Instead of Setting Goals, Set Challenges

by | Jan 14, 2020 | Experiences, Peter's Voice

As we embark upon the new year and decade, many of us set goals we want to achieve.

And, really, aren’t many of these goals, the same as we’ve set before? Maybe we want to lose weight, earn more money, make a transition, or some other objective.

What if instead of looking at a goal, we look at the challenge we want to overcome?

When we think of goals, we think of a destination. We think once we achieve our goal, our life will be better. Something wonderful will happen, and all (or at least some) of our problems will suddenly disappear.

Both of us are goal-oriented, with Beth much more so than I.

However, we’ve realized that as we achieve our goals, nothing magical happens. We tend to dismiss the accomplishment and almost immediately move on to what’s next.

Challenges focus on the journey. Goals focus on the result.

With a challenge, all the steps along the way matter, and that’s where the emphasis and energy is. Beth and I started CrossFit last year. CrossFit is all about challenges. You really can’t win, but you can have a ton of fun in the process. As we work towards the goal of improving our pull-ups or toe-to-bar exercises, we know there is no end result. Just a daily challenge of getting a little stronger, more flexible, and fitter. The journey.

When we focus on a goal, we can get bored with the process because the end can feel so far out of reach. We don’t see the journey as part of the fun, but as an impediment to achieving the goal, and we become more and more aware of the gap between where we are and where we want to be. We end up resenting the work and wish we could just be done with the whole mess and get to the result.

We’ve learned it’s the journey that matters. It’s what we do, how we think and feel on a daily, hourly, and minute by minute basis that makes the difference. It’s the energy we share while we are working towards our goal that matters.

As you consider your goals for the year, think about the challenges behind them.

For example, say you want to lose weight. Instead of focusing on the 15 pounds you want to lose, consider the challenge of eating, exercising, or thinking differently each day.

By focusing on the challenge of behaving differently, you immediately shift to a place of empowerment.

Instead of focusing on what you don’t want (the 15 pounds), challenge yourself to do something you can (eat, exercise, or think differently).

Try starting with small challenges. As you see yourself succeed with them, consider adding more throughout the year. By the end of the year, you may find yourself with many little successful journeys that lead you to achieving your goals!

And by all means, celebrate your successes. Each time you meet the challenge you set, congratulate yourself! The encouragement, gratitude, and overall joy of your accomplishments will lead to many more.

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