My Mom made me run cross country at Cary High School. I wasn't the fastest but I'm so glad she made me do it. Thanks, Mom.
Junior year I enjoyed running so much I ran track too. I still love running to this day and have even run a few half marathons and one full (not recommended). I also love running since there are no ridiculous obstacles like hurdles to block my path, just the open trail and the track ahead.
Never understood hurdles. Running not hard enough for ya? Hurdlers say Let's add an obstacle every 10 yards!
I guess they need a challenge? Or maybe they see the hurdle as an athletically poetic metaphor for life?
See, we all set a goal of some sort this time of year. The question is How do we set the perfect goal?
We've all set the standard goals: I am going to do lose weight, read more, or save more. How much success have we had with those?
For 2020 mine was to read 20 books in a year, and to pick them from my stack on the bookshelf. (OK I have another stack on my bedside table. And another on my desk, but anyways.)
We have to be honest with ourselves. So, I drop my target number. Lower the hurdle! Yes, it's humbling. But it's better.
Now just how low do you go? (Maybe the limbo is another applicable metaphor.)
You offend yourself. Let me explain.
I'll ask myself Can I read 2 books in a year? Geez. Seriously?! Of course I can read 2 books over the course of a whole year. OK, how about 3? Definitely. How about 5 then? Sure. 8? I think I can do that. 10? Ummmm... yes.
Start from the bottom up, and see what offends you. Then, slowly raise the "hurdle" height - your goal - to a manageable level, then up one more notch. You'll see how you start feeling uncomfortable as the goal gets higher and higher. I ended up reading just 11 out of the 20 I planned to read in 2020 so I learned 20 was too high. And my new goal to read 14 books in 2021 is humbling a bit since I had high hopes last year.
We will set our goal at the perfect "height" or the perfect target number if it's between manageable and a bit of a stretch, but not so high that we're guaranteed to fail.
Exactly. Our goals should be a little "Ouch" or a little humbling since we perhaps haven't achieved this new level before. But it should be below "Boing" too, not bouncing too far beyond what we can achieve.
Now it's your turn to offend yourself. As you raise the bar, you'll start to fee uncomfortable, and you're close at that point. You'll find that perfect target. Think of this skill of offending yourself and adjusting your goal as a newfound strength in manipulating numbers. Then go out and run over that hurdle.
Next post: Remember the Why! Keeping at the forefront of your mind the reason for having a goal in the first place is tantamount to achieving it.
P.S. Consider giving yourself a head start as you consider your next goal.
Mark B. Anderson
Tutor & Founder, Strength in Numbers Tutoring