Embarking on the Incredible Journey of Goal Setting
Within each goal lies an unseen journey; an adventure waiting to be unleashed by someone plunging into the commitment. My goals have evolved over time; each time I revisit and reset my goals, I find myself gravitating toward new focus, priorities, friends, and even rekindling all sorts of things from my past. Goals have become the roadmap of my life.
Regardless of size or shape of a goal, here are seven techniques I have found that support me in setting and reaching my goals.
1) Begin with Meditation
Spend time observing your desires before committing. Being mindful of what it is that you truly want requires meditation and reflection. Why do you want this in your life? Are you internally or externally motivated? Eliminate the ego, let go of the "fear of missing out" and find a connection to yourself and your desires from every aspect of your mind, body, and spirit.
2) Take Action
Get started by setting small achievable goals to get yourself closer to realizing the big goal. I had a violin teacher that told me constantly, "Inch by inch it's a cinch, yard by yard it's hard." Achieving intermediate goals builds your confidence, helps you gain experience, teaches you patience and allows for celebrating small victories along the way.
3) Be a Sponge
Identify mentors and learn as much as you can from them. At a big competition, my college track coach encouraged me to talk to one of my heroes who was an American record holder, and I walked away from that conversation with a whole new perspective. She shared thoughts on her training, life after college and her diet. I learned so much in five minutes! Be a student: read anything you can get your hands on to get you closer to your goals. Hold on to the gems of wisdom that serve you and let the rest pass you by.
4) Empower Yourself and Commit
Take responsibility for yourself and the goals that you've set. Don't blame, make excuses, compare, complain, ignore your weaknesses or flake on yourself. YOU are either going to do this or you're not, and it's up to you and you alone. You have the potential and power – so tap into it.
As you meditate, set goals and reflect on them, record your journey. Consider: What is easy? What is hard? Why am I doing this? It's a wonderful source of encouragement when motivation might be waning and it's another avenue of listening to yourself.
6) Deal with Setbacks, Roadblocks, and Challenges
Just because you've set a goal, written it down and done some meditating doesn't guarantee it’s going to come easy. I've broken my wrist, blown my ACL and dealt with other pretty rough challenges on the journey to accomplishing my goals. And, I’ve observed my peers enduring their own struggles along their paths as well. It's not harder or easier for anyone (remember the rule, no comparing!).
Embrace setbacks: they’re inevitable. The challenges that arise while accomplishing goals are what make them worth achieving. Enduring setbacks, overcoming hardships and making sacrifices are all a part of the glory of standing atop the mountain of the goal you set.
When you run into challenges, try using a mantra to get you through. A battle I've observed within myself and the athletes I've coached was questioning whether or not I was worthy of attaining my desires. Here are a couple mantras I've used:
If not me, who? I am worthy of my journey.
My goals give me wings. It is up to me to fly.
Breathe and achieve.
7) Embrace the journey
Remember, this whole thing is a journey. And, that journey is more important than the goal itself. Goals, in a way, are an excuse for adventuring, trying and embracing life and all it has to offer. If it doesn't go exactly as you planned, PERFECT! It's more entertaining that way. There are thousands of uplifting books in libraries and stores about incredible feats of the human spirit: in exactly none of them did everything go as planned.
All the best on your journey and don't forget to share your story!
Educator Melissa Harms is the National Outdoor Education Director and Regional Coordinator of the Rockies Region for the nonprofit organization SheJumps, which strives to increase female participation in outdoor activities by building upon a supportive community that inspires members to reach their highest potential. Prior to her work with SheJumps, Harms spent a decade competing and coaching Division I athletics. Harms is an artist of adventure and the outdoors, her guiding inspiration. She is an active member of Larimer County Search and Rescue and enjoys skiing, climbing, mountaineering, knitting, gardening, spending time with her friends and family and YOGA!. Harms currently leads classes at Yoga Luna in Loveland, Colorado.