August 1, 2014

Finding My Purpose and Recommitting to Goals

Remember when I used to do monthly challenges and write about my progress? I feel like I used to be much more invested in my goals, but for the last few months, I just haven’t been committed. (Heck, one of my challenges was even just “finish the things I put on my to do list”, and that didn’t go so well.) As I look back at the end of when I was doing challenges, I realize that I kind of stopped once work started getting really crazy as we approached our big go-live dates. I was very focused on the goal of “make launch successful” and simultaneously “prove myself as a manager so I can get promoted”, but those weren’t really things I felt all that comfortable blogging about.

However, I’ve now been promoted, and the major go-lives are behind me (though we still have a few smaller milestones before we can truly call the project complete). Can you believe it’s been more than 2.5 years that I’ve been working on this project in Texas?! (Okay, if you heard me call my boss “Tah-ler” and saw me write emails addressed to “y’all,” you would believe it.) But in consulting, most project last only weeks or a few months, not years. I’ve definitely learned a ton and grown a lot in my roles on this project, but it’s starting to draw to a close, and that makes me think… what’s next?

(Note: my Mount Princeton summit may have been a really proud moment for me, but I do not think it’s going to be a goal of hiking all the 14ers.)

I’ve been tossing a few goals around in my head lately – namely things that I’ve been doing but don’t like about myself. I don’t like that I’ve been indulging a bit more than I should in rich food and sugary cocktails. I don’t like that I’ve been skipping a bunch of workouts and half-assing others. I don’t like that I’m getting behind on emails and not doing a good job responding to people in a timely manner. And I really don’t like my lack of focus, where I don’t have any one goal I’m really pushing to achieve. As exhausting as it was to do 50by25, it gave me a really good sense of purpose and direction that helped me make hard decisions. Spend money on a dress or on a race registration? Go on vacation or go to a marathon? I tried to make sure I still got to live a normal life while working toward my 50by25 goal, but there were definitely times that the choice was taken out of my decisions since I knew that I needed to focus on achieving that goal.

Princeton Avenue Q
“Purpose… it’s that little flame that lights a fire under your a**.” Image credit: Penn State Live

Unfortunately, setting a goal isn’t as easy as looking at some lists online and saying “meh, that one sounds good.” Part of the reason I feel like I haven’t been doing so well with the goals I’ve set is that I’m not committed to them… and I’m not going to get very far if I don’t really care about them. I declared my DietBet goal a few months ago and I managed to achieve it, but I went back to eating semi-unhealthily afterward, and quickly gained back the five pounds that I lost. Part of me wants to say, “okay, this is Alcohol-Free August!” or “I will not skip my workout any day for the next month!”, but if I don’t really care about those goals, it’s going to be a lot harder to motivate myself to achieve them.

Instead of setting a goal and quickly abandoning it, I want to take the month of August to figure out a really good goal. Rebecca over at A Life Less BS recently wrote a great post about priorities, subtitled: “Hint: a priority isn’t a priority if you have 50 of them.” It made me think a lot about the small goals that I’ve been setting, and how they conflict with each other. Be the best manager at the office (aka probably become a workaholic), but also be the most fun person in my circles of friends (aka probably don’t work that much). Lose weight (perpetual goal) but savor my last few weeks on this project in Dallas and eat all my favorite dishes and restaurants there since I might be away for a few months. Get 8 hours of sleep a night but make sure to work out every day. When I’m not prioritizing one of these goals, I’m doing pretty mediocre at all of them. And I hate being mediocre!

I want to work on figuring out one goal. One that’s very important to me and that I feel passionate about, which can help drive my other decisions and give me something to strive for. It’s easy to live life just wandering from one thing to the next – and as I learned from marathons, some of the best experiences in life are those you have on the way to that end destination. But I also believe you aren’t living a truly fulfilling life until you’re making big goals and then working your butt off to achieve them, and I haven’t really been doing a great job of that lately. It’s time to get cracking!

Stay tuned for more about goal setting and prioritization in the next month!


5 thoughts on “Finding My Purpose and Recommitting to Goals”

  1. i think it’s okay sometimes to have a season of ‘lack of focus’ – after working super hard to do your 50×25 and on this major work project, you gotta celebrate, let loose a bit and decompress, right? but I do feel ya on the goal thing. I picked ‘focus’ as my word of 2014 and it’s helped keep me (…) focused when i’m feeling uninspired or flighty.

    anyway, best of luck with your new goal! maybe it should involve fitness in the city classes so we can hang out! 🙂

    1. Well, the problem is that I did 50by25 a few years ago 🙂 Need to get back in the game soon!

      And I LOVE the idea of lots of Fitness in the City classes. I should be in Denver a lot more pretty soon to take advantage of that…

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