No Excuses.

Chances are if you made new years resolutions at the end of 2012 you have already forgotten about them.

I can speak for myself: every year I’d make lofty resolutions but by Valentine’s Day I was usually back to my old ways.

That’s why this year I decided to do something different.

Instead of resolutions, I set goals, wrote them down, and told people about them.

Goals are very different than resolutions.

Here’s what I mean:

  • To start eating healthier is a resolution.  A goal is to eat 8 servings of vegetables a day, 5 days a week, for 5 weeks in a row.
  • To lose some weight is a resolution.  A goal is to lose 15 pounds by May 28th.
  • To start exercising is a resolution.  A goal is to be able to run 5 kilometers within 10 weeks.

A good goal is very well defined.  A good goal allows you to look back and clearly say “I did it.”  A good goal lets you easily imagine what completing it looks like.

And when you write them down and tell people about them, it becomes real.

I’ll tell you how real.

Just a few months ago I couldn’t run for more than 5 minutes.  A combination of laziness, asthma, and fear had kept me on the couch for years.

Me, running my first 5K. No, I haven't purchased the photo yet :)
Me, running my first 5K. No, I haven’t purchased the photo yet 🙂

Last year I set a goal to run a 5K, which I completed in May during the Toronto Marathon.  It felt fantastic.  I had never been a runner and to cross that finish line brought me such a sense of accomplishment that I actually cried.

For 2013, I set 9 very specific goals for myself. One of them is to run a half-marathon before the end of the year.

I wrote it down and shared it with my family, my friends, and my mastermind groups.

It turns out preparing for a half-marathon is hard work, and now I need to really get busy training. I’ve been consistently running a little bit every day for the last few weeks, which feels really good.

But what really inspired me to write this blog post is this: Today I went running even though it was -8C (17F) and snowing.

Because I set a goal, wrote it down, and told people, I dressed up in layers, gloves, wool socks, and ran in freezing temperatures during a snowfall.  I had so many reasons not to run today, but because of how I set my goals this year I found it in me to engage in this insanity.

What I didn’t expect was how great it felt.  As I was running and snow was accumulated on my clothes, I had this feeling of empowerment that I was managing my life and that I was intentionally working towards something good.

The more I think about goal-setting and read about the lives of people who accomplished great things, the more I realize that these great things happen to those who are purposely working towards goals.

If you haven’t done so, I challenge you to write a handful of goals for yourself to accomplish before the end of this year.  Make sure these goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

These criteria spell “SMART.”  It’s easy to remember.

If you set a goal, make sure you write it down and let people know.  If you’d like, let the world know by using the comment box below this post.

4 replies on “No Excuses.”

Fabulous blog entry, Cesar. This really speaks to me! As my brilliant friend Walter once wrote, “When we achieve meaningful goals, we not only feel a sense of accomplishment or mastery, but also feelings of pride. Whereas mastery is linked to self-competence, pride is more closely linked to self-worth. Thus, one path to self-worth is through accomplishment. Through our successes we demonstrate to ourselves that we have the ability to cope with the challenges of life. To put in other words, increased self-competence can lead to increased self-worth.” In short, the SMART method for goal setting is an excellent step towards growing self esteem.  Inspiring.

Great post, @cesarabeid !  So proud of you for committing to a half marathon.  I couldn’t agree more on resolutions versus goals.  I wrote a post about this as well:
Maybe you could join us for the Lightfoot Birthday run on July 28th?

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