We are coming up on the end of the year and you know what that means…New Years Resolutions!
Not really. Well, sorta. I don’t call them new years resolutions because that term has backdoors built into it. If I’m calling it a new years resolution, then that means I plan on giving up on it.
Goals, on the other hand, are very different to me. Yes, I am still resolving to do something, but it is measurable and has time restraints on it which makes it achievable. Achieving a goal creates focus and direction. The work yields other fruit as well, such as perseverance, creativity, and other personal improvements. Resolutions seek these same personal improvements, but have no guidance or direction on how to achieve them. Now that I think about it, a new years resolution is just a desire to have the fruit but not do the work.
I want to focus on a specific aspect of goal setting though. A goal is future focused, where a resolution is focused on the immediate. Why is it so important to have a future goal?
I know I sort of said this already, but we need to have a future goal so we have direction.
I am working with my daughters on learning to ride their scooters. They focus down on their feet which results in them swerving out into the rocks or the road and crashing getting nowhere. I tell them to find a point further out in front of them to focus on and then they stay in the middle and progress much faster. This is the same lesson we all got when we were learning to drive. This has very real life applications.
A goal in the future is that focus point that is further out. Having that focus point further away helps us make minor adjustments. When our focus is too narrow, every little variation will seem like a big change. Because it seems like a big change, we will compensate equally in the opposite. The reality is that these variations are very small and require small adjustments.
Think about it. When we go on our diet, what do we do? We focus on the cookies we just ate, or the ice cream, and think, “oh crap, ok, well that means I have to run until the soles of my feet bleed to make up for it.” These extremes create burn out and ultimately we quit because we feel terrible (constant shame and punishment anyone?). The reality is that our body doesn’t pack on fat as quickly as that. If you just make the small adjustment to getting back on your diet and sticking to your exercise routine without punishment, you will keep your commitment and lose more weight.
Let’s use 2021 as an opportunity to apply the future focus lesson to our own lives. Lets forgive ourselves and make small adjustments to stay on course. Living this life is the best lesson we can teach our kids for the pursuit of happiness.