The pursuit of someone else’s goals

Stuff. So much stuff. So much stuff that it clutters my mind. I’m unable to think clearly. All I can think about is all of this STUFF. Toys. Activities. Meetings. Coffee-dates. Play-dates. Dentist appointments. Annual check-ups. Comparison. Envy. Insecurity. Mom-shaming. The perfect body. Workouts. Self-care. Exhaustion.

Pure mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion.

And I believe the world dictates this. The more stuff we have the happier we’ll feel. The more we look like “so and so” the happier we’ll be. The more activities we have on our plate the more “involved” we’ll be.

To the world, more = better.

So, when it comes time to start thinking about goals we should set for ourselves, suddenly all of these factors come into play. All stemming from a society of more, and comparison. “If Cindy can have her 5 kids in 12 different after school activities, work full-time, volunteer at her church, AND train for a marathon, I should be able to do that too. Yes. That’s what I’ll do! I’ll train for a marathon!”

And so, this begins our journey of setting goals based on someone else’s life. We over-pack our schedules with activities and set goals based on the goals of someone else. And while it can be completely harmless to join a friend and train for similar events, it becomes detrimental when those goals are not accurate for you. Whether that be through physical ability (not at a level that you should be training for a marathon), or through emotional ability (no desire whatsoever to run 26.2 miles), setting goals for the wrong reasons can have bad consequences. A lot of times this can manifest through a lack of motivation and desire to complete the workouts. And I don’t mean you have one off day where you don’t feel like doing a workout, I mean consistently finding reasons to skip your training days. If you are repeatedly skipping workouts, or finding some other way to get movement in that does not line up with the goals you have set, then you may want to revisit your goals and what it is that you truly are hoping to accomplish.

Let me give you an example – I recently set goals for the new year, to get a personal record in the 5K distance, and to run 1000 miles in 2020. After a few weeks of adjusting to a new work schedule, I found that my desire to hit the track for repeat intervals was seriously lacking. After struggling for weeks with a lack of motivation, as well as multiple missed speed workouts that were subbed in with Kickboxing, I had to have a major heart-to-heart chat with myself. And I realized that I had set those goals based on some of the other ladies in my circle. These women close to me, who are also avid runners, were setting big goals and I felt like if they were doing it than I probably should be too. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t remotely interested in any of the goals I had just set. Part of me felt like if they are all doing big things when it comes to races and distance running than I could muster up the desire to want those things too…but I couldn’t. I couldn’t find the motivation, and especially not the dedication needed, to complete these great goals. Once I realized what was happening I had to reset. I sat down and asked myself what it was that I truly wanted, and then I set new goals.

It is important when you’re setting goals that you ask yourself why you want that particular goal. If you can’t find a reason other than “well, my friend is doing it”, then maybe you should reconsider that goal. Try to set goals that would motivate you and speak to your soul. Only the goals that light your soul on fire are going to be the ones that keep pushing you forward when the initial motivation wears off. Because you will not always be motivated, so we must learn to be disciplined. And it is only these goals that light us up that will help us push through when times get tough.

And by the way, in my opinion, more does not equal better. Sometimes less is better. And sometimes that means setting goals that are less physically extensive and more emotionally grounded. Sometimes that means shying away from personal records and intense track workouts so that you can run by feel and enjoy nature.

Sometimes, less = more. Sometimes, less = better.