Life is about choices and the choices that you make every day affect long-term outcomes. When you wake up today you may choose to turn on a screen and relax, or you can get up and go jogging. Neither option is going to make or break you. The choice to relax with a screen isn't going to ruin your dream of running a marathon and getting up today to run isn't going to guarantee anything, but let's fast forward to a month from now. How many mornings did you choose to wake up and relax with that screen versus running? Now we are talking about 30 days worth of choices. If you decided to get up and run five out of seven days per week, then that should have a pretty strong positive effect on you running that marathon. If you chose to get up and run only twice a week, then you tell me how that will work out for you.
This isn't about shame or anything like that. It is about understanding how each choice you make affects your goals. It's tough for anyone to choose to do the right thing every day. Most humans are hard-wired to think about the needs of the present at the expense of the future. In this case, most of us are swimming upstream. On that note, we need tools to help us prioritize every day and remind us of the long-term we have set.
That is why it is so important to set out clear goals for yourself. The person that benefits from those goals is you. They are yours to own and yours to keep. You get to decide what want to accomplish and how you would like to accomplish it. Writing the goal down gives the goal weight. Simply thinking about it may work, but making the goal tangible in the real world adds to the likelihood that you will accomplish it.
Even then writing down a clear goal is not enough. We must remind ourselves of the goal daily so that we can acknowledge its presence. Tracking progress matters as well. If you want to run in that marathon then you want to make running a habit. How are you going to know when it becomes a habit? Probably when you somehow track the numbers of runs you take and what progress you are making.
It is important to remember that you aren't just tracking tasks and progress. You are also tracking choices that you make every day to pursue this goal. By making those choices and holding yourself accountable each day you build a sense of personal integrity. When you set a personal goal, in essence, you are making a promise to yourself. You build integrity with yourself when you keep that promise every day.
Keeping a journal of those choices builds your self-esteem.
As you might expect we are big fans of journaling at OAK.
Do you have any goals that you have been trying to achieve but you just can't seem to get there? Have you ever tried to track your progress and create a habit?