Today’s Lesson: Goals do not have to be lofty to be effective.
I gave myself three HUGE goals to accomplish for the last half of this year. I think these three goals will transform my life and help me continue growing as a fully functional self-actualized human being. They are some of the hardest goals I have set and, honestly, I have been avoiding two of them for more than a year. Here they are:
1. Climb a tree.
2. Read fiction.
3. Rent a Stand-Up Paddleboard.
I know, right? They don’t sound like much but that is okay. We have a lofty-goal addiction in society now. We are supposed to set outrageous, audacious, practically unattainable goals and go after them with tireless passion and endless energy. Except, of course, that does not work, not for most of us. Most of us are tired, stressed, and dealing with the outcomes of years of bad choices. “Changing the world” is not on our bucket list. What many people miss is if you focus on yourself, you will affect the world. YOU are part of “the world”. Let’s scale it back and start focusing on goals that sound small but have huge impacts. For example, why did I choose my three huge (but small-sounding) goals? Here is the breakdown, as I see it:
1. Climb a tree (even if only 10-feet off the ground).
I hate exercise. Lifting something up and putting it back down 20 times feels dumb and boring to me. However, I love activity and I have been learning a lot about “load balancing”. This is essentially the idea that we are designed to experience different loads on our bodies (think of an active child sitting on the floor, then running across a field, then picking up rocks to explore what is underneath them, then climbing a tree, etc…).
Climbing a tree, for me, is a reminder that, even in my forties, I can still be a kid and I can (and should) use my body’s muscles for what they were intended. Climbing a tree is a healthy activity, a fun way to trick myself into exercising, and, frankly, a reminder of what it feels like to climb at tree! Maybe next year, I will try to gather some friends for a game of freeze tag.
2. Read fiction (at least one book, any book I want).
I took this idea from James Altucher. He points out that reading fiction is crucial for leaders and writers. Fiction, especially futuristic science fiction, helps our brains practice envisioning what is possible. It keeps our creative juices going.
Many leaders (myself included) mostly read non-fiction self-help(ish) books written by successful entrepreneurs or other thought leaders. If you are a writer (like maybe someone who posts a blog each day) the problem is you are not reading and learning from great writing. Entrepreneurs are excellent at running businesses or managing teams but most of them are only proficient at writing. It is not their craft, after all. Reading great works of fiction helps you understand what great writing and speaking looks like.
Reading fiction is a crucial skill, whether it is the great literary artists of the past or the great contemporary comic book writers of today! Maybe I will do a little of both, instead of only dedicating my reading time to non-fiction.
3. Rent a Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) and, you know, actually stand up on it.
Aside from offering a great core workout (which I could definitely benefit from), Stand-Up Paddleboards (or SUP’s) are all about Balance. I am a firm supporter of the famous phrase, “Mens sana in corpore sano” (“Sound mind in a sound body“) or, as the great literary poets of Funkadelic put it, “Free your mind and your ass will follow”. In other words, if you want balance in your life, start by finding balance in your body. This is what so many yoga enthusiasts have figured out and why they are so annoyingly calm when everyone else is stressed out.
There are other benefits to me practicing on a SUP, too. It is an activity Nicole and I can do together–a bonding moment. Plus, we live in Tampa. How cool will it be to stand up on the ocean and maybe paddle to a nearby island? I mean, seriously, that is going to be a memory and experience to talk about many years from now!
Those are my three “HUGE” goals for the rest of the year. Achievable? Absolutely. Challenging? A little. Worthwhile? I bet I will learn more from meeting my three goals than most people will learn from outrageous (and useless) goals like, “make a million dollars“, “travel the world“, or “be the best ever… (athlete, writer, fighter, singer, brand, etc.)“.
Once I master reading a book, climbing a tree, and paddling on the water, then maybe we can talk about achieving world peace.