Goals. We’d love to have them and love to say we reached them. Yet goals can be very evasive and intimidating if we don’t fully understand and appreciate the reason for them.
The first day of school. We all know its coming, yet when it does we are always surprised and a little stunned. We realize that, we too, are procrastinators and in denial of the inevitable as that day draws nearer. Because who really is totally prepared for this fateful day at the end of summer? Those three words alone, “back to school,” bring us back to the reality of hectic schedules, homework, after school activities, late nights, projects, and exams. The thought of all this, after the relative calm of summer, is enough to send us in a tailspin. But the good news is that we are in control of all this, even if we don’t necessarily believe that we are. It all rests in one word – goals.
There’s a saying you’ve probably heard before – “Failure to plan is planning to fail” by Benjamin Franklin. No truer words can be said during this time of year. For it’s a failure to plan that causes us the most angst as we reenter reality in the fall. But knowing this and doing something about it are two totally different things. This post is on doing something about it using goals, but adding a healthy dose of reality as well.
Essentially it boils down to taking key steps each day towards a specific goal like:
- Running a 5k.
- Losing 10 pounds.
- Detoxing your body.
- Lowering your blood sugar.
- Getting off all prescription medications.
Identifying your goal is only the first step though. An action plan with a timeline is also necessary. Without either of those pieces the goal can never be attained because frustration builds, motivation is lost, and the status quo is accepted once again. This is the failure to plan that Benjamin Franklin was referring to.
Planning for success takes careful thought and consideration. It takes effort to determine your limitations and other responsibilities. Working within your own personal framework will help guarantee success because obstacles to the goal are eliminated from the beginning. For example, if you are a social person, working out alone may not be the best action plan for you. You may get lonely, uninspired, and give up. Looking for a class that interests you may be a better option.
Another helpful tip is to be realistic about your goal. It’s incredibly easy to over-commit ourselves and then under-deliver. It only makes us feel like we failed. Take the fable about the tortoise and the hare. The over-achiever fails. The steady and realistic opponent succeeds. Honor who you are and what you are capable of, especially in the beginning. Your next goal can aim a little higher!
Celebrate your successes, big or small, and share them with others. Success can be contagious. You could also inspire someone else. Now who’s ready set some realistic goals?