September 14 – Concrete goal setting

September 14. “A goal casually set and lightly taken is freely abandoned at the first obstacle.” (Zig Ziglar)

As those who follow this blog know, I am a very goal-oriented person. I keep lists of goals for myself at home and at work. I am constantly looking for the next challenge to undertake to help me grow professionally, personally, or physically.

When I set out to begin my journey toward better health, I thought about it long and hard. As I’ve written in this blog as well as my health blog, I had tried and failed at weight loss and increased health many times before. The chart of my weight since 1996 is a saw-toothed, upward sloping curve that (hopefully) ended on March 1 of this year. Along the way there were attempts large and small to get a hold of my health.

One of the things that made this time different was this. Once I was done with my pondering, once I was convinced that THIS would be my time, I committed it to writing. I set out goals for myself that were real, measurable and attainable. Some were short term, some were long, but all were documented. Along the way, as I have reached goals, I have added new ones as well. The other thing that I did to make this more concrete, and less casual, was committing to it publicly.

I have had other goals in my life that were more casual. Some have come to fruition, others have not. Those that did, somewhere along the line, became more concrete. They took on the mantle of being documented and tracked. Those that failed, usually, were not very important to me. I know this because I didn’t make the effort to make sure they happened.

My wife and I are presently working on remodeling our bedroom. Our room was neglected from much in the way of remodeling over the last 20 years, so the list of things to do when we started was long. We’d talked about the idea to take on this project for some time. It was during a long car ride back from a camping trip that the plan was crystalized. On that trip my wife and I started laying out a specific plan. We decided what the scope of the project would be, and we set some timelines. Our plan is to have the work done by the end of September, and we have very clear things we need to complete. As of today, the 14th, we are on schedule. There is still much to do, but many of the big items are complete.

We’ve made half-hearted attempts at upgrades in the past. We bought new blinds or drapes, updated the closet and so on. We even changed some of the furniture in the past. But, we never took on the specifics of this project, and we never committed our time and energy as we have this time.

As I am writing this, it’s Sunday evening. My wife is exhausted and passed out on the couch from working all day today. My muscles are sore as well, and soon I’ll be as unconscious as she is, but I feel really great about the project. I can see into the room from my office, and it is really taking shape.

There have been obstacles on the projects. Some things we assumed could be re-used were found to be in need of replacement. I have replaced the door, and all of the mouldlings. Both of those are things I hadn’t planned to do, and frankly wasn’t sure I was capable of doing. There have been plenty of other obstacles. This time, though, we are tackling the obstacles as they come, and are seeing the fruits of our success.

I am a huge believer in setting concrete goals, and a believer in this quote. I know for myself that when I take the time to make a plan, I have a far better chance of overcoming the obstacles, rather than stumbling and falling along the way.

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