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  • Writer's pictureJakki Flaherty

Goals...Are They Your Own?

As we approach the time of year where people start to reflect and think about what they can/should be doing better in the new year, I encourage you to take a moment after writing your resolutions and/or goals for 2022 and ask yourself the simple question, “are these goals and resolutions my own?” Now, this may seem silly, because after all, you did write them, so doesn’t that automatically make them your own? The answer is no. We have so many outside influences, and distractions, that it is very easy to confuse the goals of your larger network with those of your own. Take a moment to think about a time in life, past or present, when you were part of a large group of friends, co-workers, or even an exercise group (i.e. the ladies you rode SoulCycle with every Tuesday at 9am) and remind yourself of a goal that you had at that time. Once you have identified that goal, take an honest look at it and ask yourself was that a goal that you had because it was going to help you get what you wanted to achieve or was that a goal you had because it would make you feel like you were “winning” or “keeping up” with the rest of the group. Motivation from a group setting is often what helps push us ahead or keep us on track, so I am not saying that is a bad thing. I am merely saying don’t forget who you are and what you want to achieve within that group. Don’t let your goal be something that seemed like a good idea a while back (that maybe didn’t work, or did but may have required a narrow window of parameters) continue to be your goal just because it is commonplace or a popular idea/action.

I once was part of a “gym gang” a bunch of rag-tag people who all happened to be at the gym at the same time every evening. This gang became the people that I did my workouts for, even though they had no clue I was performing for them. The satisfaction of completing a tough workout, and the way I felt after became by-products of how hard I could work to show off for the people around me. The sole goal of my fitness came to be impressing others, even though I had myself convinced I was doing it “for my own sanity.” The reality is, I forgot my goals of trying to move better, develop a better base layer of strength to prevent injury, and the main goal came to be impressing and keeping up with my new pals. Within the group, our goals started to blend. One person was going to run a 5k, so shouldn’t we all? I didn’t want to be the only person Monday night who didn’t run the day before, and feel left out or worse, less fit. So I ran, and then immediately ran to my bodywork person to get put back together.

The point is, it is ok to veer from the group while still being a part of it. Know and identify your goals, and then make choices and actions that support those goals, allowing for flexibility. Rarely is achieving anything a linear line. Ask yourself multiple times along the way, does this choice support my goal? And then revisit those goals, regularly, to see if they are still relevant. They may change, and that is ok. Your wants/needs may have changed, that is to be expected, we can’t predict life.

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