Set a goal. Work like hell to reach goal. Reach goal or quit. Set new goal. Work like hell. Reach goal or quit.
We often set goals or want to get somewhere just to get the end result. Whether it’s losing weight, running a seven-minute mile, buying a house, or getting a promotion, we tend to overlook all the progress and accomplishments we made along the way. We don’t see that we now own all those accomplishments, whether we ever reach the original goal or not.
Taking my dog, Chance, to obedience classes and a private trainer before that, helped me realize this recently. Chance has been with us for only five months, although we can’t remember what life was like before he was a part of the family. In that time, there have been so many improvements, and grown confidence and trust between us.
In the beginning, you had to hold onto the leash with everything you had, if there was another dog in sight. It didn’t matter if that other dog was minding it’s business on the other side of a park. After a few weeks, it improved to him being able to relax in the same park, as long as he had a treat or toy to play with. The lunging didn’t seem aggressive; it seemed more like he was insecure and just didn’t know how to greet dogs calmly and nicely. Nevertheless, a lunging dog at the other end of a leash is not fun, and not easy on your hands and arms.
When obedience class started, Chance had no choice but to be surrounded by a hundred or so, other dogs all in the same park. Of course he lunged at other dogs every chance he had, during the first week, but then as the weeks went by, we noticed the lunging became less and less, and then he was able to relax in the shade with belly showing, just six feet from other dogs!
I found myself getting frustrated and annoyed at the lunging and barking, until I looked at how far he’s come in a short period of time. He isn’t in love with the idea of other dogs in his personal space, but he also isn’t lunging and barking at every single one. He can be in a park or area where other dogs are, and relax and focus on his people instead. He no longer constantly pulls ahead of us while walking, and understands a whole bunch of commands and rules!
If I only looked at the end goal as Chance being able to socialize nicely with other dogs, or at least tolerate being near them without a reaction, I would have missed all these accomplishments. I wouldn’t have realized his improvements and how hard he’s been trying, and I definitely would’ve missed seeing the trust and confidence we all gained through the process. I wouldn’t be grateful for all he’s learned, and the many things I learned too.
When you set your next goal, remember that the end result isn’t EVERYTHING. You may have an aha-moment on your journey, and that could change your goal, your priorities, or even your life. Your original goal might end up not being important anymore.
On the other hand, if you reach your goal, celebrate! Then celebrate again for all your accomplishments, and all that you’ve gained along the way.
Our guest blogger this week is Erin Ushijima. She is a Happiness Officer at Happiness U, as well as a virtual assistant to myself and other clients, at Erin Ushijima Creative Assistance.