We have goals for every area of our life like financial goals, academic goals, fitness and even travel goals. We know what we want. So what is the point of spending our already limited time in framing a goal? Why is framing it so important?
Psychology. What we know is in our sub-conscious mind. It is fuzzy and we feel we kind of know it. We can understand how vague it is when we start defining it. To bring our intent or desire to the physical realm and for us to work on concrete steps to move towards that point, we need to define the specifics of it. For example, I know I feel uncomfortable in my current fitness levels. I know it would definitely do me good to lose a few pounds and to get into shape. But this lacks clarity in terms of what exactly I would be doing to move from point A to point B. Goals give shape to this desire. A goal needs to be SMART. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.
So, my fitness goal now would be “I want to lose 10 lbs (Specific, measurable) by exercising for 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week (realistic in my current schedule). I could expect results in say 20 weeks instead of a 10 week with more rigorous schedule (achievable and time bound)”. Done, but is this enough? I know what I need to do but I just don’t have the motivation to do it or to continue through the initial few weeks of pain. I feel like I’m dragging myself through this process and not really enjoying what I am doing.
This is what I found. A goal should be challenging, motivating in itself. It should make me feel so excited that I need to jump up at the first available opportunity to get it done. I had lost enough lbs before my second pregnancy and got to a good level of fitness to help me through my pregnancy and to bounce back post delivery. I thought all I had to do was to follow the same fitness routine, diet routine to get back on track once I recover from my delivery. But I was wrong. It did not work because my current life situation and schedule are totally different. My sleep is “less than perfect” to say the least and my calorie needs, stress levels and social life are so different. What is one to do?
I’m a low impact person especially after my sciatica and discectomy and dread high impact activities. But there was this constant feel of wanting to run. I came across someone who recovered from his accident and had the same fears like me and ended up running not just marathons but Ultra-man. I was fascinated. May be I too can run. It was new to me. It was challenging. It was testing and expanding my limits. I felt wonderful to even think of working on this. I prepared a plan to start from couch to walking to running for 30 seconds at a time between walks. Now I do 8 minutes run – 90 second walk for 30 minutes alternate days. This is amazing for me. I have new pains and give my body plenty of stretches and time to heal before I hit the treadmill again. Now my thought is no more about reaching a number on the scale. It is about expanding my capabilities.
Now that is what a goal should look like, right? We are so used to shrinking our thoughts to mediocre needs and levels because that is what everyone else around us are doing. Typical successful life is considered to be: Birth, good student in school, then graduation, then job, then marriage, children, profession, retirement, old age and end of story. And then we fight within ourselves and search for motivation outside. No! We need to learn and experience limitless thinking and gradually expand our capacity. Instead of aiming for a tree top, lets aim for the stars. So even if we fail, we will land on a mountain top.