Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Setting Goals



Are you a goal setter? I confess that I have never been one in the strictest sense. By that, I mean that although from time to time I have written lists of things I'd like to do in my life, it was more of a wish list. The main thing I never really have done is to put dates on my goals... until recently.

It all started this past January when, with my Christmas money I was able to get that fitness membership I'm so crazy about. I also got a good pair of running shoes from my sibs and mom, since the ones I'd had were not supporting my feet at all and were giving my knees terrible pain. When I got to Shapes, they took my measurements and weight, etc. and asked me what my goals were. I've always been pretty fit, but a few pounds had crept on over the last year and so I said that I wanted to increase my endurance, lose maybe 8 to 10 pounds, change some of that fat to muscle, and tone up. I also wanted to be able to strengthen my legs with the hope that I could run again.

I began working on that and I really began feeling changes right away! I know not everyone is in this camp with me, but I do love to work out! I just don't really like always working out alone, so the company really keeps me motivated. But generally, I love the way I feel afterwards and it really balances me.

Without thinking too much about it, I started setting other goals: wear a bikini by spring break (hadn't done that in about 5 years and had pretty much shelved that idea), run a mile, up my level on the eliptical, do that for 25 minutes... then 30, then 3 miles on it instead of 2.5... then 2 miles outside instead of one. Do the "crane" pose in yoga, balance on my right foot through all the one-foot balance moves as well as I can do on my left (did you even know you could strengthen your ankles?!?!), do the splits again like I did when I was on danceline in high school.

And you know what is so cool? I've done ALL of these things so far. Applying these little, weekly goals to my fitness started to flow over into other areas of my life. Maybe all these little, fitness baby steps were a metaphor for other things. Maybe I could apply these little, baby steps to, say, this idea I'd had simmering in the back of my mind for over a year now... Maybe I didn't have to achieve everything in one fell swoop 5 years from now. Maybe I could start now just a little bit at a time. Maybe every little step acutally counts, the journey is as important as the destination, and this idea... this business... this dream could slowly grow with me. And so, without the dream studio yet manifested, I have begun taking steps toward my dream and Creative Life Studio will be launching at the end of this summer. :)

Do you pray?? If you do, pray for me on this one, friends. I would greatly appreciate it!

I think I am coming to the conclusion that goal-setting, while very important when you are just beginning to make your way in the world, is just as important... and maybe even more important... the older you get. I know this may sound counter-intuitive, but I am believing this is more and more true.

At 41 years old, I have done a number of things that many people wish to achieve in their lives: marriage, children, a furnished home, a way to support ourselves. I also know that as our roles change in parenthood, as children get older and become more and more independent with each passing year (generally speaking... and that is the goal anyway, right?), our identities naturally shift within those parenting duties. It could be that you are no longer your child's favorite playmate, or it could be that you no longer need to be so physically involved in their upkeep, or it could be that you no longer need to drive them from place to place, or it could be that they even no longer live with you. Perhaps, even, you find yourself retired. I would argue that having fresh goals at all times, perpetually learning and striving to reach new summits, whatever they may be, is what keeps life invigorating, interesting, inviting, and fresh.

So, for education sake, I've been looking at a few different business books (The Creative Entrepreur is a current favorite. I've got Tranqulista on my wish list too!), but also goal-setting books.

Goal-setting books are - or rather, were - totally not my style... or so I thought. I'd always pooh-poohed them. "I don't want to be a millionaire," I'd think. I don't care about owning big boats or having two houses or being a big, corporate success. Simplicity. Peace. Balance. Art. Time with my family. That's my style.

But this is where I've been wrong, because, as I'm sure you've already figured out, my goals can still be my goals, my dreams can still be in need of reaching, even if they don't match the "suits". Heck, even my goal setting books don't need to look like the others!

Some of them do, though and Jack Canfield's book, The Success Principles is one that I'm a little late to the show with, but feels timeless to me in a lot of ways. I'd been reading some of the principles to my older daughter, 13, and she was begging to read it too! Happy me, when I found and purchased the teen version of the book! She loves it and is reading it for one of her non-fiction choices for school. Wish I'd had a book like it when I was her age!

So, yep, I've got my little stack of 3x5 notecards with my written goals on them that I review every day. I've long had an inspiration board in my bedroom closet, but my inspirations are sharing more space with visions now too. It's morphing a bit from "inspiration board" to "vision board" and the main difference between those two is, of course, goals.

The main thing is that I'm having a ball with all of it! Some of my goals are sky-high and others are short-term and quite achievable. But the truth of the matter is that I have nothing to lose and everything to gain by at least trying.

I have a number of goals I'm currently working on and a number I'm right now just dreaming about, but at least they are "out there." I can read them and think about them and because they are in the forefront of my mind, I can take advantage of opportunities that may come my way regarding them that I might not otherwise recognize if I wasn't doing so.

The next challenge I'm looking at is running in my first 5K run on the 24th. It's another new thing to do: to enter into this world of runners, of people who do this thing regularly, in races all around the country and the world. But I am just being introduced. Crazy. And fabulous and fun.

I don't know. I don't think I ever thought I would call goal-setting fun. But it's one of the things that has kept me smiling since the turn of the year and seriously, I'm having a blast. :)
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