How to Set Goals…and eat churros.

Photography

As a kid, if I said I was going to do something, there was no changing my mind. Once I begged my parents to take me to Disneyland, but when they said they couldn’t afford it, I took to saving my own money. I ironed (yes, ironed) dollar bills I received from birthdays and babysitting jobs, and stuffed them into an empty Band Aid box (needless to say, I was a weird kid). Soon enough that box was brimming with cash and when my aunt heard of my dedication to earning my way there, she bought my family tickets for Christmas. Then I used all the cash to buy churros, an autograph book, and a set of Mickey ears, amongst other things.

This pattern has come to define me: make a goal, set a laser focus, work like a mad woman, go after it like all get out. But what happens when you’re trying to set a goal but don’t really know what that new goal is? What happens when defining the goal is just as hard–if not more–than actually doing the work? This has been my struggle for the past few months…and it’s beyond frustrating.

Last month my yoga studio challenged students to the 30/40 Yoga Challenge, 30 classes in less than 40 days. At first I thought it was crazy (uhhh, that’s six classes per week?!?), but I decided to take the challenge…then set my laser focus. Thirty-nine days later, I met my goal and I’m really darn proud.

So what does churros and yoga have to do with goal setting? Besides both doing amazing things for my soul, they taught me a few things about life:
    1. Change What You Do…Daily.
Whether it was selling lemonade on the corner or attending a yoga class, doing something with regularity forced me to change. If you want to be a writer, you must write. Everyday. If you want to me professional photographer, you must shoot. Everyday. If you want to run a marathon, you must train. Everyday. When it comes to defining a goal, do something everyday that will put you closer to it.
    2. Name It and Claim It.
If you have a goal, verbalize it, no matter how stupid you feel. The simple act of sharing your goals helps others keep you accountable, as well as opens your heart of vulnerability and trust. On long and exhausting days, JD pushed me out the door to yoga and encouraged me to finish what I started.
    3. It’s Never Failure.
I once read that failure isn’t a thing, it’s a point of view. Because, really, even a broken escalator is still useful. Every experience will put you closer to your goal, even if it doesn’t come in the way you envisioned. Learn from your mistakes or shortcomings and bounce back stronger…you can either choose to be bitter, or choose to get better.

Ironing Dollar Bills,
j*