress AND feel like you are getting somewhere. Humans need to see the reward to keep doing hard work. Set yourself up with chances to celebrate the journey.
Speaking of rewards, I wholeheartedly believe that the goal you are reaching for is it’s own reward. I also know, the more rewarding something is, the harder we will work for it! So, when you set those mini goals, plan some rewards for hitting them. Treat yourself for being so awesome! But, proceed with caution. If the reward for eating clean all week is a giant binge of garbage food…the reward may ultimately do more harm than good. Choose rewards that help you celebrate your awesomeness without dragging you off the wagon you’ve been working so very hard to stay aboard!
The final and perhaps most important step for successfully crushing any goal, more honest assessment. Setting regular times to check in with yourself and compare where you are today vs where you were when you started can help keep the inspiration going. What have you done great at? Where are you stumbling? Can you see that goal getting closer? How about those mini goals? Remember, this is a journey and a learning experience. It might look nothing like you thought it would. You might have to recalculate the route a few times to get to the destination. But, you can definitely get there, one little step at a time.