Posted by: cmittermeier | December 2, 2013

Aim high, but not too high

I am so glad that my initial goal of 30 days quickly morphed into a year long journey to walk the Camino at home.  Ultimately the goal is to be doing 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of strength training six of the seven days in the week.  I’m not saying I’d work the same muscles everyday, but really, God created us to be active most of the time.  We weren’t designed to sit on our behinds.  If I’d started with that goal, well, that is too big.  It would be like aiming an arrow straight up.  It may go  up high, but it lands not far from the shooter.  The 30 day goal would have been too short term.  I can see myself all too clearly reaching the end, around Christmas holidays, and not getting back to it till the kids were in school.

Goals have to challenge us, as one music teacher told her student, if it sounds good you shouldn’t be practicing it – move on.  A 30 day goal would have been to easy to “end”, and I need things that will translate into a lifestyle.  To reach lifestyle, it has to be a habit.  Experts often say 30 days is enough to create a habit, but they haven’t met me.  I chunk life.  I can do something for a semester – because I know it will end I can push that long.  It doesn’t make studying a habit, but part of that segment of life.  I think a year long goal is a great way to start a lifelong habit. 

A year covers all the major expected stuff of life.  Holiday’s, birthdays, blah days, yippe days, and all the in between will be found in a year.  There are some outliers that you won’t find, things like weddings and births tend to come in chunks only to disappear for decades at a time.  For the most part, if you can do it for a year, you should be covered.  I’m sure there will be psychologists out there who disagree with me and have studies to back up their claims, so take what I say with a big grain of salt.  I’m a slow learner, and habits are very, very hard for me to develop. 

Its too easy to compartmentalize my life and not do what needs to be done everyday.  I don’t want to admit how old I was before I could brush my teeth everyday!  Thankfully I have wonder teeth and have only one cavity I got during breastfeeding.  Shortly after that cavity I learned how to brush most days, then years later made that into a daily habit.  It took me a long time to learn how to set goals that would end as daily habits.  The teeth cleaning was only one of many small steps that have added up over the years.  Slowly I’ve learned to build them one after the other, and this time I learned that the ideal goal timeline was a lot longer than experts would have counseled.  Self-knowledge is important!

So my message today, aim high, but not too high.  You know yourself best, so set a challenging, but not too challenging goal!

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