Tuesday, July 23, 2013
(That's gold-star child, not gold star-child. Big diff.)
So one of the things that I've come to realize about myself as I'm doing SparkCoach and journaling and really looking at what I want out of life and why I haven't accomplished what I wanted to so far, is this really weird fact that I am motivated by gold stars.
Not technically the actual star itself, but the concept.
"Goal-Oriented" doesn't even begin to describe it for me. I think I've always been one of those people (since childhood, really) who were so focused on the end goal that they kind of forgot the journey along the way. I don't recall considering something "fun" until after I'd finished it, signed off on it, got the certificate, whatever.
I've blogged before about how I need a deadline, which is common for a lot of artists, but I also seem to need specific and discrete goals along the way -- milestones to be met, really -- and an end-goal that is specific and concrete. Now for some things, this works REALLY well. I'm doing Couch to 5K and training for a Half-Marathon, and there isn't a day that does by that I don't get to "check off" my running/walking program for that day. Both programs have set schedules. You do this on that day. I LOVE THAT! Too much flexibility in a program and I lose focus.
But both programs also have a discrete end goal: running a 5K, building endurance for the Half. And they both end with specific events, the races themselves. (Plus there's the whole Walking to Mordor thing, where I'm trying to rack up the miles over a couple of years.)
When it comes to yoga and strength training and heck even dance practice, I don't have specific goals that are timely and discrete. I mean, my goal is to do 10 minutes of resistance training every day. But for what? What is the end goal? (General fitness and strength, I know, but where's the race? The medal? The certificate?!) Without a specific schedule, and specific goals, I feel like I'm spinning my wheels.
(There are some things I do just for fun -- write bad poetry, sometimes just dance for fun, hula hoop. I don't have goals or schedules for those, so I'm not completely obsessive.)
I'm reminded of one of my favorite children's books, Frog and Toad Together. One of the stories is called "The List" and in it Toad makes a list of things to do that day so he can cross them off his list. When his list blows away in the end, he is devastated, and can't figure out what to do, so he just sits there. (Yeah buddy, I know the feeling.)
Since I've figured out that my problem with not sticking to some things is because there is no metaphorical gold star at the end, I've decided to rectify that and actually AWARD myself some gold stars.
I'm making a big calendar today, with boxes for each week. At the end of the week, if I finish all the tasks I've assigned myself (running, yoga, and strength training) I will "award" myself a gold star sticker. Somehow I think seeing this hanging in my house will make a difference to me when I consider blowing off strength training because it leads to no "goal." It's kind of silly of me to be 42 years old and still need gold stars, but you go with what works, and hopefully this will work.