Setting and Revising Your Goals
By Don Otis –
Warren and Julie are in their 60s, runners and professionals. It was not until after they climbed a peak with me in Colorado that I learned more about them. Both are attorneys. Julie is a judge. She would blast any stereotype you have of what a judge ought to be like. They are unassuming, dedicated, and focused on an interesting goal.
It was on a preliminary hike that Warren told me they plan to run a marathon in all 50 States. They will knock off two more this year in Kentucky and Maine. They have already done 35 states. While running in every state may not sound affordable or logical to you, I want to encourage you to think about what you can do. What kind of goals can you set for yourself? For Warren and Julie, their goal is big. It encompasses years of training and health. They aren’t racing to win, they are running to see new places, keep in shape, and eventually finish their goal.
In Colorado, one of the healthiest states in the nation, one out of every two people is overweight or obese. This should be a national emergency. The costs for medical care are exponentially higher for those who are sedentary. With so many distractions to keep us from healthy activity, it’s no wonder many of us gravitate to the couch after work. We compound our inactivity with poor eating or sleeping habits. When you choose a goal for yourself, there is a built-in self-accountability that helps keep you on track. As one of my clients said, “When I see how hard it has been to lose weight, I don’t want to eat anything that will counteract the work I’ve done.”
The biggest battle is in the mind. This is true for fitness as much as it is for spiritual and moral issues. Your mind is the battleground that leads to success or failure. And in any battle, there is an ebb and flow of winning and losing. We have setbacks. We make unwise decisions. Still, staying focused through establishing goals is one of the keys to success. A goal is established by making a decision. This is true for our spiritual life as well. We know, however, that simply making a decision to follow Christ is no more binding than making a decision to go on a diet or get in shape. It takes commitment, perseverance, and certainly a willingness to sacrifice short-term pleasure for long-term gains.
It is no secret that many of us put on pounds during the winter months where cold and inactivity dominate. Where do you want to be in three months or next year? Any goal, large or small, takes dedication, a plan and some form of accountability. For Warren and Julie, they do their long runs together on the weekends and share the same goal. They have a built-in commitment to the goal, an accountability partner and the means to accomplish their goals.
There are setbacks in life–an injury, the loss or a job, or any number of other interruptions to reaching your goals. Rather than letting failure or inactivity define your life, find ways to creatively overcome these. This means maintaining your workouts in spite of losing your job or cross training (i.e., swimming instead of running) in the face of injury. We naturally find excuses when things don’t go exactly as planned in life. Yet when you come to expect the unexpected, it is easier to navigate toward your goals rather than to let circumstances prevail.