Setting Goals: Expectations vs. Reality

Life changes & setting new goals can be scary.  And sometimes that’s because of the expectations you have when you set that goal.  Maybe you expect the steps to make it to your goal to be one thing and it turns out that the work required to reach isn’t what you thought.  Maybe once you reach the goal you set, you find out that it didn’t provide the fulfillment you thought it would when you set the goal.  I’ve had this experience on more than one occasion & it’s why setting new goals or making changes to things in my life can be scary.  If I already feel like things are good (or even good enough), do I really want to rock the boat?


That kinda sounds like I shouldn’t set goals…

Well, I could see how that comes across initially.  But, that’s not really the direction I was trying to go.  It truly goes back to the “intentional” part of All SUM+LIFE.

For example:  I have an acquaintance who’s getting married.  And she decided that the best way to motivate herself to lose weight is to do an amateur body building contest.  Initially I thought “ok, it’s an amateur contest, that can’t be so bad, right?”  Well, apparently if she expects to place, she needs to get down to a maximum of 14% body fat in each area measured.  Again, doesn’t sound so bad.  But as a female (and most of us carry our weight between our knees & our navel), that means that when they measure your thighs, stomach, arms, calves, etc., each area individually can be no higher than 14% body fat.  Her average body fat is close to 10% already, but not each individual area.    She’s already lost 20+ lbs and looks fantastic, but she’s really stressed out because she’s still carrying the bulk of her body fat in her thighs.  And seriously if someone saw her on the street they would not call her thighs fat.  But, to get to this point, she’s been seeing a trainer six days a week, sometimes multiple times a day for workouts.  She’s working with a nutritionist who specializes in competition prep and when she hits a plateau for a week, they have her doing things like “absolutely no carbs after 1pm 2-3 times a week.”  And when I say “absolutely no carbs” that means no fruit, no vegetables, no food at all that contains any carbohydrates.  She can kiss the protein shakes & protein bars goodbye too because most of those have a carb count higher than 0.  To me, the entire situation sounds kinda miserable.

Getting to the point of my story:  it’s one thing to set big, scary goals.  It’s another to set them intentionally based on solid research & reflection.

I wonder if my acquaintance would have decided to sign up for this contest and work with the same trainer & same nutritionist if she knew how much the situation was going to stress her out.  And this is why making a change in my life or setting new, big goals can be kinda scary.  I tend to be a very driven, Type A person.  But I’ve learned that goals I set without significant, intentional research & personal reflection, I can easily put myself in situations that make me miserable.

I’m also currently faced with a big decision.  I’m extremely happy in my current role at work (as happy as I’ve ever been), but there have been some changes to the situation (impact yet to be experienced) & a potentially interesting career opportunity has come up.  The situation change doesn’t appear to be a bad one.  But the opportunity could be really good or potentially really bad.  If I choose to wait & see what will happen with my current situation, the opportunity simply won’t be available anymore.  Do I head toward the unknown or not?

Your Big, Scary Goals

What about you & your life?  How do you choose your goals?  What type of research do you do before setting a goal & how do you approach the thought process?  Do you picture what your life might look like both when working toward the goal or even after you’ve reached it?  What are the things that factor into your decisions?  How well does it typically turn out?

And, what is a current, big, scary goal you’re working toward?


Wishing you an All+SUM LIFE,


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