Ahhh, Setting Goals
Maybe you should make a crazy one, like hiking the 221-mile John Muir Trail (JMT).
I know someone who did just that. Meet Kevin, my husband.
So, six years ago Kevin and our brother-in-law David hiked up Half Dome in Yosemite. Prior to that they, with a few other adventurers, son Kev Jr., son-in-law Richard, and Kevin’s brother Howard, hiked Mt. Whitney seven years ago. Both achievements are no small feats.
It was at Half Dome that Kevin decided to put the John Muir Trail hike on his bucket list, but it wasn’t until he sold his company last year that he was able to start thinking more seriously about it. After all, it takes about 3 weeks to do and is rather difficult to pull off while running a business.
The hike is coming up soon! And he recruited Half Dome hiking buddy David to come along. Preparations and training have gradually been escalating, especially since the beginning of the year. Kevin has been hiking with his backpack, adding more and more weight. Currently he has been hiking with at least 27 pounds, and looking for as many hills as he can find.
Hey, let’s interview him!
Me: What are some major steps you have taken to prepare for the JMT trail besides frequent hiking?
Kevin: Eating better – pretty much Paleo with moderate amounts of cheats; losing weight; working on mental stamina (saying no to myself, pushing through discomfort).
Me: What supplements do you think have helped you with your health in the past six to twelve months?
Kevin: Vital Reds (my addition: a powdered blend of concentrated polyphenols from Gundry MD), Omega-3 fish oil, and vitamin D3. I don’t really like supplements, but these 3 have made a huge difference to my energy and skin. (Me again: I included links to the ones we use.)
Me: What changes have you noticed with your heart rate the more you have trained?
Kevin: Last July my resting heart was 71. It has been gradually getting lower. It is now 60. I can track it on my Garmin.
Me: What other changes have you noticed?
Kevin: My problems with gout have disappeared, I feel more energetic, I crave healthier foods, and I have lost 12 pounds.
Me: Tell us about other preparations that you have needed to make.
Kevin: Collecting and buying needed equipment; a lot of research on how to resupply during the 3 weeks; trail etiquette; the trail itself; safety; best kinds of food to bring; weighing everything to the ounce to keep total carrying weight under 30 pounds; studying maps; & lots of reading and YouTube video’s.
Me: What do you hope to accomplish by doing the JMT hike?
Kevin: Enjoy God’s glorious creation, enjoy the solitude, being off the grid, off social media, experience minimalism. I also wanted to push myself beyond what I felt I was I capable of when I put this on my bucket list.
Me: What challenges do you think you will face on the trail?
Kevin: High altitudes-starting at 4,000 feet going up to over 14,000 feet, with ascents and descents all along going over multiple mountain passes; high river crossings, snow fields, icy paths due to a 200% snowfall this year; unpredictable elements like rain, hail, snow, lightening, heat, cold, wild animals; the rigors of covering, on average, 11 miles a day.
Hmmm, I wonder what David has to say about all of this?
Me: What has been your biggest challenge in getting ready for this adventure?
Meet another big goal setter
My daughter Tara, who is an ER nurse, is going to be doing a half-Ironman triathlon soon. She has done marathons a number of times, but just did her first triathlon in May. This is what she shared about how she went about it:
“I had thought about it since high school just kind of like, ‘I hope to try that one day’. I am not exactly sure when, but sometime last year I decided I wanted to do it before I turned 40. (That didn’t work out due to some unforeseen circumstances, but that’s life, right?).
So, the first of this year I wrote out my goal list and made my annual vision board, which included a triathlon. I started using the Simple Elephant Planner a couple of years ago and highly recommend it. Anyway, in February, I decided I would do the one in May (Olympic distance) and started ramping up training. I do well with things when I write them down. And also… when I put out the money and sign up, I don’t wimp out of training, knowing I invested money in something. I wrote down in my planner each Sunday my workouts for the week based on my changing work schedule, and just followed that. No real official plan, but a plan I felt was doable for me.
I started by just swimming 700 yards in the gym pool and worked up to swimming 4 times that far in the local lake. I bought a cheap bike off craigslist and learned to road bike slowly. The first time I got on the bike I fell in my garage, just tipped right over and hurt my hand and hit my head. Haha. I fell waiting at stop lights the first 2 times I rode. (I got stuck in the clips)
I worked out 6-10 times a week. Before work I’d either get up to work out at home in the garage (bike trainer, treadmill, circuit training, or core)… or at the gym (where it opens at 4:30 a.m., so I could get a swim in). I woke up at 3:50 a.m. most work days to fit in a workout because I have to be gone from home from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. 3 days a week, and that’s too many days to take off.
I relied on a little bit of advice from some friends who have done one or two of these, but mostly just figured things out as I went along.”
Some Goals to Consider
Now, I am not suggesting that you need to take on such an endeavor as a 221-mile backpacking trip or a triathlon. In fact, neither are on my list, but consider what you might set as a goal that can challenge you. Then break it into doable steps that will get you to your goal.
Some goals to consider: Losing X amount of pounds by 2020, running a 5K or half-marathon, de-junking your home, lowering your blood pressure or blood glucose levels, becoming a ping pong expert, getting out of debt, buying a home, learning a new language or how to play an musical instrument. And that’s just to name a few! The list is endless.
Anyway, the point is to challenge yourself. Dream big even!
One of My Biggest Goals that I Achieved
(Excerpted from my 7/17/19 email newsletter – See what you are missing! Sign up here to be a subscriber. I pledge not to be annoying or spammy.)
Many years ago I decided I wanted to become a registered nurse.
It is almost laughable how long it took me to become one, but eventually I got my 2-year degree as an RN, then my 4-year degree. I hope my story will be an encouragement to follow your dreams and make far-fetched goals, even if they may seem out of your reach.
So, here goes. When the youngest of my six children was a 1-year old, I started taking one class at a time at the local community college, one night a week in the evening. Pretty doable, although it still was a stretch with the money, the energy, and the time commitment.
Fifteen years later, I graduated as an RN from Moorpark Community College. Yes, fifteen years later. During the course of that time I veered 3 times from my RN goal pursuit. Also kind of laughable.
The 3 diversions were: 1) when I thought I would write children’s books instead, so I took a creative writing class and wrote a few stories. Gave that up. 2) A little later, I decided to partner up with my sister Paula to start a business making mosaic tables. Well, we each made one and they were quite exquisite, but we decided if we sold them we would have made about 10 cents an hour. Back to my nursing pursuit, until, 3) the third and last diversion, and probably the most ridiculous one, was the idea of starting a butterfly business with a friend. We even bought the manual on how to do it, and I took an accounting class to help. But after we got done reading the manual, we figured out that if we became butterfly farmers, we would have no life outside of raising butterflies for weddings; they are such needy little creatures.
In total, each of those diversions took about a semester each. Other than that I kept plodding along toward my nursing degree goal. Yes, for fifteen years, 1991-2006.
Then 6 years later I started working on my Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (BSN) at a university, most of it online. I graduated with my BSN in 2016. Talk about the slow plan!
But it all got me to my goal. And I have no regrets.
I am definitely the tortoise, not the hare, with career and education goals. In the future I hope to publish a book by the time I am 90.
Why Goal Setting is Important
“If you aim at nothing you will hit it every time”. Zig Ziglar, a motivational speaker, is famous for saying this.
Goals help you become a better person. Jim Rohn, business philosopher, puts it like this in his book, 7 Strategies for Wealth & Happiness, “The major reason for setting goals is to compel you to become the person it takes to achieve them”.
Also, “Goals are like a magnet – they pull.” Jim Rohn, in The Jim Rohn Guide to Goal Setting. Rohn talks about how goals not only pull you toward a purpose, but they also pull you through distractions, down seasons, and even disasters. That is a very interesting perspective to me that I had never really considered before.
Goals help you live a larger life. They provide a richness, add an element of excitement and anticipation.
Goals give you a path, a direction, something to head towards. I think of a football game. It would be impossible to play without goals. What? Players just running around like crazy.
Goals help you obtain what you want and even need.
Goals can increase your happiness level.
Goals stretch you.
Goals help you accomplish more.
Having a goal is the opposite of aimlessness. Nuff said.
10 Ideas on How to Accomplish Your Goal
- Write down your goal.
- Then write down major and minor steps needed to achieve that goal.
- Jack Canfield, author of The Success Principles, claims that you need to be specific about 2 things if you want to your subconscious mind unleashed to help out: how much and by when. He gave an example for the goal “I want to lose weight” saying, “I will weigh 185 pounds by 5 p.m., January 1, 2017”.
- Find role models and do what they did.
- Read motivational books. Often.
- Have enough reasons why this goal is important to you.
- Schedule time to work on your goal, so that it is not just wishful thinking.
- Start. Take the first step.
- Do not allow procrastination.
- Diligently pursue.
Downsides of Pursuing Goals
There are downsides to almost everything, even drinking water. But here are some things to watch out for and guard against when you are working towards your goals. After all, you don’t want to make yourself and those around you miserable.
- The danger of focusing on yourself too much and self-absorption. Keeping other people in mind is the antidote here.
- Anxiety or depression if you start thinking you are not progressing fast enough or if there are unforeseen interruptions. You can borrow what I’ve been telling myself a lot lately: “Trust God and just roll with it!”.
- Frustration. What can help? Smile and deep breathe. Say to yourself, “This is hard. But that’s okay. I’ve done hard things before'”.
- Feeling overwhelmed. Use the same advice as the one for frustration.
- Life can become unbalanced. It takes a little planning sometimes to keep the balance. I created a Balanced Life Worksheet, which I still find valuable in my own life. You can get a copy by signing up as an email subscriber for my newsletter.
- Making the goal a god. Don’t allow yourself to love the goal too much. Be ready to abandon it if it is required of you.
- Allowing your goal to be your identity. Remember, you are you, with or without the goal.
Things to ask yourself when contemplating actions so that you don’t self-sabotage
- Does this further my goals?
- Will this strengthen or weaken my resolve?
- Will this build a healthy habit that will help me accomplish my goal or will it tear one down?
- Am I progressing toward my goal? If not, what is hindering me or what do I need to do differently?
As a Christian, I try to overlay a biblical worldview on everything I do and think. I often remind myself of this verse to keep me in line, “Therefore, we have as our ambition…to be pleasing to Him” 2 Corinthians 5:9 (NASB). That is my ultimate goal. So, I try to make sure my goals are things that God wants me to be doing. This gives me freedom to pursue them, and confidence that the Lord will help me in my undertakings.
Remember, your goal does not have to be some athletic feat. Rather it should be something that interests you, causes you to grow, and helps you accomplish something beneficial.
You have been created for a purpose. The world is here for you to enjoy and waiting for your contributions and your explorations.
“Be awesome, be wonderful!” Kevin said those words to me as I was nervously walking out the door to my speech class. Those four words emboldened me. So I will say them to you in regards to your new endeavors: “Be awesome, be wonderful!”
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In addition to writing articles and working as an RN in a busy clinic, I also do health/life coaching. If you are interested in a free 20-minute consultation to see if we would be a good fit working together, click here. In addition, I am a consultant for Beautycounter, a wonderful company that provides safer, very high performing skin care products and makeup. I encourage you to check out Beautycounter.
You might also want to read these articles that I have written:
Vision Boards: The Why & the How
You Are Never Too Old: Exploring Your Possibilities