An alumnus of the school where I work was recently inducted into the school’s athletics hall of fame — for two sports. He’s now a pro baseball player.

He spoke at the football banquet, which happened to be the night that he was inducted for both football and baseball.

He made an acceptance speech that was intended for the high school students in the room, but his message also stuck with me.

He shared the importance of setting goals and setting them high.

I realized I have never gone about life this way. Everything wonderful that has ever happened for me did not require a large amount of goal setting. My big achievements were not conceived in this vein, but instead as if they were wishes granted or a dream come true. Anything I wanted to achieve was because it suddenly occurred to me to take a shot at it.

The question “where do you see yourself in five years” has always baffled me, and now I see why. It’s because I don’t really know how to set goals.

Successes always lead me to further success, failure points me in a new direction.

I see now that that’s a pretty aimless way to live. No wonder I’m so frustrated right now: I don’t know what I want.

Rather than play the blame game on why I don’t know how to set goals or sit around and bemoan my inadvertant passivity (due to lack of setting goals), I am instead going to start setting goals.

I’ll start small and work toward a reward (extrinsic reward of my choosing), even if the reward has nothing to do with my goal. Maybe the reward of acheiving the goal will be reward enough, but I won’t know that without working toward a goal and achieving it.

My first goal/ challenge: getting up the nerve to quit my singing group.

I have rationalized that presidents of corporations step down more than I realize, which doesn’t really apply to me because I am not talking about a corporation but a peer-led entertainment group of which I happen to be president. But I use the comparison to rationalize that even though I am a leader, it doesn’t mean I have to take myself so seriously or imagine the group can’t absorb my loss. There are a lot of former leaders in the group, so I am sure the group will be fine.

My one worry is that there are three members who mentioned wanting to quit at some point over the last six months, so I need to not worry that my quitting will make them decide they too want to go.

I need to get over myself and get it over with.

I plan to talk with a member who I consider to be one of the wisest people I have ever met. I want to ask her advice about the best way to exit.

Then I want to break the news to my closest friends in the group (some of which are those who wanted to quit before).

Then, to the other leadership members.

Then, everyone.

My reward?
I haven’t had a Wendy’s Frosty since the summer before I got married.

I think they are highly addictive and I never get them because I am sure they are very bad for me!

I live a mile from a Wendy’s that I pass at least once or twice daily. I have shown great restraint over the last 3 and a half years we have lived in our house.

So, my goal’s reward probably doesn’t make much sense, in terms of congruity with my goal, but I think I will deserve it!! It will be more like a consolation prize, but I don’t need it to be anything more. My other rewards will be relief from beating myself up and having loads of more time on my hands!

My deadline: I think I need to make this happen within two weeks. Actually less. My last performance will be at a wedding gig we have in two Saturdays. I want the group to know it’s my last time with them at the rehearsal before.

Thanks for reading all this excruciating detail!! Thanks to Emily and Katie for helping me via comments!! Josef has been an awesome person to have in my corner, too. Love him!!

Wish me luck!


6 thoughts on “Goals

  1. You won’t ever please everyone when making major decisions but keep in mind it’s your life and dreams and that’s what counts not theirs. If you’re happy then that’s the important thing to remember. Many people don’t like decisions others make because then maybe they need to reevaluate and do something that might not be easy and that scares them. You can do it my girl!!!! And then get a frosty and enjoy every bite!!!

  2. I think that sounds like a perfect reward! I’m glad to hear you are going to get the quitting over with quickly.

    Speaking of goals, I am SO with you on that. Ever since we got married (3 1/2 years ago as well), my husband has been wanting me to dream more and have more goals. I don’t know what’s been stifling me, but a few months ago I declared I wanted to go to college, which was a huge thing for me to decide. Jesse’s still got around 2 years left with his schooling, but I plan on taking probably a class a term (and there will probably be a ton of english and math classes I have to make up!) and then going full time once he’s the breadwinner. I want to own my own small business!

    Good luck with setting more goals!

  3. Thanks, ladies! Mmmm, that Frosty’s going to be good.
    Jackie — I am already finding out that my decision does not please everyone, yet I am at peace with it.
    Katie — I am so proud of you!! You’ll be so happy you got your college degree!! Are you going to be a business major?
    Rachel — as a fellow PC Choir drop out, I know you understand. And you’re so goal-oriented, so thanks for modeling such good behavior for me. Love you, too!

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