Three Tips for Goal Achievement: Lessons in Jogging

Today, for the first time in months, I went jogging.

To be clear, I really dislike jogging.

And yet, jog I did.

It took three different realizations to motivate me to make the decision to do it, and I’d like to share them with you here.

Who knows? Maybe my experience could help you.

Number One: I Can Do It Badly

As I posted last time, I am trying to adopt the motto of “do it badly.” When my perfectionism or anxiety get in the way of my progression, I just have to tell myself that I’m allowed to do a bad job at the things I want to accomplish.

I want a healthy lunch but I’m not as good a cook as my husband? Slap together whatever feels like a positive, healthy meal and make a mental note to ask him for advice later.

I want to write a blog post but I’m afraid it is going to turn off more readers than it turns on? Just sit down and start writing—you can’t control what other people think of you.

I want to exercise for my mental and physical health but jogging makes me feel like an asthmatic giraffe? Put on your gym shorts and get out on the sidewalk anyway.

Even if you “fail” by your old rigid standards, you will actually succeed by taking that first step.

Number Two: Things Aren’t Going to Get Better

My husband and I are out of the country right now, but we’re scheduled to return home in a few weeks. I am a self-declared homebody and for weeks I have been imagining all the wonderful things that are going to happen when I return to my hometown.

Then my mother decided to burst my bubble.

Last night while we were talking on the phone, she reminded me that people always think things are going to improve in the near future.

As soon as I get a promotion, I will spend more time with my kids.

When school starts, I will start taking better care of my health.

If we have a baby, our relationship problems will go away.

And I have to admit, I had started assigning positive changes to our return home. For instance, I was telling myself that once I got home, I would start jogging. But why would I suddenly find the time, energy, and motivation to jog at home if I couldn’t do it here?

Hence, I put on my tennis shoes today and pushed myself out the door.

There’s always going to be that next wedding you want to look good for, or that high school reunion you want to feel successful at. What matters is what you are doing every day, regardless of the next important event. Because, based on my own experience, those events will come and go, and you will be in the same place you started.

Decide what you want and then determine what you need to change today in order to achieve it.

Number Three: I Need a Growth Mindset

My husband packed about a dozen books to read for fun during his internship, and yesterday I decided to leaf through one. I ended up burning through a third of the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck in just a few hours, and it has had a profound impact on me.

I realized that because I have a “fixed mindset,” when hard things happen or I don’t do well at something, I tell myself that I am a failure. I think that if I am not naturally talented at something, I shouldn’t even bother trying.

However, if I can adopt a “growth mindset,” when things go wrong or I make mistakes, I can learn to tell myself that I am a developing human.

I can ask myself, “What can I learn from this situation?”

After all, the beauty of being human is knowing that we get to make mistakes and grow from them.

With a growth mindset, challenges aren’t a scary thing that could prove I am a failure; they are an opportunity to learn and adjust!

When I face setbacks and obstacles, I get to learn endurance, determination, and new strategies for success.

I don’t have to hear criticism and crumble. I can choose to try and improve. Criticism doesn’t diminish my core worth. It gives me an opportunity to be better, which is what life is all about.

And last but not least, when I hear of a friend who ran a marathon or a family member who finally lost their goal of 10 pounds, I don’t have to feel jealous or threatened.

I can be happy because I love them.

I can be inspired by their success.

And I can determine to work harder to achieve my own goals.

So even though I am not a “natural runner,” and I don’t enjoy running, I still want to make it a habit. And that will take diligence, patience, and hard work.

Conclusion: We Can Do This!

I am so proud of myself for jogging today. For fighting my anxiety and perfectionism and accomplishing a difficult goal I had set for myself. For changing my bad attitude.

I told myself it was okay to do a bad job. As long as I got out there and jogged for a while, it would be a success.

I decided that if I wasn’t working on it right now, I would never start.

And finally, I allowed myself to be a learning, growing human. Someone who needs to put in hard work and effort to make their goals happen.

I’m going to walk away from this experience with the knowledge that good things don’t come easy, and that’s okay.

Or maybe I’ll jog away. 🙂

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