Humans, as far as we are able to tell, are the only species capable of formulating long-term goals. We can imagine a future that is different from today. Different, in fact, from the whole long chain of days that have led to this day. And once we imagine something different, we can formulate a plan and put it into action. Things don’t always go the way we predict or hope they will go, but sometimes they do. And, sometimes when they do it can feel pretty darn good.
Being a human myself, I have goals. There are many things I wish to accomplish. Some of these things I keep to myself and others of these I share with Erica and Isabel or my students or friends. I have to be careful about which goals I say out loud. Revealing a goal to someone else puts pressure on me to then actually do something in an effort to accomplish the goal. Keeping that in mind, I have something I need to say:
I want to be in the best shape of my life by the middle of September, 2008.
There. I have said it out loud. I won’t bore you with the details of my plan to accomplish this goal. Suffice it to say that there are no surgical procedures or banned substances involved. Just lots of daily and weekly grunt work. I have chosen mid-September because that is when I will run a 200-mile relay race as part of a twelve-person team. The race is called Reach the Beach and it begins in the mountains of New Hampshire and ends thirty-some hours later at the ocean.
In an effort to keep myself on-track I have signed on to a website called StickK. It is a place to make public goals and then hold yourself accountable. Right now I have posted two goals, one involving push-ups, (the exercise, not the bra), and one involving running. When you post a goal you have the option of having money go to a third party if you fail to meet your goal. You can choose to send the money to a charity whose aims you support, or you can choose to send your money to a group you strongly DISAGREE with. I have set my payouts to come to me if I reach a goal and to go to organizations I despise if I fall short.
This way when it is 11:30 at night and I still have thirty push-ups to go to reach my daily quota, I can make myself put my book down, get out of bed, and crank out thirty more. It helps knowing that if I don’t, the NRA will get a donation from me.
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