|Posted on January 25, 2016 at 12:30 AM|
1/24/16: Dreams and goals matter.
So we’re a month or so into the New Year. The holiday things are put away. New Year’s celebrations are but a memory. Do you remember the resolutions you made, the plans, goals, and promises you set for yourself?
What do you suppose causes us to set those goals aside so quickly? What leads us to give up on our goals and dreams?
I think a lot about goal setting for myself and I help others set goals so that they can achieve some form of balance and happiness in their work and home lives.
As I was running on the beach last summer I was prompted to thing about goal setting because I was having a very difficult time achieving what should have not been a difficult goal. Or so I believed. The day was a typical hot, muggy South Carolina summer day. The sun felt scorching even though it was not yet 8:00 a.m. I was struggling to complete a distance I had run without much difficulty about a zillion times before. I kept telling myself that it was not that far to my destination, but I found myself wanting to give up. I told myself that I was not going to make it back to the “stack a shacks” (my starting and ending point). It was just….tooo….far. (I think I would have started to whine at this point if there had been anyone around to listen other than gulls and pelican).
That was when and why I started thinking about goal setting. My goal for the day was to start the day with an invigorating run that would then (hopefully) set a good tone for the rest of the day. It seemed like a simple enough task. I did not care how fast I ran, only that I completed what I set out to do. Well it was not so simple after all. Goals are like that, they seem simple enough on the surface and then so many obstacles can get in our way. My simple plan had become overwhelming and unrealistic. So I decided the original goal was too big, and perhaps it would help to break it down into smaller, more manageable goals. I thought, “ok, I can make it to the first life guard station”. That was actually two goals in one: I was setting a smaller goal for the run and I was heading to someone who could help when I collapsed from heat stroke. But that goal was still overwhelming. Which led to more thoughts of giving up altogether. I found myself breaking the run down into small increments and I felt success if I made it to the next boardwalk, and then the next, and then the next, and so on.
Sometimes we set goals or make promises, plans, or “should” that are very worthy and do-able in the long term, but we give up because we fail to make a realistic plan to get there. The goal seems great when we are first dreaming it, but we become overwhelmed by obstacles that life throws at us and we become discouraged and set our plans and dreams aside.
Setting smaller goals that can lead to the achievement of a larger goal or dream is helpful for a number of reasons, including: Breaking a larger goal into smaller tasks seems less overwhelming and motivates us to get started; achieving smaller goals is rewarding and gives us incentives to keep moving forward; we can continues to work toward completing the mini goals even life throws us curve balls or we get knocked off track.
It is important to remember that dreams matter. Goals are important to making your dreams a reality. Learning how to set realistic goals and expectations, and being able to break larger goals into more manageable chunks will help you to keep moving forward and minimize discouragement and defeat.
And in the words of my mother, words that I heard infuriatingly often when I was growing up, “remember, the impossible only takes a little longer”.
Thanks Mom. I think you were on to something.