It is important to set goals to keep oneself motivated and moving forward. When we are young, those goals are obvious – graduate from high school, make the varsity team, get accepted into a college, buy a house, get married, get pregnant. But what are your personal goals when you’ve achieved the obvious milestones of success. To keep what you’ve achieved feels imperative but also unsatisfying.
As a parent it’s so easy to get wrapped up in our children’s lives and to mistake them for our own goals and to become so focused on them that we lose sight of our own identities. It’s so easy to get lost in the small minutiae of our daily tasks and to mistake them for true personal goals and ambitions. We feel a success because we have done these tasks, but we lose ourselves and our dreams to the busy-ness of just getting through our to-do list.
I’ve been feeling somewhat adrift lately. Five years ago I set a goal of running a half marathon at Disney World. Since that time, I have run two half marathons at Disney World as well as half marathons in Houston (2) and New Orleans. This year, in addition to the half marathon, I ran a 10K the day before to complete the “Fairytale Challenge”. The half marathon the following day was one of the harder things I’ve done physically – I wasn’t sufficiently prepared for the toll on my body from walking around the parks and running a 10K, not to mention getting up at 2:45AM two days in a row! I feel proud to have accomplished my goals, but also disappointed that I wasn’t faster or better.
Now I question whether I can summon the drive and dedication to train again and try again. To run longer runs. To train the distance that I didn’t adequately train last time. To resist the siren call of the parks in between races so as to better recover. To put a long term personal goal ahead of the minutiae for another year.
I have noticed that when I feel adrift my mind turns to escape – to travel, to a desire to go anywhere, be anywhere, do anything different than what and where I am at the moment. I want to plan trips, vacations, buy vacation homes we cannot afford. I want to toss out my therapeutic practice in favor of a career as a travel agent so as to have reasons to travel multiple times a year. I find myself watching documentaries about people climbing mountains like Everest, reading Anthony Bourdain’s books about travel, envying an adventurous life.
But how can a 42 year old mom from Houston become one of those larger than life adventurers. Do I have the drive to relinquish some comfort in favor of my drive to see and experience? I am not an athlete or a genius. I am a normal person, how does a normal person approach the extraordinary.
I think we all need to keep an eye fixed on the extraordinary. Not because we all need to achieve at the outer limits of human ability, but because the extraordinary keeps us moving keeps us dreaming, keeps us innovating and changing.
I’m going to explore the idea of goal setting in this and coming entries. Of my own goals and techniques for working towards them. To breaking down the big dream to smaller targets and then to action items and accountability in motion towards them. What are your dreams and goals? I’m trying to find my own and find inspiration in others.