Goal Setting Should Hurt, And Here’s Why…

Morning from Wolf Pack Territory!

August seems to be stopping for no one, and I feel like the remainder of the year will barrel on through as well.

Today’s blog is about goal setting, and it is no coincidence that this comes right before Ironman Lake Stevens (the goal I have been shooting for since January). Back in the “real” world, I was sent this comic, which all too accurately describes the perceived effort for which our legislative officials were applying themselves to resolve “that little deficit issue.” The recent debt ceiling issue has certainly raised questions in my mind as to what the goals of our Congressmen actually are. The improvement and growth of our country seems to dim in comparison in contrast to their squabbling over political parties.

What is it about goal setting that people struggle with? Maybe it’s the fear of failure that drives people away from pushing themselves through life. Or perhaps people schedule 172 hours worth of stuff for a week when really they only have 168 hours to work with. Sound familiar?! Goal setting should be uncomfortable, plain and simple, because that is what makes you a better person. However, you shouldn’t be going through excruciating pain to meet all of your goals (only a select one or two).

For better or for worse, goal setting is something I do naturally. Ok, I graduated from college now onto a career. I’ve changed careers so now it’s time for grad school. I’ve done more than a handful of Olympic triathlons so now it’s time for a half Ironman. I miss playing trumpet so I joined the Pops. Etc, etc. The pattern goes on and on…however, I don’t set these goals and mindlessly pursue them, each of them provides me something to make  me a better person, athlete, or whatever else it may be. Here’s three thoughts on goals:

  1. Choose something you have a passion for – relentless pursuit of a dream or goal that you have no interest in is doomed for failure right off the bat. Identify an area in your life that you’re passionate about and give it your best!  Learn to salsa, pickup an instrument, take yoga, check out a new photography class. I have found that things I’m interested in have not only provided me the most satisfaction, but also provide me the greatest growth as I increase my knowledge or skill base.
  2. Make it realistic – I am not going to go out and climb Mt. Everest! It just isn’t in the stars for me… however, I do know what I like to invest my time and capital resources into, and that always turns into an area of pursuit and goal setting for me. If I’m willing to sacrifice sleep and time with friends in order to train more, at least I know that that is a sacrifice I’m willing to make. Identify what makes you tick and pursue it!
  3. Stretch yourself– All goals are not created equal, and you definitely need one or two “A” goals for the year that will push you to the edge (of your sanity). Goals like that are what transforms us into a better person, but that can only happen when we shoot for something outside of what we would consider our “reasonable threshold.” You don’t get smarter without reading on new topics, you won’t get faster without putting in more training hours, and you definitely won’t get better at work without taking on new projects. Not all of my races carry the same weight, in fact, this past weekend’s race at Pyramid is insignificant compared to my half Ironman, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t important to me as a person. Just as with races, our goals in life have to carry priority, some are “must dos” and others are “it would be nice to do this but…”

Next time you select a goal for yourself, think about the value that you place on it, the purpose that it serves you in your life, and how it will “transform” you.

How good are you at goal setting?

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