Happy 2018 – Day 72 – What if we set goal systems instead of goals?

Today, I’m throwing in a cheeky re-blog of a post from my business site, Skills with Frills. I’m really interested in this idea of creating a goal system, rather than a goal. And as it happens, I recently had a momentary lapse of sanity and agreed to do a ‘Tough Mudder.’ If you haven’t heard of it – it’s a hellish obstacle run, through mud, ice, electrocution and misery. What can I say? Peer pressure!

Clearly, this is an opportunity to test out my goal structures. 

Take a look at this teeny tiny video clip if you’re unsure what this is…

Think about it. On a personal level, this could mean that instead of telling yourself that your goal is to lose 2 stones in weight – and then spending 3 months in a state of perpetual failure – you might instead set a target of working out for 40 minutes a day. One day into this and you’re already a success! There’s nothing to stop you having a goal in mind, but if you’re more invested in the goal system, then it’s your daily action that defines you.

Years ago, I completed a marathon. As a former fat-kid and all-round sloth, I’d expected to feel pretty amazing at the end of this. Instead, I felt nothing. Looking back on this now, I see that I was entirely focused on the end goal – the marathon itself.

I trained 4 times a week; spending hours some nights on the treadmill, bored out of my skull; legs screaming. For 6 whole months, I had to forego Friday night pizza and prosecco so that I could be a fraction less miserable during the hellish Saturday morning runs, the longest of the week. When I wasn’t running, my teaching job at the time ate what was left of my soul.

I tell you this because looking back I can see that the journey to the marathon was a massive achievement, but at the time and afterwards, I never really acknowledged that the incredible progress I’d made or the commitment I’d shown. It was all about the marathon. And because I wasn’t especially happy with my time, racing to 6 hours with the road sweeper right on my tail, I didn’t feel like I’d achieved what I wanted to. Nor did I really enjoy the experience. Had I focused on the goal system of training four times a week, I would have felt like a winner every day, regardless of the end result. 

This time around, I won’t make the same mistakes.

Instead, I’ll look to find different ways to train each day and I’ll make sure I acknowledge my success on a daily basis. Of course I’ll look to do my best on the day itself, at the end of July, but the experience won’t mean any more or less than every other day that I set myself the challenge of training.

We live in a world of instant gratification: isn’t it time we used this to our benefit?

Have you fallen foul to peer pressure and found yourself crawling through muddy hell? Any tips? Have you had experience with goal-setting or goal-systems? Thoughts welcome:


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