The importance of setting goals!

I am really passionate about goal setting. If I am honest, I just love a good list and adore ticking things off. There are worse vices to have, I am sure.

The only time this has failed to serve me has been in times I have been struck down by a flare of my illness. Once can’t account for this, and it truly throws a spanner in the works. But. Life goes on. And the older I get, the more I know, and the better I have adapted. The moral to the story, however, is that it has yet to deter me from pedantically scribbling down my goals and plans every day/week/month/year with the intention of being able to tick off those darn boxes!

If you hop over to my YouTube channel, you will find a video from 7 December 2021, in which I share some of my thoughts around goals, and goal setting, and how vitally important it is to me in my life. I know I am not unique in that sense, however, and I want to open up some thoughts on why you should put pen to paper and work on your goals for 2022. Whether in context of a relationship breakdown, like my clients, or just because you are human.

Now, to cut the naysayers off at the pass, I want to first address to two most common objections I get to setting goals’

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Won’t it only increase my anxiety?

Let me field this one from the mind of an overly planned, overly anxious, A type personality.

It can. If you can’t possibly reach them. And that is part of the commonly used SMART approach to goal setting – are they ATTAINABLE goals?

By way of example, let me take you back to my Christmas 2014. I was recently married. I had enjoyed two overseas holidays in the latter part of the year (life was very different back then), and I had gone in for a surgery on 24 November 2014 that was meant to have me home 3-4 days later. Cool. I had six weeks off work to recover. I had a full diary with every single pre-Christmas activity scheduled, down to when I would write cards and wrap things. I was super organised. But I super failed.

I got out of hospital just over 3 weeks later. Things did not pan out as planned. I couldn’t walk more than a few metres at a time, and needed a wheelchair if anyone took me to the shops. I had no strength. I could barely hold my telephone let alone wrap gifts. I couldn’t write because… like… I don’t even know. My body was barely alive at this point and clearly writing is not a form of coordination the brain considers necessary to maintain life.

Anyone who knows me knows how much that devastated me. Whilst high doses of pain relief made for excellent online shopping and whopping credit card bills i.e. I got the Christmas shopping done, but I don’t know what I got anyone, and I bought myself bright yellow Stella McCartney for Adidas running shorts and I neither run nor wear yellow, so that sums up where my function levels were at. Anyway…

Long story short. It hurt me. I became extremely depressed because what I had set out to do and achieve, and my expectations, were no longer attainable. In my defence, I shouldn’t have been in that situation, it was an anomaly, but it gives an example.

Set attainable goals. Plan them out. Be realistic. They aren’t designed to cause anxiety and the right attitude and planning can definitely avoid that.

If a spanner is thrown in the works, accept it for what it is. Sometimes things are beyond our control.

Shouldn’t I be enjoying the present and not constantly focusing on the future?

Of course! But the two aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, excitement for the future should mean happiness and joy in the present.

I learnt this in one of the shittier ways. Going through IVF.

I will no doubt tear up as I write this, but I think it is the best explanation.

When you go through IVF, your goal is to have a child. Plain and simple. You want to build your family via a tiny human, and for ‘normal’ people, that involves getting intimate with a person they (hopefully) love, letting a swimmer meet an egg, and finding out weeks later by peeing on a stick that their dream is coming true.

For us IVF peeps, however, it is very, very different. It’s money. It’s so many appointments. And scans. And things shoved up your privates. And blood tests. And needles. And hormones. And gels. And anything else I didn’t remember. Plus the leadup where you probably took a million vitamins for months on end, and ate a mediterranean diet and no sugar or coffee or alcohol because that’s what the book said. Oh. And the guy will jizz in a jar too. All that.

I spent my entire first round of IVF expecting bad news. I was sad. I was forelorn. I pretended to be indifferent and blocked out what was happening. I did this until our son was miraculously born from our first go at such a soul sucking medical process. I worried the ENTIRE time that he would not be there at the end. It sucked so much.

So when we decided to round out our family with baby number two, I changed my attitude.

I figured I had two options.

I could worry and be miserable all the way up to the result, and then remain miserable (so lots of misery) OR I could be hopeful and positive until I got that result, then be miserable (less misery). Fellow IVFers know what that hope is like, how big it is, it’s not a baby, it’s a family and a whole different life. It is totally shattered when you get the bad news, but the joy and happiness until that point is better than holding onto fear.

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So why are goals so important then?

Goals give our life meaning and purpose. A reason to wake up and be there for tomorrow.

Your goal doesn’t have to be grand or life changing. For my Grandpa, it was usually making it to the next big sporting event he wanted to watch, or trip he was going to take. He loved sport and he loved travel. The day the doctor said he couldn’t go on his trip out west was, I am certain, the day he decided he was ready to go. He was so unwell, and this was the straw that broke him.

Separation is a time to re-evaluate your goals and expectations of your future. As is the new year.

So whether you are the former, or the latter (technically the former will also be the latter too) then get planning. Keeps your goals SMART.

Specific.

Measurable.

Attainable.

Relevant.

Time-based.

Do what will make you happy, and know that they joy is in the journey, not the end result.

If I can help you through your separation, or you just want to chat, feel free to reach out on 0466 090 434 or email jessica@jpflm.com.

JP x

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