To Reach Your Goals, Sometimes the Trick is to Underachieve!

Easter weekend is almost always filled with sunshine here in Raleigh, NC. The warm Spring weather usually leads to planting a myriad of trees, bushes, and annuals. Keeping true to form, I spent most of Saturday creating a rose garden in the back of our home.
As I was working, I found myself enjoying the thoughts of running again. The gorgeous weather urged me to put on my running shoes again and hit the trail. After the last six months of training, it was nice to think of going for a nice leisurely jog for three or four miles with no specific outcome, just running for the sheer joy of running — no expectations.
I so often talk about dreaming big, setting a huge goal, and taking massive action but sometimes, big goals lead to huge expectations, which can get the best of us. Huge expectations can often lead to being more overwhelmed or drained of energy than motivated and energized. 
When that happens, switch gears entirely and seek to underachieve! You read right: lower your aim. If you decided back in January to get in shape and lose twenty pounds but now you’re spending more time telling yourself you have to get to the gym than you actually are, change your approach.
Decide to go walk or run 20 minutes each day. One of 2 things will happen: either after the successful small workout, you’ll feel terrific and conclude this was doable. In which case, grabbing your running shoes tomorrow won’t seem so daunting. Result: total success; you have stopped thinking about what you have to do and you’re moving! Or, after 20 minutes, you will be so into it that you will continue running for another 5, 10, or even 20 more minutes. Imagine how pumped you’ll feel then! All the extra time spent exercising is a total bonus because you have only committed to 20. No one is expecting you to do more. Everything you have done above that is for the pure joy of the experience and creates feelings of massive success.
Success has a momentum all its own and will build on itself, just like the expectations. Sometimes what you need to get you started (and get you out of procrastination mode) is setting a goal that’s achievable right now. The initial outcome is not your ultimate goal, but sometimes to jump higher you need to lower the bar a bit. High jumpers don’t go for their personal best without warming up first! Once you’re in action and the adrenaline takes effect, you’ll gain momentum and naturally move toward succeeding at your bigger goals. 
So maybe if I hit the trail, I’ll only run 3 miles, for the sheer joy of feeling alive and vibrant. But in all likelihood, I’ll keep going a bit longer. And if I don’t, that’s all right, I’ll be out running again the next day because I can fit those miles in without pressure, and experience true feelings of success.
To your continued success,
James
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