Clear a Path
By Jim Kuiken
What do a new year and a snow storm have in common? They both tend to give people the urge to start anew, to set resolutions, i.e. to clear a path to new goals (or maybe just out to the road…).
Whether resolutions are to renew old efforts, to achieve new goals, or completely revamp your life, relationships, financial or business situation, or whatever – the biggest reason for failure is to make those goals too ambitious.
How big was the snow storm? How much do you have to clear? Do you want to clear everything away, or just a path to the road you want to travel? If it was just a light dusting, you might be able to sweep away the accumulation with a broom. However, if it was like the one we just had here in Northern Virginia…almost 30 inches of heavy snow (Winter Storm Jonas), that’s a whole ‘nuther ball game.
I’m not talking about the process of making a plan to achieve goals here. If you want a good “to-go-by” plan for setting and achieving any goal(s) you want to achieve in life, this new year, or just for a single event or project, check out my previous blog posts “Take Aim on Success with a Sniper’s Techniques – Part I” and “Take Aim on Success with a Sniper’s Techniques – Part II”.
All we’re talking about in this post is setting an achievable goal. There are a couple of things we need to consider in setting an achievable goal.
First, what do you want to achieve? Do you want to clear a path to the road (focused goals for specific achievements), or do you want to clear all the snow away (reset your life, your relationship(s), your financial or business situation, etc.)?
Secondly, what is the current situation? Did you have a light dusting of powdery snow, or a massive storm that dumped feet of heavy snow…or something in between?
After you determine these two factors, you can start setting the achievable goal(s). If you just have a light snow and just want a path, that shouldn’t take too long, so you can set higher or more difficult goals, because the effort to get there is much less. In the same situation, if you want to clear all the snow, then it will take a little longer, but you can still get there with a little more time, still using light tools (broom or snow shovel).
However, if there is a heavy covering, or lots of obstacles, a serious amount of debt, a relationship that is on its last legs, or you’re stuck in a dead-end job (or unemployed) with very little training or education, emotional or physical trauma to overcome, etc…then it will take a lot longer to dig your way out, and much longer to clear the entire area of snow. You may even need much heavier tools, like a snow blower, serious (physical or emotional) therapy or counseling, more education or training, lots of friends or family to help, etc.
Whatever your situation is, take a good, hard look at it, determine if it is a quick, easy goal that you can shoot for, or if it is a long, hard struggle you’re facing to dig a path out, or entirely clear the area. Don’t try to shovel too much too fast, because lots of people have heart attacks each year trying to do exactly that. Pace yourself, dig at a pace you can handle using the tools you have available, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
The other side of the coin is that once you’ve determined the goal you want to achieve, stretch yourself…look at what you think you can do, and aim just a degree or two higher, and while clearing the snow, work up to your capacity…push it just enough to make yourself sweat and breathe a little harder, without crossing over into unrealistic efforts that cause you to quit, or make your situation or health worse. If you’re sweating and end up a little sore the next day, that’s great! But if you push so hard that you go inside to collapse in your chair, you are less likely to come back out and keep up the effort.
And DON’T FORGET TO HAVE FUN while you’re out there! Stop and throw a snowball, make a snow angel, let your dog out to act stupid jumping around and chasing squirrels. Enjoy the day outside and the kids sledding in the park next door…
Before you know it, the path will be clear!