As I enter day 271 of my “life overhaul”, I’ve noticed my ideas and concepts, as they relate to “goals”, have changed. Webster’s Dictionary defines “Goal” as: The end toward which effort is given. The terminal part of a race. THE END TOWAR WHICH EFFORT IS GIVEN. THE TERMINAL PART OF A RACE. In other words, a goal is the completion of effort. We hit “the end” and we stop. I don’t like that thought process. I don’t like that at all!
When I think of my recent health journey (physical, mental, and spiritual) to this point, it’s hard to think of it in terms of “finality”. Sadly, I’ve pushed this idea of goalsetting as I’ve worked my @$$ off to lose 170.6 pounds and reach 280 pounds (my original “goal”). I’ve had people reach out and ask me for advice, and I always tell them they have to have a “goal”. I wish now I hadn’t. The moment I reached my goal weight of 280 pounds (last month), my mindset changed. Was I done? Were the new productive habits I’d started in my life over? Was my mission complete? Yes…AND NO!
I reached my desired weight that’s true…BUT…my health and wellbeing journey is far from OVER. In fact, I feel like it’s only beginning. As I woke up the day after hitting 280 pounds, I thought to myself, “Why did I wake up so early? I don’t have to workout! I hit my goal!” Then I realized, that “task is done” mindset was WRONG! My mission was not complete…I had only hit a milestone. It was now time to start the journey to the next milestone. So I worked out. But this time, my focus was (and is) lean muscle mass.
Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate our accomplishments when we achieve something we’ve been working hard to accomplish. What I’m saying is, we celebrate it, reflect on it, and turn the page to begin our next chapter.
When baseball players (teams) win the World Series, they celebrate for a few days (interviews, parades, party a bit) THEN (almost immediately) THEY START FOCUSING ON NEXT YEAR! Athletes understand that winning is temporary…success is a lifetime of work. Hard Work! Hitting a specific weight, winning a game, starting a business, or getting a job promotion, (however you want to say it) is only one event of MANY milestones that we will experience as we make our way through life. The one true “goal” is to live a life of serving God and others. And that “goal” is reached the day we take our last breath on this planet. In other words, we’re never “done” as long as we’re alive.
When I worked in manufacturing, there was a word we used to throw around that was quite common in the 1990’s (and a little today). That word is “Kaizen”. It is a Japanese word that means a continuous change for the better. A CONTINUOUS CHANGE FOR THE BETTER! A continuous improvement! I love this process. It is a mindset that I’ve tried for decades to implement in my life…and failed to do. Why? Because I never really saw life as this continuous process.
I thought of life as 3…maybe 4 chapters…and then DONE. My thought was we’re born, we “live a little”, and we die. Pretty basic. Pretty simple. IF WE ARE STUCK in that basic mindset…something needs to change! Because the fact of the matter is, that “live a little” portion of life is pretty important. It’s something we’re not taught to focus on when we’re younger, but in the grand scheme of things…it’s pretty dadgum important. That “live a little” chapter of our life is where we grow physically, mentally, and spiritually. It’s where we have an opportunity to impact the world in a positive way. It is where true life happens.
It wasn’t until I came to a realization that my health choices were killing me (leading to an early grave), my financial choices were limiting me (not allowing me and family to get “unstuck), and spiritual choices were separating me (keeping me from knowing and loving God even more), that I began to realize my need for change. Initially my focus was on health (financial and spiritual focus came in to play as a natural progression through the healthy lifestyle process) and I set a “goal” to lose 170.6 pounds to get to 280…which is the weight I was at when I met Courtney (my wife for you Aggies).
Leading up to January of 2023, which is when I would meet my “goal”, I started thinking about what I’d do once I hit 280. I started worrying that once I hit it, I’d relax and fall back into my old ways. I knew I could not do that…EVER! So I changed my mindset from having a goal of 280 pounds to having a milestone of 280 pounds. Webster’s Dictionary defines “milestone” as: A significant point in development. A SIGNIFICANT POINT IN DEVELOPMENT. Instead of thinking in terms of an end (terminal) result (i.e. goal), I began thinking in terms of a significant measurement of continuous development (i.e. milestones). In other words, while I’m alive, my progress (in health, finances, spiritual development) will never end…it will only improve with time.
If “change” is what we’re trying to achieve, we need a method of measuring our progress. BUT…we need to be sure that our measurement system isn’t based upon some form of completion. We need to make sure we’re measuring our progress based on significant events in our life that build upon one another. This “building” process will make us stronger, smarter, and more efficient as we grow older.
The day we hit a milestone is the day we set a new one! We hit a weight milestone, we begin working on strength milestones. We hit the strength milestone, we start working on an endurance milestone. We hit that one, we set another one…and another one…and…well, you get the idea. DON’T EVER STOP!
No longer is my progress measured by sets of endpoint goals. Now, I bust my butt to meet milestones and move on to the next one. Like the World Series winning baseball player, I celebrate those milestones (for a very brief time…a moment), and then start working on the next one. Knowing that the day I open my eyes in heaven and look into the eyes of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the day my “goal” is met.
The bible tells us to: “… not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” ~Galatians 6:9
Don’t grow weary of doing good. Don’t stop doing good. Don’t stop. Continuously improve. For if we do, we’ll reap a reward for not giving up that far exceeds any reward we can possibly fathom. Blessings Y’all!
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