Getting Real About Goals

Here it is, the 8th day of January already, and I haven’t really thought much about setting any goals for the year. In part, I haven’t bothered because it doesn’t seem to do me any good. I make goals, then I don’t work toward them. It’s been my pattern for many years.

Yesterday morning, Chris from Chris’ Journaling Journey wrote a post titled What Do I Want? It’s about an article she read that says that asking what we want isn’t the question we should be asking ourselves. Instead, we should be asking, “what pain do I want in my life? What am I willing to struggle for?”

I wish I had thought to ask myself this question and known myself well enough to be truthful about the answers many years ago. Like before I trained to be a hypnotherapist when I don’t want everything that is a part of being a hypnotherapist. There’s way too much talking involved! And I definitely wished I had asked these questions before I spent six years trying to make myself write a book when I don’t want everything that comes along with being a writer. If I had asked myself if I was willing to face criticism and rejection over my writing, the honest answer would have been no. And promoting my work and engaging with readers via social media? Hell, no! I didn’t really want any of that. That’s not me.

This year, I’m going to ask myself those questions about each of my goals, so I can be real about them and break out of this pattern of goal setting and failing.

I already crossed one goal off my list: losing the 30 lbs I’ve gained in the last eight years. For me, with my hormonal imbalances, I know that losing weight requires eating extremely low carb and exercising one to two hours a day, at least five days a week. I could write “lose weight” for a goal. I want to lose the weight. But am I willing to eat nothing but meat and veggies and exercise over an hour a day? No! I now know myself well enough to know that I won’t do it. I don’t like buying, handling, cooking or eating meat (at least not any healthy kinds – things like bacon and hamburgers are delicious!).  I cook meat at dinner when I cook for and eat with my family, but when left on my own for meals, I can’t bring myself to do it. Maybe if I liked meat it would be different, but I don’t want animals to suffer and be slaughtered to provide me with something I find torture to eat, just so I can be skinny. I won’t do it. So, I’m changing this goal to “eat healthier and exercise more.” It’s vague and it won’t get me the results I want but it’s realistic.

Positive thinking along the lines of “if you want it, you can achieve it,” or, “if you visualize it, you can make it happen,” is total B.S., in my opinion. If you’re not willing to do what it takes, it won’t happen. This much I’ve learned in years of not achieving goals.

It may say sound negative to give up on goals but it’s actually quite freeing to get rid of the ones you don’t truly want!


10 thoughts on “Getting Real About Goals

  1. Being realistic in my own life (with chronic illness and pain), I aim to do one thing every day. I aim to do one thing that appropriate within my energy envelope. It has to be something that doesn’t make my lower back and hip pain worse. And when achieved, it has to be something I can look at and feel as though I’ve achieved something. Yesterday it was gardening. I moved and cleaned all the dead leaves and stains my potted plants had left on my balcony. I pruned all the herbs and checked for caterpillars and snails. Something’s eating my mint, so that got extra special attention. When I finished I watered all the potted plants and made myself a salad for lunch from all my produce. I felt satisfied that my little garden was achieving its goal. To provide a large portion of my daily meal, instead of stretching my limited budget to the limit in buying those food items.

    I aim to read and delete all my emails by the end of 48 hours. If I haven’t had time to read a blog I follow, then I delete the notification unread.

    Break goals down to achievable segments and then you’ll find much more satisfaction in achieving each segment, rather than the enormity of a large goal.

    Don’t aim for losing 30lb. Aim for losing 2-3 lb and going for a walk with your camera (say, just 20 minutes, since you have a house and family to cook for every day and I don’t). Or do something for yourself for 30 minutes every day. Be kind to yourself.

    Forget New Year’s resolutions. Be happy with what you’ve got and make more time to appreciate the simple things in life should be on the list of all people, regardless of their life situation.

    If we strive for small achievable goals, then eventually they become completed large goals.

    1. Doing something that gives you a sense of satisfaction and achievement every day is a good idea. My problem is that I have to do so many things that don’t give any sense of achievement and just immediately need to be done again. I need a housekeeper and a cook! 🙂

      1. Or an obsessive/compulsive cleaner-upper like me. I used to work in the UK & Melbourne as a live-in nanny (or nanny/housekeeper) and it took a bit of training to get the kids to clean up their rooms for a starter. But it was a case of tidy up the toys into their box/drawers or they get confiscated. They also had to do chores e.g. set the table, stack/unstack the dishwasher, pick up the towels after their bath bath and so on.

  2. I think New Year resolutions put you under a lot of pressure and that it is better to only make resolutions you have a reasonable chance of keeping. My sister decided she wanted to lose some weight but rather than aiming for a goal weight she has just tried to eat healthier and to take her dogs for a walk every day. She says the main thing is that now she feels a lot better than she used to but she has actually lost weight too. Sometimes she misses a day because her job is physically tiring or because of the weather. She still allows herself the odd treat too because she thinks, and I agree, that if you try to give up everything like they make you on reality TV sooner or later you will break and binge and then be depressed and give up. slow and steady is the best way to do things.

    1. That’s great that your sister lost weight just while focusing on eating healthier and taking her dogs for a walk, I thought I would lose weight when we got our new dog and I started walking 2-3 miles a day. I didn’t. My body just won’t let go of the pounds. But I’m not going to obsess over it. I’m just going to do better and hope I feel better and stronger. So far, I just feel sore and stiff! :/

  3. For procrastinators like myself, the only kind of goals that make sense are short term ones because anything long term is going to constantly thrown on the back burner. So I come up with things I want to do today, or over my weekend… and if I even get one of those things done, I consider it an accomplishment. I obviously do not get much done!

    1. That’s exactly how I am! I’ve been throwing my online course, that should have only taken a year to finish, on the back burner for two years and I’m just barely over half way done. If I would just finish it I could back to feeling okay about being my procrastinating, non-productive self. But there’s writing involved and I always procrastinate on writing, almost as much has making phone calls.

  4. I am a major procrastinator as well. My therapist has told me to concentrate on the things that matter most – time with my kids, time to write (still working on that), time to relax. Doing restorative yoga or watching meditative videos on youtube is healthy. It won’t help you lose weight, but it will help you be calmer, which is better on your body. Putting pressure on myself to lose weight was just one more plate to add to the others I already had, and would probably just work against me. My kids already say I’m perfect (and they are 11 and 15) so maybe I’m okay. 🙂 Good luck with your goals.

    1. Thank you for your comment! It helps to know there are other procrastinators out there and also to know that I’m not the only one who feels like a weight loss program is just one plate too many for right now. Currently, I’m doing a 40 days of transformation meditation program on davidji.com but when that’s over I’ll have to check out some meditative videos on youtube because I’ve been wondering how I’ll keep myself going once this program is over. Good luck with your goals and for making time to write!

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