Some years ago a good friend of mine and I took a major road trip. We drove 3,000 miles from Baltimore to Los Angeles. Normally, to think about driving 3,000 miles would have sent me into overwhelm, but for some reason I liked the idea. What made the whole experience more enjoyable was we decided a couple of things. We would not drive more than five or six hours a day ever. We would pace ourselves, allow time for sightseeing and enjoy the journey. It was a great trip. We savored every moment of it and enjoyed the ride as much as we did reaching our final destination.
My story illustrates three things that are important principles to consider about change and goal setting…
1. Don’t get so focused on your destination that you lose sight of the process. Many times we are so focused on our end results that we become frustrated, impatient and go into overwhelm. Learning to balance your perspective and value the process is important. What scenery will I see along the way? What will I learn? What will I experience?
2. There is nothing wrong with dreaming big, but start small. This is such an important principle to grasp in life. How do you eat an elephant? One fork at a time! You have the “big” picture in mind and that’s great, but now break it down to bite size pieces. Set realistic daily goals that you know you will do on a daily basis and stick with it. If it is one push up or a sit up a day, it’s more than you did yesterday. Consistency is the key! Get out of extreme thinking. It’s not an “all or nothing” proposition. Give yourself permission to take small steps. You don’t have to run the marathon today, but it would be helpful to run to the end of the street. What will I do today? Tomorrow get up and do the same thing. Before you know it you will have reached your destination.
3. Lastly, give yourself permission to enjoy the ride. Yes, work is involved in any goal but if you are not having any fun here, maybe you are not pursuing the right goal? If the steps you are taking are the equivalent of going to the dentist, maybe those steps need to be tweaked a bit. How can you tap into what is motivational for you and have fun with what you are doing?
One thing is for sure. Not much in life happens overnight. If you are moving forward, you are learning, stretching, and growing. Be patient with the process and yourself. Learn to enjoy the ride and savor the experience. It may be that what you are learning and experiencing along the way will be as invaluable to your growth and success as reaching the goal itself!