Are you goal setting this year? Notice I didn’t ask if you’re making New Year’s Resolutions. I hope you’re goal setting. Really though, I hope you’re goal getting.
Every year since 2000 I’ve led a Best Year coaching workshop either in person or online for my coaching clients, staff members, and I’ve done it myself. I think goal setting is powerful, as long as you create the plan to get the goals you set. It isn’t that goals create motivation. The plan to reach the goals creates commitment.
Goal Setting vs. Commitment
If you attended college and completed a degree in the major of your choice it took some commitment. It did for me at least. I had to be really committed those semesters I took chemistry, physics, and statistics. My very first semester as a then graphic design major, I thought Art History would kill me. Thankfully, 5 other girls on my dorm floor were taking it at the same time. I got a tutor for physics and statistics.
Reflecting on that makes me wonder why we think it should be different as adults. But we seem to think it should be easy to change or do something new, by ourselves, without any support. I had a tutor for statistics and for physics! I’ve finally asked for help in these last three and a half years more times than I have in my entire adult life. Trauma will do that. It’s hard to ask for help, potentially the hardest thing ever. Give it? Sure, in a heartbeat. But asking for help, whether because of pride or ego or some other reason is so hard for so many of us.
Many of us avoid goal setting, making New Year’s Resolutions, or starting programs. We avoid starting. Even if we know the thing we would start will be a valuable step we don’t do it. I just read an email from a business community friend that nailed it. There may be joy in procrastination he said.
When we are teetering on the top of potential choices we are filled with hope and optimism. If we set a narrow focus on a goal we allow ourselves to be judged or graded by our progress. Our harshest judge, of course, is ourself.
Procrastination allows the myth of perfectionism to persist. Under every perfectionist is a tough inner critic. Without starting you have a safety net. You can’t fail if you don’t have a goal and a plan. You can live in Excuseville.
Not long ago at the request of several readers I posted a typical day of work/activity/nutrition. A comment came from a reader that suggested what I’d posted was a schedule for the wealthy. After I picked myself up from LMAO, I responded that reality was I had been as close to broke in the last 4 years as anyone gets and laid it all on the line to start over. Working for yourself is not a 8-5 job with kids (I’ve been there… and that’s a cake walk by comparison). But even before I wrote I knew whatever I wrote would not matter.
Goal Setting Avoidance
If you believe that you can’t you will be absolutely right. The human nature is to make ourselves right. If you believe because you have a job and a commute, a household, a family and they get in the way of you living your best healthy life, you will do everything in your power to make that right. It’s a safe place to be. It’s not a very happy place though, is it?
What you think becomes your reality.
My friend, Dean Jackson, who sent me the email that got me thinking about this mentioned his resistance to scheduling appointments. I laughed when I read it, because I think we’re all there. We’re so over scheduled that we love our freedom to choose to do what we want when we want. We have this fear of missing out (FOMO).
I suggest that if you’re hopping around from information channel to information channel, from one fitness expert to another that you too have a FOMO. You won’t commit to one because you might miss the next – better – thing. It’s the tortoise and hare. While the hare is looking for shortcuts and quick fixes, the tortoise is moving ever slowly but steadily to the goal.
We resist scheduling things now. When we resist though we throw away chances that tomorrow or next year will be better. Your future depends on the choices you make now. If you want to be a knockout in sleeveless tops or shorts next summer, your actions today and tomorrow all month matter. There are two questions that Dean asks so he can avoid staying right where he is now:
What would you like to do tomorrow?
If not now, when?
What would YOU like to do tomorrow?
You see this next question coming, right? What do you want to do today, then to make that happen?
If you have a vision (or a vision board like I create annually) it doesn’t really matter until you have a plan to make that vision real. Be specific with what you want. Be more specific with how you’re going to get there. Goal setting has to be specific. It’s not:
- I’m going to exercise more this year.
- I’m going to get up every day and exercise before work this year.
- I’m going to eat better.
- I’m going to bed earlier.
It’s statements like this:
- I’m going to do two interval training sessions, two strength training sessions, and a long slow exercise day every week. Monday through Thursday mornings at 7am and Saturday morning 9-11am.
- I’m going to get up at 6am, and exercise at 7am Monday through Thursday, and use Friday as a make up day in case I have to travel or something comes up.
- I’m going to test my personal “healthy” foods and get 3-5 simple sane recipes to rotate featuring those foods this month.
- I’m going to start going to be 30 minutes earlier than I usually do. I’ll start preparing for bed an hour before that.
You would even deep dive further with any of these. Here’s an example of the first bullet above:
- I’m going to learn what type of weight training exercises and routine are best for me to reach my goal of losing fat weight and getting more toned in my 50’s/60’s.
- I’m going to take a course/get a coach/find a program I can do at home/at the gym.
- I’ll search for programs this weekend, register and I’ll start a program next week.
If not now, when?
This question has been a catalyst for my starting so many things. I began doing triathlons when I was 40 because those “0” birthdays can move a bucket list item to a to-do list fast. I knew it wasn’t going to get easier later. When I was bike shopping and looking at a triathlon bike vs. a road bike there was logic and then there was, “if not now, when” and I’ve never regretted getting the tri bike. This month in fact I upgraded to a new tri bike.
This question is how I quit two jobs I loved, moved two states away, started pursuing my own business full time instead of half-heartedly pretending it was anything more than a hobby. It’s how daily I get up at 4am and get SD.
But that’s me.
And this is about you.
In this past week on live Facebook broadcasts inside private groups and on the Flipping50TV page I’ve heard a resounding message echoed.
…I need commitment.
I so need to do this.
How can I stay motivated?
It’s not motivation. It’s commitment. To get that degree, to have that job, to stay in that job, there are always parts of it you don’t love. And you’re not going to love getting out of bed early every day. You’re going to resist it because the rest of your day is full of things you have to do, places you have to be (another meeting, anyone?), and times you have to be there. It’s true.
Do it anyway.
I don’t agree or endorse a large percent of social media memes and messages. But one that I do agree with is… “said no one ever” following “hated my workout, wished I never have done that.” Seriously, as much as you might dislike exercise, or just the getting out from under those warm covers, no one ever regrets a workout. It might have been hard or light but… done and keeping your promise (your commitment) to yourself is such a rush you’ll feel good all day because of it.
A woman with a goal is a powerful thing. A goal that lights you up and makes you spontaneously smile changes you. Even when you want to procrastinate. There is only short-lived joy in procrastination.
Cheers to your 2018! Every single day of it.