It would be easy if we said that our main goal was to get healthier and fit. You can sign up for the gym, get a membership, and do a few exercises for a few months straight and that would be something.
After working in a gym for so long, I’ve seen so many people that signed up and paid their fees only to be a “no show” three months later. They didn’t stay motivated because their goals were not life changers. However, when your goals are big and your passion is present, actionable steps start to form. Too many people settle for the easy route and never get to see the view from the top.
Settling for “getting back in shape” is the easier route. But easier routes lead to short-term changes. An eventual loop back around to your current state shortly follows. That’s why I love a specific quote from JFK. During “the space race” in the 1960’s, President Kennedy declared the United States would put an astronaut on the moon by the end of the decade. People nowadays might not see the problem with that. After all, we’re now sending Tesla’s into space and trying to send someone to Mars.
During that time period, America was battling European nations to assert dominance in space exploration. The Soviets were kicking our butt and already accomplished many things before us including sending the first person into outer space. Even more important to add is that we hadn’t sent anything into space. But JFK knew that there was more riding on this than just space exploration. It was time to take a bold stance and reach more for more than the status quo.
That’s when he said this:
“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”
This quote resonates with me because he said it during a time when landing a man on the moon was only a dream. The Soviets had sent someone into space, but sending someone to land on the moon? That literally had never be done. The Soviets had proven themselves successful, America provided little in comparison. So why would he think we would be able to land someone on the moon? Because he believed that it was possible.
You think that losing 30 pounds is an impossible goal?
Or running a 5k is never going to happen for you?
Think of how big of a goal landing a human being on the moon is compared to running a 5k and yet, they still believed it was possible enough to set out and do it.
In that quote, he said the phrase “unwilling to postpone”. He did not say “get a rocket off the ground” or “send our own astronaut into outer space”. He wanted to be the first. They decided that America had the talent and capabilities to be the best and not settle for anything less. You have the same capabilities. You possess what it takes to do some unthinkable stuff. All it takes is confidence in your abilities and a plan to follow.
I want you to take what you think you can achieve and multiply that by 10. I say that because imagine what you can accomplish if you fall just shy of a goal that is 10x your original goal? I remember seeing a picture growing up that said, “Shoot for the moon, because even if you miss you will land among the stars”. I always thought that was a corny poster on the wall until I got older and realized the deepness of the message. Set your sights beyond what you believe you are capable and you will surprise yourself.
Get out of the comfort zone
People try many different times to get back into shape before they actually do. This is because the comfort zone is so hard to break away from. When we recognize a change is necessary, it’s still tough to break away on the first or second try. With a definable goal, you can avoid making vague statements like “I’m getting back in shape”. Think you can only lose a few pounds? Why not set a goal for 10? 20? 30? Even if you fall short you will have increased energy, be lighter on your feet, and your joints won’t be as cranky.
Take home message:
- Loose, vague goal setting only leads to unmet goals down the line. Be specific and shoot for something big
- Get comfortable being uncomfortable, get out of your comfort zone
- We do things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. Remember that your view at the top of mountain will be well worth it if you get there with hard work over cutting corners.