Shifting Goals

It can take a lot of work to create and achieve goals. Larger pursuits often require thoughtful planning and incorporating new habits. Getting started can be particularly tough — that period of adjustment, where nothing comes easy and almost everything feels unnatural.

But then you get into the groove. The new habits and routine feel second nature. You see steady, predictable progress. Every check-in is a celebration of reaching the next milestone and getting closer and closer to your goal.

But eventually — things have to change.

Whether it’s hitting a major roadblock and realizing you need to shift strategies or reaching your goal and moving on to the next pursuit, sooner or later we come to the point where we need to learn different habits or take on a new routine.

And the frustrating part is that you have to deal with that awkward adjustment period all over again.

That’s what I’m currently going through with my weight loss journey. From the start, I built my plan around reaching a certain goal weight. I got into a new workout routine. I started new eating (and tracking) habits. It took a little while to adjust my lifestyle, but eventually I found myself looking forward to my daily workouts and delighting in the challenge of creating healthy, yet delicious recipes.

And, of course, monitoring my progress was a huge motivating factor. Aside, from the one week I hit a plateau, it was exhilarating seeing the numbers go down week over week — proof that my hard work was paying off.

Well before I hit my goal weight, I knew that my next health and fitness pursuit would be maintaining my weight for about six months. I had plenty of time to research and plan this next phase, so when I achieved that goal weight, I wasted no time in moving on to my next goal.

However, even though I was prepared, it doesn’t mean that adjusting my routine has been simple. For example, part of the plan includes increasing my daily calorie intake little by little each week until I hit my maintenance level. However, after eating at a certain level of calories for so long, I sometimes find it challenging to eat this increased daily amount.

But even more difficult has been adapting my expectations and mentality around checking progress and measuring success. For so long, success was defined by those numbers going down on the scale. So, even though now I know that success should be measured by those numbers staying flat, it’s hard to not have that gut-reaction disappointment when I don’t see a loss.

For me, changing the routine can be hard, and changing the mentality can be even harder.

I think that I’m experiencing this adjustment (or hard-to-adjust) period with my sabbatical and career exploration. 

Actually, the fact that I use sabbatical interchangeably with career exploration may be part of the problem. ‘Exploration’ insinuates traveling far and wide, seeing many things. And I feel like that’s been my approach. Cast the net wide. Try out a lot of different things. See what energizes me and what doesn’t.

And, oh, have I gone wide. I explored web development through online courses. Video production through training and projects. Content creation of many forms, including podcasting, video, social media, creative writing, and, of course, blogging. “Professional” acting (which, at this point, is any project that at least pays more than the expenses required to do them). Interior design and home staging through classes and internships/jobs.

But eventually, I need to change tactics and go deep. That means focusing on one, maybe two, areas and really developing my skills and expertise. It also means getting a better understanding of what it really means to build a career around that field of work.

I realized I’ve avoided committing to this next phase, though. I’m not sure if I think I’ll go too deep and get stuck or if I’m afraid I’ll miss out on something better that I haven’t yet explored. Whatever it is, I find myself still flitting from one area of interest to another. Insisting on keeping my hands in many pots … or fingers in many pies … or whatever the phrase is!

It feels like I’m waiting for some external factor to pop up and give me a sign that one field or the other is the “one for me”. It’s as if I’m waiting for some amazing opportunity to just drop in my laptop, giving me the definitive proof that that is the direction I should go in.

But, of course, opportunities don’t often just appear out of thin air. We make them happen with hard work and perseverance.

So, that needs to be my next goal: choose an area (or two) and dedicate the time to go deep. Expand my expertise, refine my skills. I’ve already identified areas where I consistently feel energized, so now I just need to commit. I need to change my routine. Stop stretching myself thin. Narrow my focus.

I’ve scratched the surface long enough. It’s time to dig in.

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