In order to succeed, sometimes you have to lower the bar.
I’ve always expected a lot from myself. All throughout school I did well academically, and in high school and college I did well competing in track and cross country, too. As an adult, I continued to have high expectations for myself in all areas of my life from being a great wife and mom to being physically fit as well as spiritually enlightened. And of course, I’d have a successful career to boot. You know, the usual!
As I’ve gotten older, I still stubbornly hold onto that “ideal” I seem to have stuck in my brain, however unrealistic it might be. Reality is, most days I’m happy if I’ve managed to make it through the day without major disaster.
I started 2016 with good intentions. I joined the WordPress blogging boot camp as well as a fitness accountability group. Things were going along swimmingly until the middle of January. At that point, everything pretty much went pear shaped. For the next four weeks, everyone in the house was either sick and/or injured or recovering from major surgery. This of course, was not conducive to achieving any fitness or writing goals.
A couple of days ago I discovered a new fitness group was forming this month. My first thought was, “Are you kidding? The way the last four weeks have gone, I’m lucky to make it out of bed in the morning!” I am normally not one to bail on things but I had just bailed on the WordPress class and the fitness group and didn’t want to repeat the performance.
It was a beautiful day this morning, so I decided to go for a walk with my son. At his urging, we ended up going nearly three miles, which included a 1,000-foot hill. It was the first real exercise I’d gotten in weeks. We got home and I felt fantastic! That’s when it hit me – in order to succeed, sometimes you have to lower the bar. You see, as a former competitive distance runner, my ongoing goal has been to run at least three to four times a week consistently. I’ve only managed to pull that off a scant few weeks here and there throughout the last several years. This morning, however, I went out on a whim and ended up not only walking a lot farther than I’d expected but feeling better than I could have expected afterwards. Having the goal of simply getting out the door was enough.
The thing is, my lofty goals are all well and good, but I’m never going to achieve them unless I set some smaller ones first. Do I still want to run consistently and get into better shape? Of course! Am I going to achieve that if I consider falling short of my three times a week goal a total failure? Probably not. Considering the achievement of a small goal a success makes so much more sense than lamenting the failure of a larger goal. Instead of giving up on a larger goal, I can keep setting those smaller ones – and achieving them! – until low and behold, just maybe I’ll eventually conquer those larger goals, too.