There is nothing worse than setting the bar too high. Unrealistic expectations deliver defeat. All too often people are not honest with themselves. They think that because they are good at something they are good at everything. It is pretty common actually, especially with competitive athletes. I have seen people who have done a single marathon jump right to Boston qualification as their goal. Or even people who have not raced a single triathlon go straight to an Ironman. We need to be honest with not only our abilities but our grind. The bigger the goal the harder we have to work. More work equals more time, something not everybody has.
I listen to a lot of motivational speakers and people who have succeeded in achieving their goals. I personally discovered how effective manifestation is almost 10 years ago, and have been very lucky in conquering anything I have set my mind to since. But I am also realistic both with what I aim for, and how hard I worked for it. Setting an impossible goal is not the problem, it is the work that goes into it that is. You can’t say “I am out of shape but tomorrow I will win a 5k”. Well someone probably can, but for most people you need to do the work. You want that 5k, good, now what are you going to give to get it? You are going to have to sweat, bleed, cry. You are going to have to miss dinners and wake up early. No pizza or wine on Friday. WHAT EVER IT TAKES. That’s how you get where you want to be. No free lunches.
But way too often people set the goal, and fold up like a card table at the first bump in the road. Doesn’t work that way. When I see a bump I go through it. Bump is gone. There are no bumps when you set your mind to doing something and are committed. Either you commit or you didn’t really want it to begin with. The middle of the road is paved with lofty goals that looked good but cost too much. Not too much money, but too much spirit. Too much time and sacrifice.
The irony in this is that people set challenging goals and then lie to themselves. In an effort to be happy we setup disappointment. We all do it from time to time. We tell ourselves we worked hard, we didn’t cheat, we got it done. Maybe we did, but nobody else can judge that except you. When I skip workouts, or bail because I just don’t want to push, I can’t stand short of my goal and be disappointed. I know why. You want it, you have to earn it.
The good news with this slice of humble pie is there is little more rewarding than when you push and obtain what you set out to accomplish. Someone tells you that you can’t do it? That is icing on the cake. Watch me go.
Setting goals and getting there is like climbing a ladder. You can’t skip too many rungs at a time or you will just fall back down. When I set out my goals for the year, I try to envision if they are truly doable. Next I sit with my family and make sure they are onboard. Having a big goal is great, but if the family is not supportive of the sacrifices they may need to make, you are being selfish. Lastly, I talk to my coach. Having someone that can slowly get you to where you want to be is very helpful. I see it so often, especially around this time of year where people get amped up. I’ll see them in a few weeks and hear “I have been to the gym every day this month.” or “I have run an hour every day.” Those are great to hear if they hold up. But going from 0-60 burns a lot of gas, and is very hard to keep up. The best approach is to ease into it, setup a series of mini goals, and do the work incrementally. Doing workouts that are challenging but not overwhelming keeps you going longer, and builds you far faster.
Whether or not we get to where we want isn’t always the most important thing. Being truthful about what we did, and how much we put in is. There will always be times when the work was done but the result doesn’t go our way. That’s life. When that happens you can hold your head high and say I gave it my best. When you don’t give it your all though, when you put the work off until tomorrow, that get out of jail card is gone. You have to own the defeat. You don’t have to like it, but you have to own it. Times like that can be very defining in their own right. They can give you the push you need to get there next time. The extra fuel that was missing.
In the end setting goals is how we set things in motion. Putting in down on paper, focusing on it, spreading out the work, and being honest with ourselves is how we accomplish them. You are your best and worst critic, use that to your advantage.