My Goal Setting Strategy: Why I Stopped Reaching for the Stars

February 18, 2017

After I got married and had children, my strategy changed: Reach for the stars, but settle for the moon. I did not have the time or energy to keep working for the stars, but a collection of moons is not bad, now is it?  Yup. I have a bag full of moons in my closet, too!

Now, I am an empty nester. I look in my closet  and see my bags of stars and moons. I now wonder:  What is up with all those stars? Why am I obsessing over these moons?

Because I have been such a highly driven person my entire life, I have always felt that I would be a failure if I did not end up in the highest (or near the highest) achieving group.

If I played, I played to win. If I didn’t want to win, what was the point? For those of you who do not know me, I am a recovering Momma Addict. My story in my initial blog post sums up my lifelong “Go big or Go Home” attitude.

I never considered that simply playing at life at any level could still be considered a win. This is my current situation. It feels odd.

Now, with time to reflect, I realize how fortunate I am to have options. I don’t have to reach for the stars. I don’t need any more moons.

I don’t have to reach my arms up to high to get things. Simply raising my hand at all is a victory. It is a victory because I have chosen to participate.

My aggressive goal setting strategies, of course, played out daily in my career and my motherhood journey while raising my kids. I don’t regret my choices. I am thankful for of all that I have achieved. I am proud that I taught my girls how to use goal setting to achieve their dreams. They have never been as driven as I have, and for that I am actually grateful!

Why am I writing this blog now? Because today, I decided to play with no thought of winning. I have no end goal but just want to be in the game. Which game? Exercise.

Working out has always been a challenge for me. My husband was a body builder back in the day and, at one point, was built like the HULK. I have always kinda been built the way I am…a little on the chunky side.  But to spend more time together, a large part of our dating life was spent working out.

We would work out for a over a half a day, several times each week. Let that wash over you. I worked out for hours, with leather gloves to avoid blisters. I was a grade A gym rat.

My husband also was an avid runner. I tried to love running. Hated it, but I was in it to win it! I laugh when I think about how we ran a 10K together. Not a 5K, but a 10K!

Dr. Momma provides proof that at one time she was a runner

We belonged to health clubs and lifted free weights and worked all the machines as a circuit. I also became one of “those people” who did aerobics classes in my “special spot”  with only my “favorite” teachers.  I became a health club snob.

And after our beastly workouts, there was a mandatory trip to the sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi. Any health club without these features was useless. This took hours! But it was winning. Collecting stars and moons on a regular basis.

After our kids were born, I continued to work full time. I opened and ran a solo private practice. I didn’t have hours to exercise, and a short workout seemed lame.  Because I did not want to be lame, I quit going.  One of our kids learned to walk on the treadmill, and they both  worked out regularly with their dad. They are both very fit and athletic. I couldn’t hang, so I just sat down. I have continued to essentially sit down for 20 years.

Today, I realized that I don’t have to compete with anyone. I don’t have to live up to any expectations. Mine own included. I am throwing away my collection of useless stars and moons.

I’m nearly 60. I am in healthcare. I need to take care of this body which has served me well. Today, I must learn to say that walking one mile is my marathon. And I need to be proud.

I am announcing this here, but I am a work in progress. I know I will struggle with myself. In my mind, walking one mile is not really a workout, but it beats walking no miles! I doubt I will tell this to many people in my ‘real‘ life because most of them actually enjoy working  out.  I am putting good vibes out into the universe to people who don’t know me and will celebrate my little success. People who will not ask me when I will walk 1.5 miles! Because that may or may not ever happen.

But today is a great day. I have a new goal setting strategy. Not only will I stop reaching for the stars, but my goal is to simply raise my hand. I am saying: I will participate.  This is my new winning.

 

Goal setting is required to keep focussed on a desired path. This post discusses the importance of adjusting goals to be attainable and avoid quitting.

 

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