Raise the Bar, Or Lower It, Or Raise It

On 20th August, I leave for California for a week. Los Angeles, to be exact. I will be staying with my friend Tiffany, and I couldn’t be more stoked. Before you get all down on me about how it’s not that exciting, remember that I’ve never been to California, ever.

Since there’s not very much time until I leave for LA, and since I start school again a week after I get back, there are some things I want to get done before I go. These include getting caught up on the whopping seven magazines sitting by the side of my bed that I have yet to read and trying to finish at least one of the three books I have started.

At the beginning of the month, I made a list of goals to help me get organized. It’s now a week later, and I’m realizing that I may have been a bit too ambitious with some of them. For example, who was I kidding thinking I would run 15 times between the first and the twentieth? It’s hard enough to get myself to run two or three times a week, let alone five.

I have a weird relationship with goals. I love the feeling of completing them, and writing them out definitely does help motivate me. The feeling of crossing something off the list and thinking, “I did this,” is one of the most satisfying. However, I’m also really into challenging myself. I tend to subscribe to the idea that we can’t progress unless we do so. I set the bar high and make goals that I know may be difficult to reach. Then, when I don’t complete them, I feel like a failure.

I need to find the happy medium between challenging myself and setting realistic goals. My biggest problem is that if I set a realistic goal that I know I can reach, I feel like it’s not good enough and that there’s no point in setting it as a goal in the first place. This is obviously something I need to work on. Unless of course my willpower is just too weak. I mean, I obviously could have run 15 times in 20 days if I had applied myself to the cause.

Now that there are less than two weeks until I leave and I’ve only gone running once so far, it’s going to be impossible for me to complete that goal. I could run twice on one of the intermittent days, but that seems a little ridiculous, if you ask me. Therein lies my other problem. Once I realize there’s no way I can complete a goal, I tend to just let it go. Rationally, I know it’s still better to come as close as possible, but it becomes even harder to push myself.

My challenge to myself for the remaining days is to try as hard as I can to complete my goals, but also not to get too down on myself if I don’t do as well as I would have liked. It’s going to be easy to fall into the trap of not trying if I know that I’m supposed to be okay with failing, but I need to remember that I can only really be okay with failing if I actually try.

Maybe I’ll even surprise myself. That should be one of my goals.

5 thoughts on “Raise the Bar, Or Lower It, Or Raise It

  1. I personally think that goals need to be realistic while still challenging. If they weren’t, then you’ll never meet a goal, which defeats the purpose of having one in the first place. Maybe with a goal at a lower bar, you’ll be more motivated and inclined to meet it. It’s tough to run five days a week. It’s nowhere near as tough to run 2-3 days a week. (Also, I don’t think that any personal trainer would tell you to run five days a week unless you were a hard-core athlete.)

  2. I haven’t been to California either. So I’m jealous, and obviously jealous. šŸ™‚ I hope you have a good time, and don’t forget you have to come here. I was totally thinking about how awesome it will be when you come! Rarrr.

    Once I realise I can’t complete a goal, I tend to let it go as well. But I still make sure I give myself a pat on the back for trying, or for getting it done. I know a few times this year I failed at sleeping before midnight, but I still kept trying to sleep reasonably early. I always go back to my goals, and sometimes I think that my monthly goals aren’t really set for the month, but something I want to eventually do anyway, in the short term (not some crazy in-the-next-10-years). So I just give it another go another time. I know you don’t give up completely on anything, so you shouldn’t feel like you have to push yourself too much. <3

    Something my photography tutor said today: "If you must fail, fail gloriously. Make it the best fail you've ever done".

  3. I understand. I have trouble with my own goals. You might do what I do, and make a simple list of things you want to accomplish for the next day. I try to write one every night before bed. Sometimes I forget, and it’s OK. I just try again the next day.

    I’ve never been to California. It’s one place I desperately want to go as well, so be sure to take pics so we can see! šŸ™‚ My best friend and I are planning to do a road trip there one day. We shall see if it happens. It would be nice. Sounds like you are going to have major fun, though.

    And don’t worry if you can’t complete all your goals…you always have the next day to try again šŸ™‚

  4. Hey, I hope you enjoyed your Cali trip. I love Cali. I’m a goal setting individual but i try to be realistic about them. Just take your time, make an effort and eventually all goals will be met.

    Archie šŸ™‚

  5. I hope you enjoy/enjoyed your trip to California! Despite living in the United States, I have never been anywhere over in that area. I would like to maybe visit every state, I don’t know we will have to see. But I hope you have a fun enjoyable trip to see Tiffany! That has to be pretty exciting being able to meet another blogger! šŸ˜€

    Goals. Hmm. I have a love hate relationship with them. Sometimes I can accomplish them and I am fine, other times, I just can’t seem to get them done which makes me furious. I found that if you make them realistic, it makes it so much easier to accomplish. I usually say I want to return 5 comments, but if I have time, I will return more hence it makes me feel accomplished if I am able to return more than 5. That is what I do. I then slowly raise my goal as I am able to accomplish it. šŸ™‚

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