Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Are goals like New Year's resolutions?

We have great intentions but often a goal or resolution is only a concept with no plan. Sometimes it is a goal that is so large it is overwhelming or unrealistic.

I had a goal to run every day this summer. I had no plan. I had no thinking around how to mitigate the risk of bad weather, achy tummies or working long hours. I was absolutely determined to run every day and that's as far as I got because it seemed like a reasonable, attainable goal with a few missed days notwithstanding.

At the end of each week, I reasserted my desire to run every day.

Here's what I should have done:
·         Decided what my minimum standard of running would be vs. declaring EVERY day a running day
·         Looked at possible risks/impediments and figured out mitigations
·         Evaluated at the end of each week if I met/exceeded my minimum steps towards my ultimate goal of a daily run

It's the same for all goals. I may say I'm going to clean my whole house this weekend but we all know that's not possible. What needs to be cleaned this weekend? How will I know I've achieved the minimum? How will I plan to eventually sweep through the whole house? What stands in my way of getting the house clean?

And – perhaps most importantly – how will I celebrate the steps I took along the way towards the bigger goal?

I think we love New Year's resolutions because we have a party at which we're celebrating our resolve.
Maybe it's time to add the celebrations at the week or month mark of the steps towards those big goals & intentions. Maybe it would motivate us to stay on track? To plan and evaluate better in order to reward ourselves along the way?

I know I'm running four days a week and I'm seeing improvements. I have a long-term goal but I'm very pleased with my progress and the steps along the way. I wish I'd approached some other goals the same way…

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