Goals — The Big Scary

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Okay.  It is now January 30.  Many of us made healthy resolutions for ourselves exactly 30 days ago.  We were going to go to the gym three times a week and not just to use the tanning booths!  We were going to cut about 3,500 calories out of our diets somewhere.  We were going to go for half-hour walks every day, even if our walks were on treadmills and elliptical machines at the gym before we jumped in the tanning booths.  We were going to meditate every day and every night.  We were going to eat a plate of veggies at least once a day.

How are we doing with those resolutions?

It is well-known that most people who make healthy resolutions at the first of the month of January abandon their resolutions by the fifteenth.  It’s not news to you, and certainly not to me.

Perhaps the problem lies in the spirit of the word, “resolution.”  Here’s Dictionary.com’s definition of resolution:

res·o·lu·tion [rez-uh-loo-shuhn]
noun

1.         a formal expression of opinion or intention made, usually after voting, by a formal organization, a legislature, a club, or other group. Compare concurrent resolution, joint resolution.

(Unless we are referring to ourselves as the Royal “We,” this doesn’t apply.  Next:).

2.         a decision or determination; a resolve: to make a firm resolution to do something. Her resolution to clear her parents’ name allowed her no other focus in life.
3.         the act determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.; the act of resolving.
4.         firmness of purpose; the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute: She showed her resolution by not attending the meeting.

(Okay; definitions 2-4 could be applicable, but they include the world “resolve” in their definition.  I hate when dictionaries do that.  Onward.)

5.         the act or process of separating into constituent or elementary parts or resolving.

(Possibly apples to us, if were to break down our psyches and figure out why we break resolutions so easily.)

All right; what does “resolve mean?

re·solve [ri-zolv]
verb, re·solved, re·solv·ing, noun
verb (used with object)

1.         to come to a definite or earnest decision about; determine (to do something): I have resolved that I shall live to the full.
2.         to separate into constituent or elementary parts; break up; cause or disintegrate (usually followed by into…).
3.         to reduce or convert by, or as by, breaking up or disintegration (usually followed by to  or into…).
4.         to convert or transform by any process (often used reflexively).
5.         to reduce by mental analysis (often followed by into…).

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In a certain way, the idea of “reducing” is in line with weight loss resolutions.  I particularly like the idea of  “disintegration” of cellulite!  #3 is ominous, and often the way that many of us go about our transformation process – not for the health of it, but for the cosmetic appeal.  #1 is most appropriate for our purposes, but still not satisfying.  We can resolve to do something…but why are we resolving to do it?

That’s where goals come in.

It is very difficult to stick to anything if your goals are unclear, or if you have no goals.  “I want to lose weight” is not a very clear goal.  It isn’t even a goal.  It’s not even a desire.  It is an idea of a desire.

Many of us balk at goal setting because we just don’t know where to start.  We’ve been living in our current reality so long that we have a hard time envisioning anything different for ourselves.

Dave Ramsey of “The Dave Ramsey Show” fame teaches entrepreneurs the importance of a three step process toward goal setting: dreams, visions, and goals.  This is a paraphrased synopsis of how he describes it:

Dreams: Dreams is where we need to begin.  If we begin with our goal, we often lose sight of why we had the goal to begin with.  Remember that vague idea of a desire, “I want to lose weight,” for example?  The dream gives you the why of what you want.

“I have a dream that I will be a size 6 one day.”
“I have a dream that I am able to sit on the floor with my grandchildren and play with them.”
“I have a dream that I am free of my allergies and can walk in the woods with my spouse.”
“I have a dream that I can run for miles and miles like I did when I was eighteen.”

Without the dream, we don’t go anywhere.  The dream gives emotion to our wishes.  The dream fuels the fire of our resolve.

Sadly, many of us start and end at the dream.  Dreams are still nebulous, still in the realm of fantasy when compared with our starting place.  Where we begin is often where we remain because we don’t have a clear vision of achieving our dreams.

Vision: Next is the vision.  Dave Ramsey says visions are dreams after we blow the mist off of them.  He references preachers who often say, “Where there is no vision, people perish.” He acknowledges that preachers say it from a soul standpoint.  From a business perspective, if we don’t have a clear vision of our businesses, they perish.

I say the same thing goes for our health.

What does our dream of health look like?

What does it look like to quit smoking after thirty years?

What does it look like to achieve a healthy weight when we have never been at a healthy weight? What is it like to wake up in the morning and not have a terrible pain in our belly, not have terrible itching, to not have to carry around medicine just because we want to go to lunch with our friends?

What does being able to bend down and build blocks with our grandchildren look like?

More importantly…what does it feel like?  The use of vision is to give us the ability to feel success as a tangible quality.  When we meditate daily (see Nine Essentials of Health # 4, Meditation/Prayer), we can use the practice as a tool to clarify our dreams into something we can experience on a soul level. Once we can do this, we are able to move to step 3:

Goals.

This is the Big Scary.  This is actually taking the vision we have in our hearts and minds and turning it into reality.  As Ramsey puts it, “Roast duck does not fly through your window.  You have to find the duck, kill the duck, pluck the duck, dress the duck, cook it, and then you get to eat.”  If you’re a vegetarian, you have to find the beans, harvest the beans, shuck the beans, clean the beans, soak the beans, cook the beans, and then you get to eat them.

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Why are goals the Big Scary?  We have so many methods of figuring out ways to avoid making goals that they have become unconscious.  We don’t even recognize it.

“I don’t have time to soak beans, much less cook them.  I have a family to take care of. Taco Bell for us!”
“Ugh. The gym is too crowded.  I hate that.  I’ll come back.  Maybe this weekend, early.”
“I can’t wake up early. I’m exhausted.”
“I would go to yoga but I look ridiculous.  I’m not flexible enough.”
“Organic food is too expensive.  It takes too much time to read labels.”
“I wish vitamins and supplements were covered by health insurance.  They are too expensive, and they take too long to work, anyway, if they work at all.  In the end, medicine is cheaper and easier for me.”

Avoidance of goal setting belies a fear of failure, which belies a fear of success.  We avoid goals because once we set them – especially if we set them ourselves – we have to live up to our idea of the kind of person who can achieve our personal vision of success.  Ultimately, if we have never lived up to our own idea of success, we doubt if we can rise to our own expectations.

Further, what if we do succeed?  What will life be like when I become the person I always thought I wanted to be? Can I live up to that ideal?

It’s all right to have this fear.  It is a natural fear.  Growth is scary.  The unknown is scary.

Do it anyway.

Fear is always going to be there. The most successful people in the world carry around fear.  If you wait until you feel like you have conquered your fear, you will never go anywhere.

No one is ever ready for change.  That’s the nature of change.  Change is life.  Stagnation is death.

Take your dream, make a vision of it, and set a clear goal to get there.

“On June 21, I will go to a Broadway play wearing that cute little size 6 dress that I bought for myself.”
“I will run the complete New York Marathon in October this year.”
“By August 1, I will be able to take my grandkids for a walk in the woods.”
“By May 1, I will be free of my irritable bowel syndrome because I will be wheat free.”
“By November 1, I will have earned my blue belt in karate.”

Now that you have your goal, you can plan to meet it with continuous action.

So wipe off that dream you had December 31, take a good look at it, and get down to business.

Until next time, good health!

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About Dr. Claire

CLAIRE FITZPATRICK is a Doctor of Chiropractic in New York City. Her specialty is helping women and men aged 30-55 eliminate signs and symptoms of early aging. She is owner of JOY! Health and Bodyworks, LLC a holistic, integrative network of holistic practitioners who specialize in health issues related to early aging. She is the author of the ebook, "The Nine Essentials of Health: A Must Have Guide for Healthy Living."

Posted on 01/30/2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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