Sunday, January 22, 2012

12 Changes For 2012 - #12 - Remember Your Goals

Mid-way through my short drive to work, I wake up. Five minutes or five miles completely unremembered. I don't know what I was doing. Or what was on the radio. Or what I was thinking. Just making the motions. Going from one place to the next.

How many of us lead entire days like that? How many times do we forget why we're driving? Or where we're going? Maybe we don't even have a destination at times. We're just driving. Putting distance between us and something else. Or someone else.

It is easy to forget our goals. Our destination. Why we make these motions. Put up with all this toil, or drama, or grief. If we are lucky, we wake up in the middle of our ride, and remember. But usually, we forget and keep driving. I forget all the time. Or I try to forget. Makes things easier. 

We have to remember our goals. And do what it takes to achieve them. Maybe that involves multiple challenges. Sometimes multiple years. But losing sight of the goal means losing sight of what it takes to achieve them. And then we quit. Or keep driving in endless circles. 

I keep long term and short term goals. The long ones are pretty simple: raise two children into good adults. It will have taken 20 years, or more, by the time I'm done. And I don't really know what I'm doing. I play much of it by ear. But I have a have lots of time to get it right. And most of my toil and drama and grief is done to achieve those long term goals. 

My personal short term goals are much easier. They usually involve measurable challenges: drop back down to 185lbs, enter and finish a half marathon, complete more triathlons this year than I did last year, beat all my times last year, remodel the kitchen, and write write write. 

I keep these goals in my head. But I'm constantly checking them. And in all cases I try to ask myself the same questions:
  • What do I want to achieve?
  • What is stopping me from achieving it?
  • What am I going to do about that?
Over and over, I'll go through those motions. Almost always finding something that is stopping me. And having to work hard to over come it. Maybe it is eating more sensibly. Or all the difficult training for the half marathon. Or managing all the pieces (and finances!) of completing a home renovation. But eventually, weeks or months later, I will find that nothing is stopping me, and I'll achieve a goal. I'll finish that half marathon. Back down to 185lbs. I'll get the kitchen completed. And one day, God help me, I'll have raised two children. 

In the meanwhile, while I'm driving down these long roads, I have to wake up and remember my goals. Keep them in sight. Realize that nothing good is easy, or free. Remember what I want to do. Figure out what is stopping me. And decide what I'm going to do about it. Finally, one day, the ride will be over.
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