By: ALEXIS BLANDINE
Edited by: KELSEY CRUZ
There is nothing quite like crossing off a line on a to-do list. Whether it’s your mounting load of laundry or your wretched summer reading list, every woman has something she is avoiding. Even from a young age, children are conditioned to attain a gold star next to their names to show they “did it” – accomplished their goals. But what separates the dreamers from the achievers?
Paul J. Meyer, motivational speaker and founder of the Success Motivation Institute, believes in the importance of creating S.M.A.R.T. goals to achieve your dreams – ones that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Bound.
Using Meyer’s S.M.A.R.T. concept, goals can become more realistic and tangible. For example, if you’d like to run a marathon, deciding to increase your daily mileage every day for a year is more specific than simply signing up for the closest marathon next month. You’ll find yourself better prepared and less stressed when you have a set plan, quickly transforming yourself from a “thinker” into a “doer.”
In the film The Bucket List, a man who has limited time left on earth vows to do everything he never got to experience before he dies. What is a life without adventure? Why talk of experience you have not tried? Crossing off a task on a bucket list is not only a sense of accomplishment, but it broadens your sense of awareness of what the world has to offer; it catapults you into the next dimension of what is possible.
In a study at the Dominican University of California, Dr. Gail Matthews and her team discovered that those who wrote down their goals and shared them with a friend accomplished 64 percent of them while those who merely thought about their goals only accomplished 43 percent of them. When you share your dreams and aspirations with others, it sparks passion. It makes you more determined to reach your dreams both for yourself and for those around you.
Having goals and achieving dreams is wonderful. Whether you’d like to attain your Master’s degree or climb the corporate ladder or travel the world, it’s important to write down and share your goals. But what about the most important dreams of all – the ones that involve your body? After all, if you’re not fit and living healthy, attaining other goals will be much more difficult.
In a random survey I conducted, I asked people about their “dream exercise feats” and was excited to hear about how they’d love to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, complete a Triathlon, go cliff diving, or snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef. What exciting prospects! Imagine how incredible we’d look and feel if we treated our fitness goals with the same vigor as our other goals.
Chrissy Casiello, two-time-marathon runner and tri-athlete, can tell you how. She started running as a freshman in high school and decided as a sophomore in college that it was time to move onto marathons.
“My senior year religion teacher gave us the assignment of doing a bucket list, and one of the things I put on it was to someday cross the finish line with my mom and my aunt at my sides,” Casiello says. “I did just that in Disney and the thrill I felt in doing so is a feeling I cannot put into words.
Although goals are imperative to strive for, they rarely come without roadblocks. Casiello has now completed two marathons – one in Disney and one in Philadelphia – but says she struggled as a female runner.
“I hit a major roadblock my sophomore year of high school when I fell to the belief that if I was thinner, I would be faster,” she explains. “I am now still fighting the everyday temptations that an eating disorder brings to a person. And let me just say it is not an easy battle; it’s draining. Those days prior to those events were the toughest on my mental state due to the battle I was facing. But I knew that I had to force myself to eat in order to cross the finish line.”
Hurdles and roadblocks only force Casiello to work that much harder to achieve her dreams. She also credits her strong faith to her success.
“My faith has carried me through the times where I did not know if I was good enough. Running has helped me grow overall.”
When you set a fitness goal and strive to achieve it, you’ll quickly realize it’s more a mental battle than a physical one. Negative people and thoughts get in your head, making you feel like you’re not ready or good enough to accomplish your dream.
“In the wrenching last few miles of a marathon, I realized that accomplishing that race was mental,” Casiello says. “Your mental state of mind is key in such races when you don’t think finishing is possible. After all I have been through, I know that anything is possible.”
Inspired by Casiello? Take a page from her journal and pen your own dream. She soon hopes to qualify for the Boston Marathon and Honolulu Marathon. If you set a goal and create S.M.A.R.T. ways to achieve it, you’ll be stunned to see how much you can accomplish.