Monday, December 13, 2010

Who needs reality? How goals go from crazy to SMART.

Today's blog brought to
you by the letter R!
One more lesson in goal achievement!  Today we're going to hunker down and focus on the R in SMART goals.  As you know already, SMART goals are those that are Specific, Measurable, Action-based, Realistic, and Time-bound.  The R gets me every eyes tend to be a little bigger than my stomach when I set goals, so I have a hard time accepting the reality of what my goals should be.

You see, when I sit down to make goals, I almost immediately jump to the physical manifestation of what I want my goals to provide: a totally excellent bod. 

And by totally excellent bod, I mean this:

Yes. I want to look like a comic book character. I'd be willing to bet that most people do on some level, eh?  I realized it a few years ago when actually reading a comic and finding myself strategizing ways to force my body into emulating what I saw drawn on the page: a petite, teeny-tiny waisted, lean and muscular nymph of a girl who balanced the forces of evil and swooning boys all in a day's work. It was a total fantasy, and once I snapped out of it and realized that I was, in fact, not a nymph but actually a 34-year old mom who needed to unload the dishwasher and make lunches for the next day, well I'll be honest I felt a little defeated.

But anyway, back to the goal setting part.  When I started realizing that I was spending a lot of time trying to make my body become something that defies the laws of physics, I started dissecting my goals to make them more realistic without sacrificing what I really knew I wanted. In other words, I refused to take no for an answer but was willing to negotiate. :)  No, I wasn't going to travel back in time and freeze my growth (and metabolism) at age 18, but I could develop some of the attributes of those comics girls that I admired, like strength, agility, and a bad-ass attitude.  I've succeeded!  I may not have illustration-worthy proportions but I do sometimes feel like I can lift a small building or out-run a freight train. 

The point is that while SMART goals are realistic goals, any goal worth pursuing has some basis in fantasy. We're surrounded by inspiration at every turn: media outlets constantly project unrealistic ideals that trigger the creation of unrealistic goals every day.  I suggest that rather than reject that, we build on it.  Swoon over your goals, fantasize about them, and even draw them out on paper if you want to.  Embrace what you really want.  Then, dissect.  Get down to the meat of what that visual goal represents to you. For me, it was strength, speed, and a functional (and kick-ass) body. That's where we get real.  That's where we get realistic goals.

You don't have to abandon your goals just because they're unrealistic. That's where incredible goals start!  Think up something crazy today, and turn it into a SMART goal.

Two of my good friends write the brilliantly inspired blog, Girls Gone Geek, which supplies plenty of inspiration for someone in the market for super powers.  Check it out.

I could use a sidekick.


Jamie said...

Great post Heather! I set a crazy goal for myself last weekend when I signed up for the Tallahassee 1/2marathon (run/walk) in February. I enlarged the course map and posted it in my office and at home. I can already see myself (smartly) crossing the finish line!

The (not so) Reluctant Athlete said...

YAY! I look forward to running it with you! Great visual tool, also. I have a pic of a woman jumping over a hurdle on the white board facing my desk. It helps!