The Thing About Goals


I’ve thought a lot about goals lately and how they apply to my life, right now. It seems when I scroll through social media’s inner workings, I come across hashtags such as #chasebigdreams, #goals, #dreambig, #goalgetter.  It’s awesome and motivating right? I mean, most people are somewhat goal oriented, or at least know goals are important to keep us pressing forward in our endeavors.

Seeing the posts that push us towards big goals can sometimes make me feel as though I’m in the game ya know? I have goals, I mean, I’m training for a half marathon and have set my sights on some things I want to do physically in the next year or two. On the flip side, it can often scream at me from the computer screen that I am a failure if I do not in fact, have a goal, or if I have failed to achieve mine.

I don’t always have goals. Sometimes, my goal is just to survive mother hood ha! Seriously though, my entire life is not planned out in a training journal. I don’t have set goals for this blog. I have some, but sometimes the goal is just to keep writing even if it’s occasional, because I love it. Because life. Life is a big game and sometimes just navigating the day-to-day is all we can focus on.

I have goals, but I don’t. Does that make sense? Probably not. So let’s try it this way………… a goal is defined as “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.”

The object of my affection.

As much as I love to run and be active, to race and push hard and sweat and struggle for a finish line, it is not the object of my affection. It’s not the thing. Or at least, I hope it’s not. Is to run a bit faster or cross the finish line of that goal race an aim or a desired result? Sure. But does it hold my affection? Is it the entire focus of my world?

Well, no. It holds SOME affection, but not all. There are a lot of things that come before.

So, if this is the case for me, I’m guessing it may be for you too. For the sake of simplicity, I’m focussing on fitness goals, because that’s what I’m relating too most at the moment, but you can replace that with just about anything. So, how in the world do we have focus and intention and drive, how do we have goals, without being controlled by them? For example, if my goal is the object of my affection, if it’s THE thing I want and crave more than anything, what happens when I get injured or sick or my kids need me or the season just doesn’t call for it? What then?

This is my struggle.

The pressure or even desire to have a goal, and the frustration that comes if it doesn’t get accomplished, even if it’s for a good reason, or reasons. Here are a few things I’ve thought about when it comes to goal setting that I hope help you.

  1. Make your goals realistic for your season. This can change, obviously, because life can turn on a dime from day-to-day. So, if I want to do a big race next October, that’s fine, but are there enough filler’s in between that are reasonable that I(or you) can start with? For example , if you decided to run a marathon next year but have never run a 5k, put a few 5k races, a 10k or even a half marathon on your schedule to give you some other smaller goals to focus on in the meantime. That will keep you on track and keep you motivated, but if for some reason, be it life or injury etc, something keeps you from that more time-consuming commitment, you have stayed on track and given yourself other things to work towards, and you can feel proud of that.
  2. Make the goal about you. This may sound selfish, and I know some goals orient themselves around others, but for the sake of a fitness related goal, make it for YOU. That way, you are entirely free to let yourself off the hook if need be. If the goal is to prove something to the world or show off your skills or beat that person who always beats you, you may fall short from the pressure. Or maybe that pressure drives you, but you MUST be able to let go so it doesn’t destroy you. Be confident in your choices and give yourself the grace to step back and re-evaluate if it’s just not working out. You can always come back to that goal at another time.
  3. GRACE. I said this already, but grace is key. You MUST have the capacity to give yourself the grace you need to either set it aside, change your training, take a few days off to rest, or eat that hamburger dangit. You need to extend grace to yourself because life is tricky and doesn’t always lend itself to our finish lines. It doesn’t always care that I had to run a 5 mile tempo today and oooohhhh my gosh if I don’t get to it what happens?!? Training is derailed and I’m off schedule now and WHAT DO I DO?!?!  Don’t panic. Go into any goal or season of training with an open mind and the capacity to allow other things to take priority. Offer grace to yourself when things don’t go your way and jump back in when you can, thankful for the opportunity to focus on something else that was probably more important anyway(snuggles with a sick baby, a date with your spouse, helping a kid study for a big test).
  4. Make it attainable. This is similar to setting realistic goals, but you also need to know the goal is in fact possible. If you are brand new to running, have never been on a bike or in a pool, and decide to do a full Ironman in 6 months, you will be setting yourself up for disappointment.  It is simply not attainable in that time frame, at least for the majority of people. Maybe you are the exception ha. It doesn’t mean it isn’t possible one day with the proper training and preparation, but 6 months is not an attainable time frame for all that would need to get done. Make sense?

I hope this is helpful, and not discouraging lol. I LOVE goals. I’m all over them and about them and I do have a journal I use JUST for fitness goals. Write them down, think them through, don’t be afraid to set them and set them high, BUT, be smart about it and don’t forget that very important grace thing. Life is about so much more than just ONE thing. So let yourself be a bit more diverse in your passions and allow yourself to switch your focus when needed. It is so freeing and will allow you to scroll past those posts with all the #goalcrushers and wish them well and cheer them on, knowing you are doing you, and that you are comfortable in your skin, with your goals, or lack thereof, for that season of your life. Be confident in YOUR situation and don’t focus on what everyone else is doing. Because you? You are awesome and placed right in your pocket of the world with your people and your body and your job for a purpose. Use it!!! xoxoxo