Oh, my friends… I’ll have to fight hard for this one.
On month eight of twelve, I finally pulled out my tiny trampoline to start fulfilling my exercise resolution. Should I tell you that I didn’t even do that until the third week of August? Yeah, I think I’ll keep that to myself. Should I tell you that there are various items sitting on it right now, that I dumped there when I came in the door, and that it’s been accumulating detritus for a week? I don’t think I’ll tell you that, either.
In August, I realized that I want all these things for myself, and yet I don’t have a plan for getting them. I set these goals, these resolutions, but I never took the time to map out how I would reach the end of this one-year journey, what steps I would take to get there. In one case, that didn’t matter: I wanted to take a photography class, so I found one and signed up. But the rest of the goals I wanted to accomplish do not fall into that one-and-done category. The rest of my goals required thought and planning and…well, more goals, defined steps to get there.
Simply thinking about my big goals hasn’t provided me with the concrete guidance I need. Thinking about a goal gives me an overall idea of what I want and how I might accomplish it, but when it’s time to do the work, I am left to meander here and there, finding my way to the end any way I am able. It’s like following pathways in the woods: some are real, some are dead ends, and some just lead you around and around to nowhere.
There’s another drawback to just “thinking” about what I want: I’m noticing that I spend too little of my thought-life in the present. Particularly with the resolutions I’m not successful with, the ones that are more difficult for me motivation-wise. I spend most of my time in “if only”. If only I had stuck with my healthy eating in April, where would I be now? I’d feel so much better; I’d weigh less; I’d be happier with myself and with my body. If only I had kept strictly to my budget, I’d have more money in the bank, I’d be this much closer to paying off that last credit card.
If I’m not thinking about the past, then I’m “could-ing” myself into the future. By this time next year, I could have this much money in the bank. By this time next year, I could be at this weight. The thing is, when I’m concentrating on the “if only’s”, I am less happy, less motivated, and it’s even harder for me to keep going. Because I’m concentrating on something negative, on what I didn’t do or what I wish I had done. Those thoughts and feelings hold me back as much as anything else, because they mire me in my failures.
I fully believe in visualizing yourself attaining your goals, but if all you’re doing is planning and thinking about the future, then the present slips beneath you unnoticed. All your excitement and your hope is focused on some vague point down the road. It seems to me that it would benefit my journey more if my excitement and my hope were centered around my next step. Anything that I can do to make my next step easier and more natural, then that will make my end goal that much more possible to achieve.
At this point I’m just going to keep plodding away. I know I’ll continue at least three of my resolutions into 2013, and I’ll use the experience I’ve gained so far to build on next year. I can’t continue just “thinking” about what I want to do – or should do, or might do, or will do in the future. So, I’ll spend the last months of this year putting together a real set of goals: not just a final destination, but the steps I’ll take to get there. No more wandering down forest paths – I’m going to make myself a map. That way, I’ll know where I’m going, I can accurately measure my accomplishments, and I can focus on the steps I’m taking RIGHT NOW .
Items of Interest:
Resolutions – August 2012