On Goal Setting
Sunday, October 16, 2011
I've been reading A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy, by William B Irvine. In reading how the ancient Stoics proposed a joyful way of living, I am seeing various ways the Stoic philosophy can be applied to my life. One specific way is in the way I set my goals for myself. I am realizing that part of my brick wall in creating a healthy lifestyle is in how I am setting my goals. An important element of this philosophy is realizing the things in life that I have at least some control over, rather than those that I have no control over. I have no control over the cravings I have, but I do have control over how I react to those cravings. So, I've realized my goals need to be set accordingly. Rather than setting myself the goal of not eating any more fast food, I can set myself the goal of doing my best to make the better food choices at those restaurants. I can set the goal to prepare my lunch each evening before going to bed. These are things I have complete control over. Setting our goals in relation to things we have no control over - such as the need to eat at midday - are not realistic and will ultimately result in failure or disappointment. I have no control over the types of food that come into my house if I leave it up to my hubby to do all the shopping. I have no control over what types of foods are available at the only major grocery store in town (WalMart). However, I do have control over whether or not I personally take on the chore of grocery shopping and I do have control over which food choices I make at the store. It is impossible for me to consume an entirely organic and fresh diet. The options are simply not available to me where I live and with my limited funds. Therefore, if I do have a better option when I go shopping, I have control over which options I choose. This is where I can focus my goals.
So, I am in a transition phase right now. I am reassessing my goals. I am reassessing what I do and do not have control over. I am reassessing which goals are most realistic at this stage of my life.