Managing Far Away Goals

woods.jpgEvery Friday I join dad for a 6 mile mountain hike. Today I noticed we have very different approaches toward this outing.
After we get a couple of turns up the switchbacks, if we look up we can see our end point – a big white rock that stands out on the next mountain in the faaar off distance. I mean FAR off distance. (The first three miles are uphill, too.) Like, when I take other people on this hike, I don’t even say that’s where we’re going because they get too discouraged to finish. (In fact, along the way, I like to point out to dad, “this is where Russ turned around; this is where Verrall turned around.” hee hee)
On this morning’s hike, dad made a point of stopping to look at the big rock in the distance and said jovially, “hey, that’s where WE’RE going!” As I also looked at the FAR OFF rock, I thought, “that’s a long frickin’ way” and felt my energy fade.
While it totally energized him to see the end goal, I experienced a different feeling altogether. It seemed really long, really hard, and very out of reach.
But when I put my head back down and watched the trail in front of me, I was right back to enjoying the hike as usual. I realized it works better for me when I think of the bend just ahead, and then the next creek we cross, and then my favorite tree after that. Thinking of it in bits and pieces suit me best for making it to the end.
I thought how this relates to other goals in life. How some of them seem so ridiculously far away that we give up before we even start. And yet, if we just point out a couple of milestones along the way, and shoot for the closest one of THOSE, one at a time, we make amazing progress.
I also thought of how some people do better when the going gets rough to stay strongly connected to the end result – to remember WHY they’re trudging up this hill that makes everyone else think they’re crazy.
And then I realized focusing just on the end result can be tricky, too. After all, we know it’s not the destination that matters, but the journey.
So although I might have thought dad’s end result was the big rock (and mine the bench next to it), I realize it’s more likely the time spent together enjoying nature and the dogs. Making new friends along the trail, saying hello to the regulars, and updating each other about our lives as we go.
That’s where we’re going.”
I’ve been interested lately in thinking where WE’RE going with our deliberate creation work. I have to imagine that when many of us get this stuff down pat life is going to be VERY different than as we know it now. Don’t you think?
Regardless – what’s before us now is the next step. It seems prudent to focus on that, and find the thoughts that most help us enjoy taking it. (And for some of us, that thought may very well be of the big rock ahead.)
I’ll practice this myself as I work towards my birthday present to self of “best shape ever.” Instead of wondering how I’m going to get back to looking fabulous in that size four little black Anne Taylor dress, I’ll look at the next step ahead. (Getting my thoughts in alignment is MY first step.)
Once there, I’ll look at the step after that, and so forth. And I’ll get there. Maybe seeing that little black dress on the hanger once in a while will help – I’ll feel that out as I go. And I’ll enjoy the journey along the way. Simply because I said so. 🙂
So the next time you’re feeling deflated because what you want seems so far away from where you are, remember you can get there from here. It starts with the next step, and deliberately enjoying your journey will make all the difference in the world for your continued progress and eventual, inevitable success.

  • October 26, 2007
  • Good Vibe Coach says:

    You’re sweet, Kim!! Nice to hear from you again!

    And nice turnaround of those thoughts! That’ll serve you well these next three weeks – YAY!!!

    To continue the analogy – you’re at the best part of the trail: lots of shade cover, knowing you’re almost to the top, nice bench to sit on with a gorgeous view till you’re ready to move on, you’ve got all that great “work” behind you, it’s practically downhill from here!

  • Kim Falconer says:

    Hi Jeanette,

    Your post comes at a perfect time—3 weeks of Uni left this semester and huge (big rock tiny in the distance) projects are due. Sure I’ve been working on them, I’m a ways up the trail, but every time I think of what the final result needs to look like, (and how far away it is) I feel that ‘energy drain’ . . . How will I ever get this done?’

    Your reminder to just look at the next step and ENJOY the journey is marvellous. I’m thinking, ‘what do I need to complete today?’ and it’s not huge; it’s doable! And I love academics…this is fun stuff. It’s all grand!

    I also enjoyed ‘seeing’ the trail you described and pretending I was hiking along with you. That was very fun! You are so fit! I’m getting fitter just thinking about that hike—and how great the dogs get to come along too!

    Thank you, Jeanette. You are fabulous.

    How lucky are we all to have you in our lives!!!


  • Good Vibe Coach says:

    Lauren, a 12 mile run … I can’t even conceive of that!! Especially the first one by yourself! sheesh. I’m impressed!!

    Nice LOA work allowing that to be a happy experience!

    Thanks for posting, Lauren!

  • Good Vibe Coach says:

    Trish, I couldn’t write nicer comments if I made them up myself!! lol Thank you so much for encouraging this work!

    What a strong appreciator you are – SO nice to know you!

    (Man, I must be doing something very right to be aligned with the likes of you.)

    Namaste, Trish.

  • Good Vibe Coach says:

    Yay for the magnet visual! Thanks, Rick! I think I’ll use that in LOTS of situations. (The right house is pulling me towards it; the right hairstylist is pulling me in; the best route through traffic; etc.)

    Thanks for sharing, my friend!

  • Anonymous says:

    That’s so awesome what Rick said, because I was going to comment with a running analogy also, except I get up my HILLS with a “rope” tied to the top and I pull myself up (if you watch me, you’ll see my hands and arms pumping harder and see me actually reaching and grabbing the rope:) I think I want to try the magnet next time too though!

    I’m definitely more of a piece by piece person…and I think I’ve gotten even better at it through my running. I ran my first by myself – 12 miler a few months back….I had no idea how it was going to be, if I would/could finish…..but I took it one step at a time, I had my route planned and I focused on paying attention to how I felt, the beautiful scenery surrounding me, stopping and taking stock of my position every once in awhile……and then, OMG I was done! Back at the car! 12 miles done! By myself and NO HEADPHONES! There were no great epiphanys had on the run, just an easygoing time with myself and nature, I got my long run in for the week (score!), I felt terrific (and pooped) after and really really hungry the rest of the evening:)

    Good luck on that Anne Taylor dress, Jeannette!

    Moocho Hugs,

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Jeanette!

    This is a WONDERFUL post!! Thank you for your presence in my life. I am so glad hearted to know that you are a mentor sharing your strategies for success, wisdom words and enthusiasm to keep ‘keepin’ on’. You’re right success is just around the corner and it is one step at a time to reach the eventual summit!

    Cheers and No Fears,

  • Rick says:

    Great post, Jeanette!

    I am like your Dad, I have to keep sourcing the Big Picture so that the steps ahead of me have some context.

    But I wanted to share with you something that I discovered in the middle of the first marathon I ever ran. I had been running for a couple of hours and had at least a couple more to go when I was faced with a hill. Actually, it was a HILL.
    Part way up that hill I imagined that there was a big magnet pulling me up the hill instead of me having to push my way up.
    It really helped.
    I use that image a lot and find that when I feel that I am pushing towards something, I start letting it pull me. It feels easier.
    Thanks again for all your great posts!

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