We all have goals that motivate us. You know, ambitions or aspirations or intentions that stir and inspire us to fight harder or go longer or be more devoted than we normally would be.
And I think itís fair to say that most people live in blissful ignorance of what theyíre truly capable of, unless they have some kind of a carrot to chase that draws out their full potential. Cause letís face it, when weíve got some kind of emotional or physical or tangible goal dangling in front of us, it usually makes the wheels turn a little faster.
See, what Iíve always found so interesting is how vastly different peoplesí goals can be. And more interesting still, is how broad the measurement is for achieving them. I mean, for some people, their big goal may just be getting up out of bed every morning, getting dressed, and making it to work on time.
While for others, itís breaking physical barriers like climbing all 48 of the White Mountainsí 4,000-footers or being the first American ninja or skiing K2. Or maybe your goal is to smoke less or lose 100 pounds or do three complete boy-style pushups without your forearms snapping.
And in terms of reaching your goals, think of it this way: A mile is still a mile no matter how long it takes you to run it. In other words, whatever your dream is, youíll eventually get there at a pace thatís very uniquely your own. Because when it comes to goals, pace is really irrelevant. The bottom line is achievement of the goal, not how long acquisition actually takes.
Take today, as a good example of exactly what Iím talking about. This morning, I ran a 5K road race with about 125 of my closest fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade girlfriends; all of whom I coach, along with an inspiring and devoted group of six other women.
Todayís race was the climax of our six-week season. Weíve all spent the last month and a half coaching this group of girls, training for and working toward 125 different goals. So interesting, isnít it? Such a huge group of people, all working toward what appears to be the same end, but with 125 different mini goals woven just under the surface. Fascinating.
For some, their goal was breaking a 10-minute mile or running a sub-eight for the first time or running without cramps or just making it around the course without stopping or without any sort of running-induced vomiting. While for others, just finishing the 3.1-mile run was all that mattered ó regardless of how they looked crossing the line.
Because after all, tripping into the end zone ass over elbow still gets you the six points, according to any NFL standard. Breaking the plane is a touchdown, regardless of how ugly it looks on the instant replay. End of story.
So Iím very proud to say that all of our girls and their friends and families and running buddies broke the plane and got the job done ó because pace, as Iíve also learned, is completely relative. Every single one of them crossed the exact same finish line. And the cheers for the first girls were exactly as loud as they were for the last ones. Thatís because each and every one of them instinctively knew what it meant to have a goal and to work toward it, regardless of what the goal was. So there was a mutual respect for everyone accomplishing what they set out to do.
And that right there is why I love having goals. Itís why finding something to metaphorically aim at ó whatever that something is ó ensures that youíre always aiming for something. Because shooting off rounds into wide open space without a target to hit generally wonít score you any marksmanship points. At best, itíll just graze someone in the butt. Thatís because without an objective you canít very well have a mission, now can you?
Now of course, the best-case scenario is to have someone there with you to hold you accountable to your goal. And while itís not absolutely necessary in terms of actually being successful, itís mighty helpful in the long run if youíve got someone calling you out when youíre slacking off. But not everyone has that luxury. Meaning just have to police yourself. And while being responsible for ourselves isnít always that easy, itís more than doable with some modest effort.
So while itís most definitely helpful to have a coach or a mentor or a sidekick to help keep your eye on the prize, the most important thing to have is a goal in the first place. Any kind of goal that keeps the momentum going. Because without something moving you forward, youíre really just standing still. And doesnít really accomplish anything, now does it?
Lisa Sugarman lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Read and discuss all her columns at itiswhatitiscolumn.wordpress.com. She is also the author of ďLIFE: It Is What It Is,Ē available on Amazon.com.