Tuesday, February 10, 2015

How Do You Know If You Don't Do: Goal setting is more than just an intention.

It's February already. I would never know. San Diego is a sunny high 70s and 80s these days. (#paradiseproblems)  Apparently, Detroit is covered in snow--pumped in from the heavens on the daily this week. That I do not miss.

As I'm from the midwest, I truly used to feel how far into the year I was. In San Diego, I can't tell February from October. This past weekend, I did a double take when I glanced at my calendar to see my deadlines for the following week and realized we're already a month in and then some in 2015. Did I set any goals for myself this year? 

I had to sit and think about that for a moment. 

Daily at work, I am called upon to give students advice and plans of action. I look at their academic performances, standardized test scores, extracurriculars and such to help them GET TO their goal: their dream universities. Quite often I have to tell them things that are not so easy to hear, but that's my job to tell them what needs to happen IF they want to achieve that particular goal. I see too many who want but won't do.

If someone wants to go to Harvard, UCLA, or UChicago (to name a few top schools), he/she needs to exhibit maturity in his/her choices: work on getting high marks (quite subjective I've noticed in what that means) and push to fullest potential in the environment given. This is all relative to students' schools. Oh and there is no one size fits all answer. (more on this in a future post) But I can see what the student needs and his probability in getting into certain school sometimes even mid junior year.

But a successful student is one that has a goal in mind and disciplines himself on a daily basis to reach that goal. If a student shows up to classes but is disengaged and does the homework but cannot recall the concepts, he/she isn't actively setting his/her goal in motion. Since I also teach yoga, I see this in the studio as well. 

My students always ask me what they should do to get into a handstand this year. When I ask them how often they get up next to a wall and hold their handstands or practice kicking up, they often say only when they're in class with me. That is, maybe once a week. Hm.

Simply put, we can't skip all the steps expect the results. Heard that before, eh? 

I've slightly digressed ONLY to make my point that if there is something that we want, we need to do the following 5 things:

1. Have a concrete goal in mind. 

Too often students or clients tell me they want to reach a certain abstract goal. My question is...how does your 'intention' show you the steps towards that goal? Are there milestones you can see that exhibit your progress? There's a HUGE difference between "I want to get into a good college" and "I want to get into Columbia or UCLA." OR "I want to lose weight" as opposed to "I want to lose 15 lbs."

2. Then know the steps you need to take to reach that goal. 

...and be active in the process (nothing's worse than thinking about it coupled with inactivity...blech!) Remember I mentioned the yoga students who want to get into a handstand but only do it once a week? Yes. Even that is a process with stages. It's daily stretching to open up shoulders and hamstrings. It involves a lot of strength in the upper back so you must condition by holding yourself up for full minute drills (several sets of these per day) by the wall. It involves knowing how to engage your transverse abdominal muscles and your psoas. But. it's a commitment. Every day or nearly daily. 

3. Stick to it (even through the days that seem like "setbacks"). 

THIS IS THE HARDEST PART. Endurance of the mind when you want to eat that extra piece of chocolate because this week you haven't lost a pound IS CRUCIAL. The dry spells are usually not very long (but seem agonizingly long). No matter what you set your mind to achieve, no progress graph is a steady incline. When you look back, despite the flat lines and some small dips, the entire progress graph is still an incline nonetheless! Do you really want what you're aiming for? Show it! Stick to your goal!

4. Be positive and self-affirming. 

There are already so many things that will trip you if you let them: people around you (either competitive or non-supportive), other more tempting options that sidetrack you, and other people's achievements. Be kind and positive to yourself because too many forces may seem like they're working against you. WE are our own worst critics. It's almost always YOU who is holding yourself back. Don't judge other people's timelines or achievements as benchmarks for your journey. Know what's around to be inspired, but then put your horseblinders on and stay focused on your goals. Listen. God has something planned for each of us. It's not like the universe is going to line up and give everyone the same things. But celebrated authors like George Orwell helped us to see how suffocating and repressive that is. Celebrate you. 

sorry, i had to reference an old throwback. love me some SBTB

5.  Find joy in your accomplishments every step of the way. 

I think this very closely relates to #4. It helps you to do #3 too. Instead of making yourself upset by how much more you have to go or how tough the journey is, think on the achievements you HAVE made and pat yourself on the back. I can't stress how important this step is in my own self-motivation. I often go through mental/emotional ups and downs, but what keeps me steady is rewarding myself with the thought that I DESERVE THIS or I WORKED HARD FOR THIS. Try not to seek your rewards extrinsically (it's funny, but it naturally happens when you don't seek it by the way). 

SO what are my goals this year? 
  • Move into a new home (our family is growing...in size...not in number don't worry. haha)
  • Be more present in the community, reaching more students in the area with our educational expertise and teaching tools
  • Set plans to teach yoga abroad (in the works!)
  • Float into handstand 
  • POST more entries here (at least twice a month!) now that I have a bit of a grasp on raising my little babies...
  • Fully love on my husband and two littles when I'm with them (this is an always goal)

What are YOURS?

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