[Week 5 of 12 Weeks to a Healthy New Year]
How goals can be like good friends
Goals should be like friends. You should pick them wisely. They should be something that you like to be around, that encourages you, and that comforts you.
A good friend helps you keep perspective when things get rough. He or she knows just what to say when you are making a mistake or forgetting something important. When you make your goals, you should create friends for yourself.
Too many people treat goals like enemies – something to be conquered, something in the distance waiting to crush them. Enemies are something to be avoided, and certainly not trusted.
You want your goals to be something you look forward to spending time with. They should always be beckoning you with a cheerful, “You can do it!” They should greet you with a, “Good job!”
Designing friendly goals
So how can we design friendly goals?
- Make sure the goals are suited to you. You need to have things in common, like schedule, body type, and priorities.
- Have goals that aren’t always gossiping about other people. Your goals need to be about your improvement and satisfaction, not constantly comparing you to others. Comparison for positive example is one thing, but if it is discouraging you, then don’t do it.
- Find goals that are reasonably flexible. Good friends know there is always some give and take. Things come up that we have to attend to. Misunderstandings need to be worked out.
- Choose positive goals. It wears a person down to be thinking negatively. Instead of a negative goal like “not be so tired all the time,” think in terms of “I want to have fun hiking with my family.”
- Build depth of meaning into your goals. Instead of the one-dimensional “I want to firm up my abs,” think of filling out the goal with things like, “I want to have a stronger back, I want to be able to feel more confident when dancing, I want to wear a bikini on my next trip to the beach.”
- Make goals that have a strong element of fun, both in the journey to them and at the result. Be ready to mountain bike some great trails during the summer or prepare to be able to garden to your heart’s delight in the spring.
- Design your evaluation to provide positive feedback. Avoid telling yourself, “you should have done better.” If you always do that it is setting yourself up for failure and it can discourage you from further goals. We can almost always do better, but we need to give ourselves credit for the progress we make first. Only after we have done that is it time to set new goals.
- Pick time frames for your goals that are a balance of giving you enough time to make some progress, but not so far out that that they seem irrelevant. Experiment with time frames if you need to. Like any friendship, spending time together is important.
- Don’t make goals you have no intention of keeping. We all have those acquaintances who say they are going to call, but never do. They never really become friends, no matter how friendly they act when you see them once in a while.
You are never too old to make goals
Making goals is the beginning of creating a plan to get you the results you want. We all have limits and we all have opportunities. We all have physical strengths and weaknesses. We all have likes and dislikes. Be honest with yourself and you will make better goals. Better goals means goals that you are more likely to reach and rejoice in. Reaching your goals will provide a good foundation for the next goal.
We are never too old to make goals or enjoy progress. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Just continue being an example of the results of well designed goals and you will probably inspire people of all ages.