A day dreamer myself, I often ponder how I go from “dreaming” to actually “doing”. Upon setting a goal, I wonder how I will follow through with that goal when things inevitably get tough along the way. There is so much self-satisfaction in setting a goal you fear because you’ve never entered that territory before or you’re just not sure if you have what it takes – and then ACHIEVING that goal. You feel on top of the world, goal achieving god/goddess, am I right?
For some people, it’s just far too easy to give up on their goals when the reward seems too distant or too large or too small compared to the challenge of the journey. So how does one go about setting realistic goals and also reaching them?
Is your goal specific?
Perhaps you find yourself saying something like, “I want to be healthier”. That’s a pretty general statement. Compare that to, “I want to increase my vegetable consumption from three servings to six servings a day.” This is much more specific and clear.
Is your goal measureable?
Take the above example, “I want to be healthier”, does that seem like something that would be very measureable? Not so much; whereas it’s straight forward to measure three servings of vegetables a day versus six servings. Your goal will be easier to track the more measurable it is.
Is your goal within reason?
This is not to say you should be setting easy goals, where’s the triumph in that? Instead ask yourself, “If I stretch myself and really give it my all, is this something I could achieve?” For example, “I want to eat six servings of vegetables every day of the year.” Realistically, you may not be able to do this. But, “I want to eat six servings of vegetables at least three days a week”, is much more attainable.
Increase the Opportunity to Succeed
Time’s only an obstacle if you allow it to be.
Don’t ever allow time to bind your goals or your dreams. “I don’t have time” becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when you continue to reinforce it. Instead ask yourself, “How do I make time for this?” You’ll be amazed where you can find time in your busy schedule to work towards your goals when the drive and passion is great enough. Do you need to wake up an hour earlier every day? Give up an hour of TV? Utilize your lunch break? Get a little creative with your time.
Spread the news.
If you’re comfortable, telling other people about what you’re set out to achieve is one of the best ways to hold yourself accountable. This could be your fellow boot camp buddies (totally awesome, since they’ll be setting goals of their own as well!), your closest friend, family members, etc. Some feel even more accountable by utilizing a social media outlet like Facebook or Twitter, because it can make it more difficult to give up, seeing as numerous people will then be tuned into your progress. Whomever you choose to spread your goal-setting news to – they will be the people who motivate and lift you up during the more difficult days of your journey. And who knows, maybe you’ll be an inspiration for others as well 🙂
Focus on one day at a time.
This requires us to live in the present – which can be one of the most challenging things for our human minds to do. We are so prone to thinking two or three steps ahead at all times. The ultimate goal can seem overwhelming.
When I signed up for my first and thus far only, half marathon – I felt a bit in over my head. In the beginning of my training I was running 3 miles at a time. And by the end of that third mile, you can bet your bottom dollar I was tuckered out. It got me thinking…how am I ever going to run 3 more miles let alone an entire THIRTEEN!? Goodness gracious, I was sweating bullets. My nerves and self-doubt began to kick in. This caused me to really sit back and think. I decided to take on a new mind set and focus on the day by day of my goal-reaching journey.
Soon, 3 miles became 4, which quickly turned into 6, then 8, 10, and so on. You see where this is going 🙂
Come race day, I ran the whole 13 miles and finished in 1 hour and 40 minutes. This is by no means an earth shattering time, but it didn’t matter. I MADE IT. I didn’t give up. I chose to live in the present and in turn ended up conquering the future. I had achieved my goal.