You know how when you’re dieting—when you have a goal to fit into that special outfit for your friend’s wedding and you have six weeks to get there—you know exactly how much you can indulge and how much you need to plan each meal? You spend those six weeks fully in the mindset of someone with a plan and a commitment. It’s exciting to get the to wedding feeling good about your accomplishment and looking great.
What I’m about to tell you is that you feel accomplished because of the thoughtfulness behind the process. You could have crash-dieted and starved yourself ten days before the event. But you know that you would have been miserable every one of those ten days, and likely at the wedding too, because your energy levels would be erratic and your body would be reeling from the sudden shock to your system.
When fixing a point in your future, ask yourself if it is good for everyone involved. Am I going to be exhausted and out of sorts if I commit to a marathon without enough time to train for it? Will my family enjoy the duck and cover if I am? Will completing the goal be at all enjoyable? Or was it just something I said I’d do, so I’m doing it?
It’s the Thought That Counts
I can’t tell you how many times I have jumped into action on a goal totally unprepared because I worried I’d feel left out if I didn’t rise to the challenge. That goes for all of the examples I listed above. My biggest (and most current) understanding, as I limp out of a real estate crash, contemplate my city’s upcoming marathon, and plan what to wear to my high school reunion, is to be thoughtful about what I’m agreeing to, rather than agreeing based on false sense of self.
When you’re truly conscious about all the aspects of a challenge, you realize that the preparing for it is half the achievement. The biggest set-up is when you get so focused on the goal, you forget it’s about the process, about the exercise. The same thing goes with financial planning, marathon running, real estate buying, spending less that you earn, losing ten pounds…just about any goal setting one can do.
It’s All the same
Challenge: I love running. I can will myself through my city’s upcoming marathon without the proper preparation, but it won’t be satisfying. It will be painful, and will be a hollow victory without all of the fun of the training runs.
Health: I’m determined to lose ten pounds at all costs. So, I do a liquids-only master cleanse, and get so fixated that I forget my real goal is to have a healthy, fit body that weighs less over time.
Money: The concept, “I’ll do whatever I can to get out of debt,” caused people to roll their credit card debt into equity, and now they’re paying 20 to 50 times the interest on that same credit card debt over time than they would have if they had paid the regular amount due plus a little on principle.
If you’re not holding all of your core needs and all of your desires in mind when you make a choice, and you’re only focused on the goal, you miss the juiciest part of your accomplishment: its sustainability.
Originally published on GreenSherpa