Now that we have acknowledged our actions and hard work over the past month it’s time to continue building the best version of ourselves and what better way to do that than to discuss our goals. We all have aspirations and desires in life. Things we want to do and become. Items that we dream of having. These desires usually begin early on in life and we train ourselves on how to achieve them, or get to where we want over a certain course of time by setting goals.
A goal is a desired result that a person or a system envisions, plans and commits to achieve: a personal or organizational desired end-point in some sort of assumed development.
For those of you who do not personally know me, in addition to being a Facilitator of Change and Transition Coach, I am a runner. Not just any kind of runner, a Marathoner.
I’ve been active in sports virtually all of my life. From soccer, to swimming, cheerleading, track and field, surfing, etc… so setting goals has been a constant operational aspect of who I am for quite some time. When I decided two years ago to run my first marathon, having never been a distance runner prior, I wasn’t sure what I had gotten myself into. Furthermore, even though goals had been an important and consistent element in my life, I wasn’t sure if I could effectively pull 26.2 miles off. Over the age of 30, in the thick of a wildly successful career, and with a super active social calendar… what was I thinking? 26.2 MILES. I was becoming overwhelmed, fast.
Setting goals can be one of the most difficult things to do. I often believe we have good intentions with what we set out to do but life often gets in the way. Living in a day and age where more and more resources are at our disposal and time is of the essence it becomes easy to pile our plates high with things to do and achieve. So, how do we manage it all effectively and efficiently without becoming overwhelmed and giving up?
Simple… Break Things Up.
It’s often customary to look at the big picture when you are in the dream phase. The end goal is always most appealing and it’s natural to want to get there as quickly as possible. Whether it’s the bragging rights to having run 26.2 miles, the large commission check on the new account you just acquired, the townhouse you’re finally able to purchase, or the profitable soaring self-sustaining start up, etc… We want what we want, and we want it now. But what about the road to getting there? Those ideals don’t necessarily showcase just how bumpy the journey can be.
Let’s use the example of the marathon. Whenever I toe the line for this distance I never look at is as a race of 26.2 miles. If I did that I think I would chicken out and go home. Instead, I break the race down into much smaller more manageable segments. You know, the whole one step at a time deal. In this case after speaking with a running coach it became the idea of 10, 10, and 10. The first 10 miles, the second 10 miles and the final 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). It’s the idea of running lamppost to lamppost. This way, I am able to stay focused on what is right in front of me and motivated to keep going further. The great thing about this type of strategy is that you have the ability to amend and make adjustments as needed, throughout the process, to keep from feeling overwhelmed. If I find myself mentally or physically falling off course for any reason then maybe I scale it down to tackling 5 miles at a time or 5 kilometers. Whatever is manageable and seems most practical for me to handle in that moment. Keeping that in mind, I build out my training program to accommodate this exact strategy. Beginning to break down my long training runs in this way from the start. This means an 8 mile long run is now looked at as two shorter 4 milers that I can easily tackle in my sleep. The 12 miler becomes two 6 milers and so on and so forth. I continue building in this way until I reached the coveted 20 miler at the height of my training, the longest distance I’ll run prior to the full 26.2 on race day, which is viewed as a 10 and 10.
When I sit back and think about this conversation it’s not long before I realize this strategical way of thinking rings true for almost any goal we want to set out for ourselves and I had been putting it to use long before running my first marathon.
Therefore, this week I challenge you to take a goal you have set for yourself and work on simplifying it. Breaking it down into more manageable pieces, of course with the end game still in mind. Ask yourself where it makes sense to break the goal in half and then that half in half until it becomes something that is manageable but still challenging. This is where you start.
Open your journal up and take note of how much pressure you are able to alleviate from the situation by doing this. Are things less overwhelming? Has your level of excitement been raised? What becomes exciting? Are you more productive with your time? Do you uncover tasks that can be eliminated? Are there steps that need to be added? What specifically is changing within your process? Does the goal become clearer? Does the goal change?
There are so many benefits here to be gained. I think you will be surprised at how much faster you are able to move forward now that you have cleared up critical mind space. So let’s get moving. There is a lot of ground to cover and I am excited to see what you come up with.