Today marks SIX MONTHS until I go for it! This is something I have wanted to try for a long time, but through the last 14 years of pregnancies and babies, I just never felt the time was right. But now it is. And so six months from today, I will be running in the Huntsville Marathon, attempting to qualify for the Boston Marathon!
Fifteen years ago, I was training for my first ever marathon. I had never run any race longer than eight miles before, but I heard a lady talking about her experience running a marathon, and with my sister for support, we decided we could do it too! Our goal was just to finish, and hopefully run the whole thing. We trained at a leisurely ten-minute-mile pace, which at the time, I thought was great. And it was. We were newbies, and just putting in that many miles gave us awesome feelings of accomplishment and amazement at what our bodies were capable of doing. We ran the Ogden Marathon, and I finished in 4:10. And I just KNEW it would not be my last marathon.
But so far, it has been my only marathon. As a mom, I have found training for half marathons to work well for me, and over the past several years, I have gotten faster each time I run one. Last summer, I really went for it, wanting to run the half in 1:30. I just missed my mark, finishing in 1:31. But then I knew it was time. I’m ready to go for the bucket list item—qualify for and run in the Boston Marathon. I am super excited, and nervous, and motivated, and NERVOUS (did I already mention that?!?)
Thinking about this today has got me wanting to talk about GOALS and how important they can be in our lives, and in our health.
Remember in Alice in Wonderland, when Alice asks the Cheshire cat which way she should go? He replies, “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.” Alice then says, “I don’t much care where—“, to which the cat, with wisdom, answers, “Then it doesn’t matter which way to walk.” Sadly, I think this is the way many people live their lives; they just wander aimlessly, and let life happen to them, rather than deciding where they want to go, and then taking the path to get there. This is why goals are so important. I want to live my life on purpose.
There are three main types of goals I want us to think about: Mission, Biggies, and Lifestyle. They are all a little different, but each important if we want to live a life on purpose.
MISSION GOALS—These goals are like the arch over top of all our other goals. They define our purpose and give us a structure under which to build everything else we want to achieve. I think it’s important to have a MISSION for your life, as well as for any other large task you are undertaking. Here are a couple examples. Several years ago, I wanted to create a mission statement for my life, and since then it has guided me so many times, both in small, daily choices as well as the bigger decisions in my life. My MISSION goal is “Anxiously engaged in a good cause.” I often ask myself, “Is this a good cause?” If it is, it has a place in my life. If not, I need to evaluate whether it gets to stay. This MISSION goal has helped me be involved in many good things, and I really don’t watch much Netflix (no offense, Netflix watchers. 😉 ) It has also made me ask myself, “Am I being engaged? Anxiously?? I don’t just want to float through my life. I want to engage in it. Anxiously.
I also knew when I started this blog that to stay focused and motivated, to know where it is I want to go, I would need a MISSION goal as well. And so the MISSION of Project Love Your Body is to help women learn to love their bodies and create healthier versions of themselves. Knowing what my mission is helps me make decisions as I move forward with this project.
BIGGIE GOALS—These are big goals with distinct finishes. You make it or you don’t. These kinds of goals should scare you just a little, like qualifying for the Boston Marathon. These are the goals that truly test our character, our ability to deal with adversity, our commitment. We learn and grow and change. These goals cannot be achieved from within the safety of our comfort zones. The greatest thing about these goals is that even if we don’t achieve them, we still win. We want them. We strive for them. But in the pursuit of them, we become a better version of ourselves.
I coached volleyball for ten years, eight of those as a high school assistant coach. I loved it and had so many great experiences. Goal setting was very important to our staff, and we taught this practice to our teams. We had several seasons where our team set the goal to be state champions. Definitely a BIGGIE. That goal was the driving force behind every practice, every game, every decision we made, every effort the girls made. But for us, as coaches, it wasn’t our mission. Our mission was much bigger than state championships. We never did win a state title (2nd place four times!) But by working toward a BIGGIE goal, with our MISSION in mind, our teams were able to achieve so many other successes along the way. As long as your BIGGIES fit within your MISSION, you always succeed.
LIFESTYLE GOALS—Lifestyle goals are different from BIGGIE or MISSION goals in that they feel smaller. However, their power for growth and change can be just as big. Lifestyle goals are the goals that help us break old habits, create new habits, or help us work toward improvement in an aspect of our life. They typically don’t have a specific end, like a BIGGIE does. These are things like pray daily, be a better friend, drink 64 oz. of water a day, go on a date with my husband once a month, and work on thinking positive thoughts about my body. I love to set a couple of LIFESTYLE goals as New Year’s resolutions every year, not with the thought of just doing it for the year, but with the idea that these goals will become a part of my regular routine. Not all of them stick, but many have, and they have enriched my life.
I LOVE a good self-help book. And one of my favorites, probably because I worked with teenagers for so many years as a coach, is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey. Or maybe I’m just kind of a simple-minded person, so this version of the habits just speaks to me so well. Either way, one of the Habits is “Begin With The End in Mind.” Within that topic, Covey gives five fabulous keys for setting goals.
- Count the Cost. Before setting a goal, think through it. What will it take? Are you willing? Is it worth it to you? If the answer to these questions is “Ummmm….”, you may want to re-think things. Don’t forget to think through all the benefits as well. Weigh things out. Maybe it will be hard, but the potential for personal growth makes you say YES!
- Put It To Pen. “A goal not written is only a wish.” Write it down. And put it in a place where you will see it often. Studies show that writing something down helps our subconscious brain to embrace it. And man, if we could get our subconscious on board, wouldn’t that be great?!
- Just Do It! This is the hardest part. Our brain wants to protect us from negative emotion, and one of those is disappointment. It tells us, “What if you fail? Better to just not try. Or go ahead and try. But commit?? No. Too dangerous.” I LOVE this quote by W.H. Murray: “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. There is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans, that the moment one definitely commits oneself then providence moves too. All sorts of things begin to occur which would never otherwise have occurred, and a whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and material assistance which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.” It’s TRUE! So tell your brain to calm down, and JUST DO IT!
- Use Momentous Moments. I mentioned that I like to set New Year’s Resolutions. But this is only one of these moments in life that lend themselves to momentum, power, and motivation for change. Take advantage of these moments and set a goal. Some of these moments include: a new job, a move, a birth, a death, an anniversary, a setback, a marriage, a divorce, a new home, a new look, or simply a new day.
- Rope Up. I LOVE this one! It refers to mountain climbers roping themselves together when ascending a challenging mountain. Roping up to achieve our goals helps us to keep going, to not back down; the ropes catch us when we lose our balance and stabilize us until we can regain our footing and move forward once again. Use friends, family, mentors, or anybody you think will help you achieve your goals—you can use ME if you want! By roping up, we can strengthen each other as we set our goals and live our lives on purpose.
What are your goals? Write them down—one MISSION, one BIGGIE, and one LIFESTYLE goal. And let’s Rope Up! Share at least one of your goals in the comments. I would love to know you better, and one of the best ways to know a person is by knowing who they want to be.
Love your body, and your body will love you. ♥