So, some weeks are more inspiring than others… and last week I was fortunate enough to sit in on a goal setting presentation. Truth be told, I was not expecting to get much out of it, there has been a lot of gibber gabber about goals (including on this blog) and conflicting opinions and theories on the value of goals. If you set goals too high, you are bound to fail and feel like crap. If you set them too low, the euphoric feeling of accomplishment is short lived. *Sigh* how to win at this goal setting business?
And to add to the confusion, how to determine progress towards an intangible goal? I am analytical by nature and profession, so while at times I feel metrics are a bit of smoke and mirrors in the business world to make things appear better (or worse) than they are… I conversely feel they are quite valuable in personal goal setting. The easiest example that comes to mind is losing weight, if you set a goal to lose a few pounds, particularly with a date in mind pertaining to some reward or reason, monitoring that goal and the likelihood of achieving it is greater. There are facts abound to support this theory. The tangible results of fitting into clothes that were previously too tight is an amazing boost. You can FEEL it, physically. It’s real, no doubt about it.
Continually reevaluating, trying to find different techniques to ultimately conquer my striving goal of more patience, is where I struggle. Before the presentation last week I tried meditation, visualization, empathy, and a bunch of other stuff. And while I feel all of those techniques mentioned have their place and value in the world, they were not helping me get the results I desired. What I realized is that a goal of more patience wasn’t clear enough, solid enough, or tangible. So what to do?
The quest and frustration has continued, but I now see a hint of hope. The presenter last week was inspiring and used a simple trick that I think may just help me on my journey to patience. He stated that there can always be some sort of metric that will lend itself to improving what you are after. He talked about different examples, such as, documenting smiles in a day to be kinder or counting the swear words you use and writing the amount down with the goal to reduce anger outbursts. And he even addressed the allusive goal of more patience, citing examples he has tried and succeeded with to achieve that sought after patience with his own kids.
And through all the motivational speakers I have seen, through all the techniques I have tried, this one simple trick of adding a metric to an intangible goal really clicked for me. Such a simple, free, easy to implement practice. Notice I did not say solution, because I do not kid myself that I will ever have the patience of a saint. But that does not mean I will not continuously improve. That does not mean my journey will not be gratifying.
Perseverance, the will to try, to show up and mean it, to take a good look at yourself, your actions and stop blaming external factors on your well being… to accept… life. Your life, and make the best of it one goal at a time.
Life is not a hashtag, a “like” or instant text reply. Instant gratification is not real, it’s a moment in time that passes just as quickly as it appeared. Not everything will be peachy, Facebook perfect or Instagram worthy… if it was it wouldn’t be real. If it was, you wouldn’t feel the good parts either. Accept and persevere!