“I’m going to the grocery store.”
“Which one?” your friend asks.
“The one on the other side of town. Be back in a couple hours.” The door closes swiftly behind you as you make your way to the car. You get in, start up, and pull onto the road. It’s grocery day.
It’s not long before you hit the first of many red lights.
You wait patiently while tapping on the steering wheel. Looking around, a flash catches your peripheral. You turn your head in that direction; it’s the sun reflecting off a giant sign. It slowly rotating, you make out the words, “Fresh Grocery.” Huh… I didn’t know there was a grocery store around here.
The light turns green.
After a few minutes, you find yourself at another red light.
Once again tapping on the wheel, you notice a sign up ahead. This one reads, “Best Grocery.” Another grocery store? Maybe I should go there instead. I still have 20 more minutes until I get to the other one.
Ehh… nevermind. I said I was going to the store across town so that’s where I’ll go.
The light turns green. You push onward.
It keeps happening
This pattern continues to repeat itself. You hit a red light, look around with bored eyes, and discover something you hadn’t anticipated — a closer grocery store.
Over and over again you experience this as you slowly snake your way to the across-town market.
It’s a shame you aren’t more flexible. You could have saved yourself the gas and a lot of red lights. But alas, you feel locked into the commitment you made earlier that day. To go to the store across town. That’s all it takes to seal your fate and waste an afternoon.
In the process of goal setting, flexibility is entirely underrated. Instead, you feel the pressure to commit. To be unchanging, rigid, determined towards the goal you selected for yourself. But it’s problematic to do so.
Because doing that assumes two things:
1. That you know everything about the goal you want to pursue
2. That you perfectly planned things out with infallible knowledge
Revision is a necessity
In actuality, until you start working on that goal, your intel is severely limited. Especially, if it’s in regards to something that you have never pursued before.
Take my nutrition goal for instance. Currently, my goal is to consume under ten grams of net carbohydrates a day at least five days a week. However, this aim is largely a new one for me. Particularly in terms of fat loss.
Which is why, if you read my other articles, you’ll notice that the goal has changed multiple times over the last several months. Why? Because I’m still learning and adjusting.
I’m still finding the right fit.
Stay in the game
The thing is, if I had been rigid, if I had refused to compromise or change my initial goal, I would have quit a long time ago.
And not just in terms of nutrition, but in terms of every one of my goals. Rarely is it the case where the goal I set at the beginning is the same goal, same phrasing, same focus six months later.
It’s constantly changing as I learn new things and find what works.
Moving forward with humility and flexibility
In the goals you pursue, you need two things:
- The humility to know that you know very little (and likely nothing)
- The flexibility to adjust your goal as you learn
Avoid falling victim to rigidity. Instead, hold onto your goal with a loose grip. Like you’re cradling a baby bird. Give it support, let it grow, but don’t restrict it. And when it’s ready, let it fly.
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