“Goals shouldn't be easy and they shouldn't always be met, because then they're not really goals" --Tim Ek
The New Year is a time many of us use to “start over”, set goals for ourselves (or rather the selves we hope to become), and do our best to start on a path towards achieving them.
During the past week I’ve spent a little time looking back on my year gone by and I have to admit that I feel disappointed about some of the goals I set for myself in January 2014: my weight still hovers around 200 pounds, I’m still employed by the same company, and I’m still single. On top of these things remaining unchanged throughout 2014, there seems to be very little hope of them changing in 2015.
But, I’ve come to that conclusion only looking at 2 of 365 days.
In the other 363 I’ve done a lot of work that I don’t give myself credit for. I biked over 4,000 miles, finished races that I wouldn’t have imagined completing even a year ago, and logged race times I thought were reserved for guys who weigh 50 pounds less than me and have $10,000 carbon-fiber bicycles. I started running, practicing yoga regularly, and enjoying vegetables. I started a leadership position at my church. I asked around 35 women out to coffee and even went on a quite a few dates. I faced a lot of heartache, confusion, and adversity including being stung on the lip by a wasp at the halfway point of one of my century rides. In my attempts to accomplish my goals I have learned a lot about my heart and myself.
My sense of accomplishment should come from those 363 days, not in the accomplishment of some lofty aspirations I had set for myself on an equally as frigid morning a year ago. At the same time, I would have never experienced those successes had I not set those goals that I didn’t achieve in the first place. As a man who’s perpetually questioning whether or not he is wasting his time, this is a very hard concept for me to wrap my head around.
I’m often tempted to treat these “in-the-process” successes like some sort of pitiful consolation prizes, decide that accomplishing my goals isn’t worth the time and effort, give up and quit. This will inevitably undo any progress I had made: my body will still want to consume the same amount of calories it took in while I was exercising daily, I wouldn’t have to leave my house, and I’d stop dreaming. The pounds would start stacking up, my muscles would atrophy, self-doubt and self-deprecation would return, and the thought of change would become simply overwhelming.
So, this year I’m still setting some pretty lofty goals for myself. While I hope to achieve them all, I’m going to be ok with some disappointment because I’m putting value on the effort I’ll put into achieving goals that will challenge me, instead of the single moment of having accomplished them.
“Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”