Tag Archives: Goal setting

Chasing My Goals Through Running

It had been a long time since I had reached a meaningful goal. Yesterday I reached an important goal of mine. I participated in an official 5K!

Why did I choose to start running? I guess because right now running is one of the few things that makes me feel good about myself. After 40 years of smoking, I finally quit about 2 1/2 years ago. That was also a major accomplishment. As I started to feel better not smoking, I just felt like running.

Before I quit I doubt I could have run 50 yards without collapsing. At first I measured my progress by how many steps I could run before I had to start walking. I remember coming home excited to tell my wife I was able to run 500 steps. Then I started measuring my progress by my time running 5K. When I first finished under 45 minutes, I began to believe I could get under 40 minutes. Now that I run at 35 minutes, I believe I can get under 30.

Why is reaching this goal so important to me? I know many people will wonder what is the big deal about completing a 5K. I didn’t win any awards. I finished in 131st place overall and 7th out of 16 in my age group. It is important because I needed to succeed at something. I needed to complete a goal. I needed to start chasing the negative thoughts from my head.

It is so easy to start just drifting through life, accepting where you are and just happy to make it through another day, another week, another uneventful year. It is so easy to believe that the opportunity for personal growth is far behind you. I needed to prove to myself that I am not through growing and changing.

Completing this race gives me the confidence to pursue my other goals. It shows me that, with effort, I am capable of being a successful writer. I can find a way to support myself doing something I love rather than in retail management which I am so tired of doing.

So I sprinted the last quarter mile of this race, and as the finish line approached I was able to smile despite the physical effort. And when I crossed the finish line I shed a couple of tears because I realized that I CAN!

 

The goal of this blog is to share my journey to Live Simple, Live healthy and to Love what I’m doing. If you can relate to this blog please subscribe to my blog and/or like my Live Your Future Now Facebook page. If you know others who may benefit from my blog, PLEASE share this blog with them. Thank you for your support.

Caring for Yourself.

How do you continue on when no one seems to care?

In my post Fantasy Starts, False Starts, and Failed Starts I stated that I was going to use this blog to share the struggles I am facing in reaching my goals with the hope that the sharing would help both me and any readers that may also be struggling. Well, I’m struggling and now I’m sharing.

I am not having much problem with eating healthier and losing weight. My wife actually got a head start on healthy eating and weight loss, so she is preparing healthy meals for us and holding me accountable for my diet.  I’ve lost 5 more pounds since that post and I seldom eat any junk food.

Running has even been going well. I get out to run/walk 2 to 3 times each week and have improved my 5K time from 58 minutes to just over 45 minutes. My goal is to get under 40 minutes, then enter a 5K race. I think I am on track to achieve this goal.

Where I am struggling the most is in my writing. I have not written a single word on any of my fiction short stories since I posted that as a goal. I had to renew my domain site writerrick.com and my wife questioned the wisdom of spending $50 on something nobody reads anyway. That is my biggest discouragement.  My last post on motivation had one reader.  It was a man named Karol Gajda from Poland, a blogger and author who inspires me. I wasn’t expecting thousands or even hundreds of hits, but I did post the link on my Facebook page and not one of my family or friends went to my blog.

So, how do I continue when no on else cares? By caring myself and not worrying whether anyone else cares. So I will continue to attempt reaching my goals and I will continue to report my struggles here. I will not advertise these posts about my struggles on my Facebook page. If someone reads this because they reached my blog for other content, that is fine. Meanwhile, I will motivate myself and move forward.

 

Fantasy Starts, False Starts, and Failed Starts

Most of us could make a long list of things we want to start.  Many lists would include starting habits traditionally found in New Year’s resolutions. This year I’m going to exercise more, eat healthier, start saving more money, volunteer my time….blah, blah, blah, etc. etc. etc. Some items would be more personal. This is the spring I’m going to build that deck I’ve been talking about for years, the summer I will take the family camping, the fall I take those cooking classes or the winter I start writing my novel.

Too often most of the items on our lists amount to no more than fantasy starts.  We picture the evenings we spend on our new deck or the restaurant quality meals we will whip up in the kitchen, and that is as far as we get. Don’t get me wrong, visualizing a successful outcome is helpful in reaching your goal.  Visualizing the steps and hard work it will take to accomplish your goal is much more productive.

If we get past the fantasy stage, then we may fall victim to a false start.  We draw up plans for the deck, calculate the materials we need and get expert advice on how to proceed and go no further. I am the king of false starts.  Live Your Future Now has been without a new post for over 2 years.  This article you are reading now was started in September of 2013!

One item on my list for years has been to be a successful writer, not just of a blog, but also of short stories. Three years ago I purchased the domain Writerrick.com and have not even purchased hosting much less published anything.  I have 4, or is it 5, short stories started and no good reason why I haven’t finished even one.

While writing is at the top of my list, I also want to run a 5K this year, lose 15 more pounds, (I’ve already lost 15 since February 20th) and improve my interpersonal and spiritual relationships. Sounds like a lot to attempt and it won’t be easy.

To help me achieve these goals, I am changing the mission of Live Your Future Now. I will use this blog to discuss my struggles, successes, and the materials I have found to help me along the way.  I’m not doing this to receive encouragement and congratulations, although I will take all I can get.  The reason is to keep me writing, hold me accountable and hopefully help others reach their goals.

It would foolish to believe I will succeed in everything I attempt. There will be some starts where I try my best but fail.  Maybe the goal was not realistic or I did not plan properly.  I will learn from the experience, replan and start again.

While there will still be occasional posts on living a simple, uncluttered life as I have not abandoned my minimalistic ideas, the majority of posts will be on my writing and running goals.

Most people reading this blog at this time are my family and friends. To reach my goal of being a successful writer I need to expand my audience. If you feel any of my posts may be helpful to one of your friends, please share it with them. Let them join me in my journey.

P.S. I both ran and wrote today, so today was a good day! See the poem below.

I RAN TODAY
(a poem? by Rick McCarthy)
I ran today. Feet flying over pavement.
I do not know whether I run to escape or arrive.
I do not care.
All I know is-
I ran today. I will continue to run
For as long as my heart provides life’s blood
For as long as oxygen flows through my brain.
I will run until my body can no longer.
And then … I am done.

I wrote today. Fingers flying over keyboard.
I do not know whether I write to escape or arrive.
I do not care.
All I know is-
I wrote today. I will continue to write
For as long as my heart provides life’s stories.
For as long as ideas flow through my brain.
I will write until my soul can no longer.
And then … I am done.

 

You Signed the Pledge, Now Take Action

Thanks to everyone who has read and signed the proclamation declaring 2011 as the Year of Less.  If this is your first visit, please read my previous post, “A Call for Change…Make 2011 the Year of Less, take the pledge and begin your journey to a simple, uncluttered life.

Take the next step!

Those who have taken the pledge to buy less, own less and do less in 2011, must now take action.  You don’t want signing the pledge to become meaningless, like a New Year’s resolution that is forgotten before January ends.  Your next step is to set your personal goals for 2011 and develop a plan to achieve those goals. Don’t let anyone tell you what your goals should be; to truly own them they must be YOUR goals.

Make your goals SMART.

Is it your goal to reduce your debt and cut purchases in 2011?  If so, then if you end 2011 owing one less dollar and you bought one less cup of coffee, you reached your goal.  To be truly effective, goals must be SMART.  SMART is an acronym used by many organizations as a guideline for setting meaningful goals.  SMART stands for:

Specific – This is the what, why and how of goal setting.  What exactly are you going to do, why is it important and how are you going to accomplish the goal.  For example, you can set a goal of reducing expenses by eliminating cable TV which would free up an extra $60+ a month to pay on debt and give you 2 extra hours a day to spend quality time with family and friends.

Measurable – You have to be able to track your progress towards a goal.  If you can’t measure a goal, how do you know when you’ve reached it?  You can track your progress towards the goal of losing 20 lbs, but how do you track the goal of being as happy as you possibly can?

Attainable – Although your goals should challenge you, they also need to be possible for you to reach.  If your goal is unattainable, you will become discouraged and no longer commit to achieving the goal.  Reducing your debt by $10,000 in a month is probably not possible, but $500 a month may be possible and the $10,000 of debt will be gone in 20 months.

Realistic – Realistic means that the skills, materials, and information needed to accomplish the goal are available.  It doesn’t mean that it will be easy, but is does mean that it is doable.

Time-bound –  You must commit to a date by which your goal will be achieved.  The date should allow you enough time to complete the goal, but not so much time that you feel no sense of urgency.  How many times have you said that someday you are going to travel to (insert your destination here), only to find out that someday never comes?  It is much better to say you are going to take the trip in August of this year.

When you share your goals, you are held accountable to achieve them.

Everyday life provides plenty of distractions and frustrations which can cause us to quickly forget all about our goals.  Procrastination is my biggest stumbling block on the path to success.  There are some methods to help us fight against these barriers to achieving our goals:

  • Write down your goals and post them where they can be seen daily.  Writing down goals helps to reinforce them and reviewing them on a regular basis draws our attention away from the distractions and back to our goals.
  • Share your goals with someone you trust to hold you accountable.  Find an accountability partner(s) who you meet with on a regular basis to review your progress.  Your partner needs to be someone who will encourage you, question you, and will give you a kick in the butt when you need one.
  • Nothing breeds success like success.  If your goal is to pay off a $1000 credit card debt, set up a thermometer graph from zero to $1000 and color in each payment amount you make.  Your sense of accomplishment will grow at the same rate as your graph fills up.

I would like to share a couple of my goals with you.

  1. It is important for my blog to stay active and for me to write consistantly if I wish to make a living through my writing.  I will publish a minimum of 100 informative, high-quality posts to my blog in 2011.
  2. In support of the 2011, the Year of Less pledge, I will publish an e-guide containing information and techniques that readers can use to help them buy less, own less and do less in 2011.  This guide will be available in March of 2011.

If you haven’t already done so, take the next step and set your SMART goals for 2011.  Write them down and share them with an accountability partner.  If you have any goals you would like to share with me or my readers, you can post them in the comments area or put them in a email to just me.  My email is  exodux2000 @ yahoo.com.  I also am now on twitter. My handle is Rickatfuturenow.