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Goals: The Courage to Walk through the Fire

I have a confession to make. The word “goals” generally evokes an eye roll out of me, mostly because I am not good at them. You know those 30-day fitness challenges or healthy eating challenges; I just cannot commit. I always want to reserve the right to change my mind and when I do commit to something like that, I am immediately stressed out about it because I see imminent failure on the horizon. I have read multiple books about goals and of course put some into place and they usually go the way of the majority of folks’ New Year’s Resolutions. I am gung-ho for a little while and then they fall by the wayside. It’s a lot easier to just not have goals than it is to face the harsh truth of them. Change is H.A.R.D. and in the face of change failure is just unavoidable. The difference is picking yourself back up again after you fail and continuing to press on anyway. (Or maybe just use a different perspective other than “fail” or “failure”). This is the part I suck at. Just being real with you all.

I did my first one-on-one Zoom call with Coach Michele a few weeks ago and she presented me with a list of Thrive questions and a goal sheet. For some reason this time it hit me hard. Normally I can nod my head through a goals conversation and say all the right answers to appease what the other person wants to hear (ahem people-pleaser) and then promptly forget about it. Of course, the only one I am actually hurting is myself. This time the conversation landed at the right moment in my life when I surprised myself by being open to it. I have to tell you it scares the crap out of me. I’m turning 41 in a few weeks and I’ve never forced myself to think about what I really want in life. I mean I know generally what I want, a good career, good relationships, healthy life, etc. But I’ve never really had a very specific goal in mind for the future. I think it’s time to take a hard look at the future and for the first time ever really ask myself what it is I want. Where do I want to be a in a month? In a year? And why? And then how do I get there.

And I’m dreading it because it’s going to be hard, but it’s time that I strap on my big girl pants and do it. I am happy with where my life is at and of course I’ve had what I’ll call peripheral goals. Peripheral goals are those goals that are out there in your mind, maybe a little fuzzy not a clear focus but you know they’re there, you just never turn your gaze to face them head-on. That’s how I’ve gone through life. I have a strong conviction right now that it’s time to turn my head and bring those peripheral goals into focus. It will likely mean some course correction changes and it will most undoubtedly mean facing things about myself or in my life that I don’t like and resisting the urge to take the easy path and ignore it.

I also know it’s going to mean trying-failing-trying-failing-trying-failing and trying again to create some new habits. And I’m just going to have to be ok with failure (I need a new word for this) and by the way that in and of itself will be a new habit I have to get on board with. So what’s next.

First, I have to sit down and take a long hard look at where I’m at in my life: career, relationships, spiritual, physical, financial. Second, I need to identify what’s working and what’s not working in my life both from a day-to-day habits’ perspective to a big picture perspective. Third, I need to then get really uncomfortable and allow myself to dream big. For some this might not be an uncomfortable thing at all but for me it is, mostly because before I even form the “big dream” it already feels unattainable- crazy right? But hey I’m being real; that’s why I’ve avoided it for so long. Fourth. I need to take Coach’s advice and back into it with baby steps broken out by day, month, year and create specific measurable goals that will lead me there. Fifth. I need to find someone to share this with for accountability purposes. I hate this part also. I am a very private person and opening up to people about this sort of thing feels vulnerable but I understand the purpose of it. Six. I need to make a daily plan to execute and allow for flexibility. By this I mean not be so rigid that when I don’t get it done, I stamp a big red F.A.I.L. on the process, shrug my shoulders and console myself with a “hey, I made a good effort” (my usual M.O.). And last but most important Seven- believe in myself. Part of that is taking off the “limitation goggles” and re-evaluating what I see as limitations; because they might not be limitations at all.

Can I tell you that just writing this my heart is racing, my eye is twitching, and I have a hot fire in my chest. You know what all of that tells me? It tells me I am on the right track. On the other side of discomfort and fear is the growth that needs to happen. It’s when I am in this discomfort that I know it’s where I need to be and a molding I need to go through.

So, as I go on this journey, I am putting it out there for all of you. My vulnerability, my limitations, and my fears. This will be my last blog for Rugged Running for a while. It has been an absolute honor and privilege to be able to write for Rugged Running and share with all of you over the past two years. I hope that my articles have in some way touched you and inspired you. I hope that in some way I have given someone courage or a sense of belonging if perhaps you could relate to where I am at. I hope by being vulnerable and sharing this challenge I am undertaking that I am in turn inspiring you to challenge yourself. Your place of discomfort may be very different than mine but the courage to face it and move toward it can be shared together.

Have a blessed and beautiful New Years.

Brie Staker

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