Thursday, 20 December 2012

Goals and achieving them (It's a long one!)

Why do we not achieve our goals?

First, I would like to preface with a little information about me.
You see, this is cheesy, but I have this dream.  It involves Rose from Titanic.  You know, at the end of the movie, when they pan the dresser and there are all of these pictures of her doing all of these amazing things during her life?  I want that to me.  When I'm old, and possibly in the old folks home, I can pull out all of these pictures and tell incredible, almost unbelievable stories about how I spent my life.
I pondered this for a long while, until I finally decided to shed the boring, dull life and begin taking on those adventures that I so desired.
I began walking/jogging and eventually moved on to do 5k and 10k races every weekend when I lived home in New Orleans.  I took kickboxing and loved the feeling of breaking those boards with my feet.  I'm pretty sure that they used the softest wood possible ~laugh~.
I went to college for the first time when I was 29 and changed my major 5 times.  I still haven't graduated because I still haven't decided what I want to be when I grow up.  However, during that time, I decided to throw caution to the wind and do a summer abroad in Madrid, Spain.  One of the best decisions of my life even though I went there not knowing a soul.
I did alt/goth modeling in New Orleans and wrote band reviews for nolamusic.com.
When we moved here to Denver, my interests were piqued even more than they had been by roller derby and burlesque.  There were not very many options for that at the time in New Orleans.
First, I tried out and got accepted as a new recruit for the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls.  At about the same time, I took Vivienne VaVoom's burlesque classes and began performing around town. 
Now, I won't lie.  I was a wuss and did not go on to make a team in roller derby.  I decided to become a referee instead.  Besides, showing up at my burlesque gigs with arms and legs black and blue wasn't working out too well.  I remember one night Orchid Mei trying to help me out by spraying my arms down with "spray on panty hose" and girls trying to cover the bruises up with all sorts of makeup and glitter.  I decided that I enjoyed burlesque (and the extra money from it) more than the beat downs on the tract.

And many of you are familiar with my latest endeavor, Fitness Competitions.  I think, by far, this was the hardest goal to achieve.  I had wanted to be up on that stage posing in a teeny bikini since I first saw Corey Everson on ESPN back in the mid-80's.  I don't remember there being a "fitness" category back then, only female bodybuilding.  Hmmmm, may have to look into when all the divisions occurred.

So, anyway, why don't we achieve our goals?

Man is a goal seeking animal.  His life only has meaning if he is reaching out and striving for his goals. Aristotle

We've all daydreamed at one time or another about doing something different.  Perhaps it's something that isn't that hard to visualize yourself doing.  Then again, it may be something that you see glimpses of yourself doing, but it may seem just that, a daydream.  Why don't you make it happen?
Many of us put off that goal until "someday."  We may even give up completely.  It's always easier to blame some outside force so that we can say that our situation is out of our hands.  In other words, It's easier to blame it on circumstance or "other" people or timing, when really it's our own actions that bring us to where we are in most instances. It's hard to take that responsibility, but it's only then that we can make things change. 
 You avoid taking action because some of the things you have to do in order to reach a goal intimidate you.  So, why not delay the process as much as possible?
I mean, we all like to be in our comfort zone.  We dream of doing things outside of that circle.  It's exciting, but we're a little afraid to take the plunge.  In the end, we take more time daydreaming and fantasizing about the goal than taking any measures to make it happen.  Here is where the dream ends because you've failed to even try to begin because of cold feet.
Try not to over analyze.  If you've had a goal or dream that you return to over and over, go for it, one step at a time.

As I mentioned, the latest and greatest was a bodybuilding competition in the fitness division.  For years, I've hoarded those fitness magazines dreaming of being like those gals. Since I was young, I have always been entranced by bodybuilding and then the fitness competitors' routines.  Watching them, I always thought that I could never do anything like that, but I wanted to.  I began trolling the internet just browsing for competitors here in the Denver area.  I narrowed it down to less than a handful of people who actually competed in the Fitness Category.  I bookmarked those sites for well over a year.  Then, one day I literally said, "What the Hell," and sent off a contact form to a trainer.  I figured, if nothing else, I would take them up on their free body fat and physical assessment.  That I did.  This woman that I met, well, she was very positive and made me believe that there was no reason that I could not compete.  Almost everything can be learned, just like walking, one step after another, and practice.  That seemed so simple.  

Surround yourself with positive people that support your goals and believe in you.  Having people like this in your life is instrumental in helping conquer all of that negative self-talk that swims around in your head.  Your current friends, and even your family, may not quite understand why you want to pursue the things that you do.  Though they may not intend to have negative influence, it can happen.  It's great to have folks around who can counteract the negative feedback.  I found great amounts of support from people who were chasing similar goals.  I joined groups and blogs online of ladies who were prepping for bikini, figure, fitness, physique, and bodybuilding competitions.  Just reading their stories was immensely helpful as many of them were dealing with many of the same mental and physical obstructions.  It was nice to know that I wasn't crazy nor the only person going through crazy thoughts - you know, seeing a smooshed oreo on the ground and having fleeting thoughts of dropping to my knees and licking it up.  Yes that did actually happen even though I was eating copious amounts of food all day.
When the going gets tough, the negative thinking can creep in.  You may start procrastinating getting things done.  You may just give up or sabotage you goal. 
Stop.
Absorb yourself in the the project.
Redirect your focus.
Set a deadline.
Get it done.

So, I like this quote though I can't remember where I found it, "You're not setting goals, you're making wishes."  It makes it more magical for me.
However, magic doesn't give you an end result.  Goals only work when you work on them, persistently.  You have to create a framework for what you want. 

A goal properly set is halfway reached ~ Zig Ziglar

Instead of looking at the past, I put myself ahead twenty years and try to look at what I need to do now in order to get there then.  ~Diana Ross 

Writing, Brainstorm!: visions, goals, ideas, steps to get you there.  Keep a journal or blog to keep track of your feelings, inspiration, plans, steps along the way or anything that pops into your head.  Then, you'll also have a record of your journey to look back upon after you've achieved your goal.  Plus, writing something down tends to have more impact on whether your goal will come to fruition than just thinking about it.  I even write thoughts that pop into my head on napkins, post-its, any available paper all through the day and then tape them into my journal.
Create a vision board: You can do this the old-fashioned way on a posterboard, loose leaf, construction paper, whatever!  It's fun and a creative outlet to visually focus on your goals.  Cut out pictures, words, phrases and glue them on.  Write on it, doodle, or draw.  Now, you will have a constant remember staring at you daily to motivate you on your way.  You can even create one on Pinterest or Tumblr!  As hokey as it may sound, books like Creative Visualization and The Secret are big proponents of creating your dreams and vision boards are an awesome way to do that. 
Share your goals with others: It makes you feel more accountable.  If you are passionate about it when you share, inevitably folks will wind up asking you how it's going when they see you.  Likewise, if people inquire about your goals, you will feel more inclined to continue on your path and take steps to keep striving toward that dream.
Break it down into small steps:  Let's say mini-goals.  Think about what it will take.  Do you need to take any classes?  Do you need a coach?  Will you need to travel?  Will you need to make new contacts?  What do you need to do differently from now in order to get closer to your end target? 
Remember you really have to want this.  If it's something that you are really not passionate about, it's more than likely that you are not willing to put in the work that is required to get it.  If you have a lofty goal, it may take a longer time to reach it.  Are you willing to wait and put in a ton of effort into that you may not see immediate and grand results from.  For example, I saved money from my burlesque performances for probably a little more than a year before I even approached a coach.  In the meantime though, I tried to study about diet, nutrition, exercise, performance, to name a few.

Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal, my strength lies solely in my tenacity. (persistence) ~ Louis Pasteur

Do you have the tenacity to trudge on even when it seems tough or impossible? 
 If you do, each time that you reach a mini-goal, celebrate!  Celebrate the little things.  You contacted someone in the field you want to get into and spoke to them.
You completed a class.
You got into a split.
You are now including leafy greens into your diet daily. 
For me, whenever I reached a strength/weight/flexibility goal, I did a little something special for myself ~ new tinted chapstick, funky socks, magazine.  It doesn't have to be outlandish.  Even if you just brag about it on your social media site or blog, it's an accomplishment!  This is a success bringing you one step closer to the end objective so why not celebrate it?

Finally, take time to visualize yourself on the journey, not the end result.
This is the fun part.  Yes, daydream a little.
Picture yourself all through the process.
Make little vignettes in your mind about each stage. Imagine conquering all of those mini-goals, and see yourself in all your glory at the completion!

From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back.  That is the point that must be reached ~ Franz Kafka

The person who makes a success of living is the one who sees his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly.  That is dedication. ~Cecil B. DeMille 




 
 

3 comments:

Tenecia said...

Love the quotes!

T.

Amanda said...

Great post! I'm totally inspired, and while I will probably never be a fitness model, I applaud your efforts. I've been following this blog for a while, and I'm impressed with your transformation and growth. Kudos to you! I believe I'll use your suggestions in another endeavor.

Best Wishes,
Amanda

Lapetitemort said...

Thanks T. I love finding quotes by others about anything that I'm thinking about. You should see the ones that I write down from books and even dorky tv shows!

Amanda,
That's great! I've used this method for a while now, no matter what I choose to pursue. Good luck lady!!!