Setting Journey Goals Rather Than End Game Goals

I am not a big on setting New Years resolutions. I believe our resolutions won’t likely be successful, if it is only the time of year that inspires them. I do however think that if you have some days off during the holidays, it is a great time to review your goals. If you don’t have formal, written goals then it might be a good time to do that. As I was reviewing and adjusting goals this year, I realized something. Over the last three years I have made some significant progress on my goals. I figured out why. When I used to set goals I focused completely on the outcome, and then would try to figure out what tasks would need to be done to achieve them. Of course the real work of achieving goals is pretty tough, so I found myself not wanting to do the hard work to reach the goals. This lead to disappointment. In the last few years I must have subconsciously realized what I am going to share with you today. What I realized is that I have learned to find more fulfillment in the activities that help me achieve my goals. The primary fuel that will help you achieve your goals is discipline. Sometime during 2019 I read a book called “Make Your Bed” by William H. McRaven. It talked about starting your day with a win by making your bed. I started the habit of making sure our bed was made every morning. Then I started paying closer attention to other small habits. During 2020 I started two more new habits. Habit 1 was to read my devotions every morning. Later in the year I added at least ten or fifteen minutes of exercise every morning. The key is that these activities became goals themselves, and were small, and achievable. Don’t get me wrong, it took a while to develop the habits. When I did develop the habits I felt better about myself. As I look at my goals now, I notice that no matter how big the goals I am always focused on the next step. That next step is to just add to the disciplines I already have. If you really want to achieve big goals, and you don’t already have daily disciplines, then those might be the best goals to start with. During 2020 I took a college course, completed a lengthy Life Coaching certificate course, worked fifty to sixty hours a week in my job, and am on my way to transitioning into my retirement career. I was also able transition my job from what I used to see as a soul sucking job into something much better. I started creating disciplines and focusing how my job helped my colleagues, and helped me to be more disciplined. As you prepare to make 2021 better than 2020 set small discipline goals to start. It feels good to win. Make your goals small and focused on discipline. The achievement of those goals will become fuel for your larger goals. Also notice the thing I didn’t talk about. I didn’t talk about how terrible 2020 was. That is a focus for another post, but I do want to say “focus on things you can control”. Hope this helps.

1 – Foundations – Don’t Do This Alone

I always chuckle when I hear a CEO or any other successful person proclaim they are self made. While they may have lead the effort, the amount of work they did themselves is a tiny fraction of all the work that was done to get them where they are. In the same way you are going to need other people in your journey. People like life coaches, and those that will love you and support your journey to a better life. When I started my journey I didn’t really have either. I did eventually get a life a coach who helped me to get the ball rolling. That was the real beginning of my forward momentum. If you look in the right margin of the home page, you will see two of the things that my life coach introduced me to. Mindfulness, and Green Time were both tools that helped me to get to where I am today. If you are in a position where you can’t afford coaching, look for someone around you to share your journey with. Someone who will support you in your efforts and hold you accountable. Make sure they are really a positive person who has your best interests in mind. This process might take bit, but you will be surprised who might step up to help you out. A lot of clients think a life coach is going to somehow make their journey easy or be able to do things for them. A life coach is there more than anything to guide you in coming to the conclusions that will move you forward. In the end of the first post in the Foundations series, I talked about “knowing what you are up to”. There are reasons that you act the way you do, and for the most part we are all a bit clueless about what we really up to and why. A good certified life coach will listen closely to you and help you uncover the unseen motivations, and traumas that impact you. Once you know what is impacting you, your coach can then help you to put together a plan for overcoming your challenges. Do a Google search in your area for ADHD life coaches, and counselors. Try to find someone with reviews and high satisfactions scores. I know she has quite a lot going on, but Casey Dixon was tremendous help in getting me headed in the right direction. As you begin the process of finding someone to help support your efforts, get a piece of paper or a word processor and start thinking about and writing down what you are looking for a life coach to help you with. If you have goals and you haven’t written them down, do that too. There is some power in putting your goals on paper. Once you know you really want to change, and you have someone to help keep you accountable, the progress will begin. I am so convinced of the value of coaching, I am currently working through a life coaching certification myself.

1 – Foundations – You Are Enough!

Do you believe you have what it takes to drive your life in a positive direction? I didn’t know I had ADHD until later in life, but I always knew there was something different about me. It made me feel insecure and inadequate. Starting at a very early age I would lie about things, and do anything I could to make myself look like I was better than I thought myself to be. I was desperate to fit in to my world, but the harder I tried the worse things became. My impulsiveness would erupt at the worse times, and this cause a lot of criticism and anger to come my way. I wasn’t a good student. I was broken on the inside. With every year that passed, I became more desperate to fit in. I found some reprieve in my teenage years by hanging out with the smokers, and other people living outside of high school popularity. This lead me to alcohol and eventually drugs. When I was sixteen years old I tried to get a job at a local grocery store chain, but couldn’t pass the cashier’s basic math test required to be a cashier. There were however occasional glimmers of hope left in me. The first was the church where my mom attended. That was one of the only places I felt cared for and appreciated. The second came when I was about fifteen years old, I worked for a doctor taking care of the grass around his home and practice. They lived in a very large very nice home. The doctors sons were a little younger than me and their daughter was about the same age. It might have been misguided, but I perceived them to have wealth, and somehow I was holding out hope that I could have that as well. In addition they were fairly friendly and we talked on a regular basis. They didn’t know my situation at school, so it was some place I could be myself. The more negative earlier experiences in life persisted well into adulthood. There are still things I struggle with today. I shared these experiences with you because, once I discovered the other foundations I will share with you in upcoming posts, my life started to change. When I look back now, I see that my outcomes were first a result of my beliefs, and second that my beliefs influenced my actions which lead to many of the negative consequences. Today I am a fairly successful technology professional. I have been married for twenty eight years and am in a great place. The goal of for me is to simply pay forward the blessings that I have experienced, and was blessed enough to come by.

Whether the situations you deal with are better or worse than the picture I painted above, you are enough. This is going to be simple, but it won’t be easy. The catalyst for change is to build better thoughts, discover truths, and act on those. The tough part is discovering “what you are up to, and why”. A lot of people think they know exactly what they are doing and why. If there is one thing I have learned, it is only the deluded who believe they know exactly, what they are up to, and why. There are so many external influences in your life, that you may never perceive. In the coming weeks and months you will learn a little more about that, and that is the primary pillar on which you will build your foundation.

A Fixer Upper

In the process of searching for a house this week my wife showed me a listing she had found. She said that it had a pool and a great outdoor space, but it needed some fixing up on the inside. This weekend I started thinking about the similarities between me and this house. Things look good on the outside, but on the inside there are some things that need fixing up. I have recently come to realize that I could be so much more than I am, but in order to do this I am going to need to do positive things that I haven’t been doing up until now. When I started to think about what first steps I might take to make things better, it occurred to me I would have to start with small changes that I could really succeed in making. I found it surprising just how little the goals would have to be in order for me to actually deliver on them. Although I have been making these small improvements for a while now, it still amazes me how far I have to go. It is OK to start really small when you want to make changes in your life, because success breeds success. I don’t want to make goals so easy, that they are not beneficial, but I also don’t want to make them so unreasonable that I won’t be able to achieve them. We all have to start somewhere. One of the challenges we often run into, is that we don’t face up to where we really are in life. When I first started this process of choosing a single goal for each day a few years ago, it was on a Friday night that I decided that my goal for Saturday would simply be to make sure the dishes got done since my wife was working Saturday morning. To go along with these small changes, I have found that it is important not to compare myself with anyone else, but compare your performance today with your performance yesterday. One goal, and one small change each day. Improvement is made a day at a time. If you are up for a good book to get you started, read

Supportive and Accepting

I was recently thinking about times in my life, when I was most happy. When I was a child, my mom used to take us to a small church in a small town, not only on Sunday mornings but many Sunday evenings, and weekday nights. It was during these times in my childhood, that I felt the most loved, appreciated, and accepted. It was one of the few places, I felt this sense of love and acceptance. I started with this, because many of us who have ADHD don’t feel a lot of love and acceptance in our adult lives. Some time ago successful business author Seth Godin was on a popular ADHD podcast. He attributed much of his success with ADHD, to the love and support he received from his family. Everyone yearns for love and acceptance in their life, and that is doubly true for someone who might act in ways that draw criticism from others.

The world will tell you that you can’t depend on the acceptance of others, to feel worthy. To some extent that is true. Once you internalize the fact that you do have intrinsic worth as a human being, and that there are many good things about you, you will thrive. The struggle is that until you have this epiphany, you may need a space where you can succeed. Do you have at least one place in your life, where you feel understood, and accepted? There are many ADHD support groups, and every city in our country has Christian churches where we can find this kind of environment. There are coaches who specialize in working with people with ADHD. If you are someone who feels like your life is a constant onslaught of one struggle after another, take that first step and find some space where you can be valued and accepted. This space will allow you to get through until you realize how valuable you are. I truly believe that all of us are capable of much more than we think, but we have to arrive at that moment, when we truly believe that.