Saturday, May 20, 2017

Using what You have to Reach your Goals

32 weeks is how long you and I have until we scream from the top of our lungs: “happy new year!” I love this unassuming time of year. While the newness of January is long gone, you and I still have a great chunk of time to accomplish our goals. As you read my words, please think of the goals and dreams you set for yourself. 

I’m a person who wishes they could really change her life January 1. I came to peace with the fact that starting in January hasn’t worked because for the past 4 years I achieve one of my big goals (completing a marathon) mid-January. As soon as I step on the finish line, recovery begins. I take recovery seriously because running a marathon requires a lot physically and mentally. A month after the marathon seems to be a good time to start but then life happens and I need to adapt to my new reality. March became the new start line! I decided this year that March was a good month to expect progress in my nutrition goals. 9 weeks later, I am asking myself: how will I remain motivated to finish what I started and make some real advancement towards my goal? 

Knowing myself

I’ve been around myself for over 3 decades. I have learned the following: 
• I can do difficult things. I know what it is to have persistence and to reach a goal most people won’t reach. You’ve been there too. Just look at your life and celebrate what you accomplished in the past. The goal is not to stop at pride but to gather data that will help you and I reach our current goals. As I looked back over my life, I learned the following:

Use what you have - I started training for my first marathon using what I had. A friend and I went to thrift stores and found running shoes. I wore cotton shirts and shorts. What I had took me to the first finish line of the race that launched me into long distance running. I find that when it comes to reaching big goals, I’m tempted to complain about what I don’t have. I want to lose weight but I don’t have money for a certain membership. I have learned that I can use what I have to succeed. What do you have in your hands that will help you accomplish your goals my friend?

Don’t be afraid of being you - I accept my uniqueness. What works for others will not work for me so I need to accept who I am. I don’t know what it is about reaching a big goal that brings the feeling of fear into the surface. I try my best to outsmart it so it won’t dominate me. I recently learned that fear is just a feeling. I don’t have to bow down to it for if I do, it will paralyze me. I have learned to acknowledge it and to stay away from it. I do not need to be afraid of being me because God gave me weapons to achieve my goal. The only way to grab those weapons is to walk a past fear so do not be afraid of being you. 

Do what works for YOU - There are many ways to get from point A to my goal on point B. I have to choose a method that works for me. The challenge I often face is choosing something that works for me. The more I know myself, the easier it is to say no to things that will not work for me. I understand that everyone swears by a certain exercise method or dietary choice. I know myself well enough (remember, I have over 3 decades of research data!) to know what will work for me. My friend, focus on doing what works for you. 

Start by solving your greatest source of frustration - I learned this principle while decluttering. I had stepped out of a difficult work year and my house was quite disorganized. Where should I start? I started by solving my greatest source of frustration: laundry. It took a while but I found a system that works wonders, no matter how busy I am. Once the big problem was solved, I was able to work towards other areas that needed organization. When it comes to your goal, what is your top area of frustration? By thinking about your goal in smaller chunks, you will be able to methodically move towards progress. My greatest source of frustration with my health journey was nutrition. I solved that frustration by dedicating myself to my writing down everything I eat in my food journal. This simple solution has kept me on track for 9 weeks. Once I solved that big issue, I was able to efficiently move towards my ultimate goal.

Focus on the system, not the big goal - Notice I didn’t say ‘abandon’ the big goal. I believe big goals are important but on the way there you will have to greet the short-term and the mid-term goals. I found myself overwhelmed by the fact that I signed up to run 26.2 miles. I decided instead to focus on the system (my marathon training plan). The plan I got from my running group told me what I was supposed to do every day in order to reach my goal. I focused on the system, not the big goal because the system was going to lead me to the big goal. 18 weeks later I was holding my medal. When it comes to my nutrition goal, I am focusing on writing on my food journal daily. I know that as I am being faithful to do what works for Cintia, I will reach my ultimate goal. When I was in College and Grad School, I focused on the system, not the big goal. I focused on attending class and mastering the material. I am now the owner of a duo Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree. One more example. When I was decluttering, I focused on the system (my 45-minute solution for organization) and it helped me reach the big goal. 

I hope that you will find inspiration to fuel you to action. You and I have 32 weeks to go and we can and we will reach our goals. Remember that knowing yourself is the foundation of your progress my friend.

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