Goals. Sometimes just hearing that word raises my blood pressure. Goals would imply that I’m not where I want to be (who likes thinking about that?). Goals would imply I need to put forth some effort (can’t I just lay on the couch a little longer?). And goals speak of something I have often set and often failed to meet (I’ll make good choices tomorrow. Right now I want cheesecake!).
When I have a goal, or something I want to work on, I tend to want to accomplish everything perfectly. And I want to get to where I want to be, like now! And so, I go all out with my goals, and maybe do good for a little while. Then life happens, and I can’t meet my lofty goals, so I go to the other extreme of not working on them at all, telling myself I will start again later. This vicious cycle continues and I never see much progress. I finally realized this pattern wasn’t working for me (duh, I know).
So, recently I’ve been working on setting small goals instead of my larger-than-life ones. To start, I choose a goal that is easy to meet and doesn’t require loads of discipline. Here are some examples. For getting organized, maybe I start putting my mail in the same place each day. For eating healthy, maybe I get a medium coffee drink instead of a large. Small steps, but steps indeed! And then, after a week or two, as these choices become easier, I set another small goal. Maybe I also start putting my keys in the same place each day. Maybe now a small drink instead of a medium. Again, small steps, but hey, I’m not just on the couch with my cheesecake!
Even with setting small goals, they don’t always happen. In the past, when I’d fail to meet a goal, I would get discouraged and frustrated with myself and just want to quit trying. If I wasn’t doing things perfectly, why do them? I’ve needed to realize that, if I keep waiting for the time when I will do things perfectly, I’m never going to accomplish anything. So, I am learning to celebrate any small signs of progress instead of merely focusing on how far I still want to go. And even though missteps happen, my course is steadily heading upwards, and before I know it, those goals I’ve dreamed about reaching will be a reality!!!