Goalless

I'm not into goal-setting.  I was raised in the goal-setting industry, working at seminars where people Sharpied their fears on 1-inch plywood boards and then at the end of the seminar they broke through the boards, symbolically breaking through their fears, except for one older woman who actually broke her hand trying to break through her fears.  I imagine her next board will say "BOARDS" in big black letters.  I fire walked with Tony Robbins and sat through hours of trainings on motivation and setting goals and the 80/20 principle, and I can't be too negative about these experiences because they have their place and appeal to some people and hopefully change lives for the better.  The process isn't for me, though.  Too loud.  The goals written carefully and thoughtfully on the yellow legal pad would fade when the music and flashing lights and back slapping support faded.  The process became a chore, and the goal would usually fade away.

Last year, instead of writing a list of goals on January 1st, I just decided to be open to more, to say "yes" more, and looking back on last year, I believe that this was a good decision, and a process I plan on repeating this year.  Some of my favorite and most memorable adventures from this past year weren't planned, and weren't goals.  I didn't plan on going to Everest, running a 50 miler, running across the Grand Canyon, or climbing Mt. Whitney.  These were things that just came up, the opportunity presented itself, and I was lucky enough and fit enough to be able to add them to my schedule.

In order to be able to do those things, it was important to maintain a base level of fitness.  This wasn't a goal.  Running far, hard, or fast isn't a goal of mine, it is something that I do, something that is inside and when I get the question: do you think you are addicted to running, which I get a lot, like it is a bad thing, I am not sure how to answer, but no, I don't think I am addicted to running any more than I am addicted to spending time with my family, eating good food and drinking good wine, playing fantasy baseball, listening to music, or shooting up heroin (that last one's not really an addiction, more of a pastime).  Running is my passion and it is what makes me happy.  Most can't understand the pleasure and reward I take from it, but I don't understand the pleasures some people take in scrap-booking, gardening, or making crocheted beards, but I do understand the passion.  Recently someone commented on one of my older posts

"Some are running away, others running to. You run because you are there,"

which was probably one of the best compliments I have ever received.  I don't think I am "there" yet, but I am definitely enjoying the process.

Goals seem to focus on the end result and the process is secondary.  The cliché of the packed gym in January that is empty by March is a good example of this.  The gym is empty because the goal of dropping x pounds by going to the gym everyday only works for people that enjoy going to the gym every day (these people exist, I have heard them grunting at each other).  They don't need to set the goal of going to the gym every day because they will be there anyway.  My son likes to hang from the pull-up bar in my office, but I get tired of lifting him up there every time, so I told him he would have to find his own way up.  He worked on a few different techniques, tried over and over, and finally...


My daughter, who is similarly driven, loves the Guinness Book of World Records, and right now, nothing would make her happier than to be in that book.  She scoured it and found a couple of things that seemed possible in her mind, and I found this note in her room a couple of months ago...



It refers to the pogo stick world record of 178,457 jumps, and to the side she writes "my goal: 178,458."  She set out to break the goal and reached 782 before realizing that 178,458 might be out of reach.  She then set a more realistic way of entering the Book by eating 8 Ferrero Rocher chocolates in 1 minute.  Now, if she only had the kind of parents that would buy her Ferrero Rocher chocolates.

So, no, I don't have any quantifiable goals set for the year.  I want to stay fit and healthy.  I want to run across Zion National Park, I want to run the Kalalau Trail on Kauai's Na Pali Coast, I want to finish the Canadian Death Race, and I want to do a couple of 50K races and place well. but if I'm not able to fit them in, or if they sell out before I have a chance to register for them, then I'll find something else to do.

I'm sure something will pop up.

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