It’s the classic joke “I made a goal to lose 20 pounds this year and so far I’ve lost 11 days!” I know you are all S.M.A.R.T. enough to know how to set goals and that a generic ‘gonna lose 20’ isn’t exactly a S.M.A.R.T. goal, but even if the goals you’ve set meet all of the criteria for goals-likely-to-be-met it’s still not easy to knock them out of the park. I set a new goal for 2018 to “travel by foot” a total of 2,500 miles. That includes both intentional foot travel, like a jog or walking our new puppy, and the organic foot travel I accomplish throughout the day. If you break that down assuming I walk the same distance everyday for 365 days that’s a total of 6.85 miles a day, so 10 days into the goal I should be at 68.5 total miles, correct? Wrong (Insert the price is right ‘you lost’ tuba sound in your mind right now)
January 1st, I woke up 3 hours into the new year feeling like I was about to vomit. I don’t drink alcohol and we brought in the new year at 11pm while watching a youtube video of the 2016 ball dropping, so it was either a bug or something I ate that wasn’t sitting right, but either way I finished day one with 2.25 miles logged, 4.6 miles behind already. I was ready to quit, and try for a lighter goal, or a different one altogether.
The goals we focus on always have sticky starts don’t they? You are pumped to get rid of that pesky car loan this year and then the day before payday you get a flat tire and have that repair bill, and then your refrigerator was left open and all of the food inside it is spoiled so you’re trying to make popcorn a legitimate meal for your family for the next 12 days. Or you want to go on 52 dates with your spouse this year and the first weekend approaches and one of the kids is sick, so you conjure up a ‘date’ by saying you’ll watch “the Office” on Netflix but this time you’ll not quote the whole episode to your spouse to make it feel like you’re both seeing it for the first time. There are always thousands of reasons to give up before you even log your first mile of your ambitious goal.
January 2nd arrived and I was feeling better and was up and walking with the pup first thing in the morning! I had a few backlogged podcasts to walk to and found that if I listen to the podcasts at 1.5 or 2X speed I keep a better tempo, so we jammed out a nice walk. The walk paired with some snow shoveling and the rest of my regular walking helped me log a healthy 7.68 miles, and I was back in the saddle!
About half of the subscribers to this blog are from Michigan so they know the frigid temperatures we faced in the first week of the year. So the pup didn’t make it out for a walk, but some shoveling and some extra errands helped me log a fair number of miles but none of the days exceeded the daily average needed, so I could feel the deficit growing of miles I should have traveled versus what the (dorky) excel spreadsheet is telling me I had accomplished. Once again, I was ready to quit.
Its so easy to feel behind when you write down an ambitious goal and don’t make immediate headway. It would be a lot easier to accomplish my goal if I ran 95 marathons in a row and then capped it off with a half marathon to put me a little over the edge. It would be a lot easier to get out of debt if you won the lottery. The best way I kept my head in the game was to revisit why I wanted to accomplish my goal, or to tie in to the title make my goal a bit less gooey. One of my whys was to inform and impact other decisions throughout the day. Decisions like; whether I should hammer down those potato chips in three seconds and undo my three miles of work this morning, if I should be the one to hop up and walk to the kitchen from the dining room when a kiddo needs some more water, where I should park when I pull into the grocery store (and leave the closer spaces open for the folks who have a goal of getting a new hip or two in 2018).
In addition to revisiting my why I also had to remind myself of some truths about my goal. Some of the truths about my goal that I had to remind myself is; January is not exactly the ideal “let’s go for a walk outside” month, several times this past fall I did many lawn care days that logged 13+ miles, and lastly if I end up doing 2,400 miles, besides a bit of pride, what will I have lost? If you’ve already been socked with your get-out-of-debt goal 12 days into the year, find some truths about your goal that you know to be true like; all businesses and industries are slower in January so that means fewer hours, smaller sales, less to work with, but its cyclical, and you can probably make up for it with some tax return or 4th quarter bonus.
Every little bit adds up to big things. You might have to start saving pop cans and using daylight as your only source of light in the house, schedule midweek date nights where you set the clocks two hours ahead and convince the kids to go to bed earlier so you can have those two netflixless and kidless hours of conversation. Remember your why, speak your truth, and remind yourself often but writing down your goals in places you see regularly.
Another benefit of my goal is that I learned that 96 trips around our sectional couch is one mile.