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A Goal is a "Change we are Practicing"

  • Category: Blog
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Anna Crawford, MS, RDN, LDN, NSCA-CPT

January is the time of the year when we often set new goals! Maybe you are setting a goal about improved health or finding more joy each day.

Often when we set goals we focus on the end goal and what we imagine will happen once we have reached a desired goal.

An important shift can be to increase your focus on the practice required to make a change. Instead of just thinking about the end goal; begin to think about the specific changes you are practicing, the new habits you are trying out, and the process of experimenting with a new change.

Five benefits of thinking about a goal as a “change you are practicing” are included below:

  1. Allows for flexibility. When we focus on practicing a goal instead of focus on achieving a goal; there is an opportunity to be more flexible and adaptive. If life doesn’t go as planned, we can be more creative and resilient to try practicing the goal in a new way. We are less likely to be rigid, feel we have failed and give up on a new goal.
  2. Allows for imperfection. The whole idea of practice is that we are trying something new and may not be good at it yet, that is why we are practicing! Thinking about goals as a “change we are practicing” allows us to be more accepting of imperfection knowing that anytime we try something new it will take time and practice to accomplish the task.
  3. Allows for growth and learning. One of the reasons to practice anything is to learn and grow! When we try a new goal, especially if it is a challenging goal for us; there will often be a learning curve to reach that goal. We will often have to grow in order to be able to reach that goal. Part of practicing a new change is to notice setbacks and successes learning as much as we can from each.
  4. Allows for dedication. Seeing a goal as a “change we are practicing” gives a realistic awareness of the effort a change will take to accomplish. Practicing is about effort and consistency over time. It can also take dedication to step out of our comfort zone. Any new change can feel uncomfortable just simply because it is different. Dedication is needed to continue working on a change even when it feels uncomfortable. With practice, effort, and consistency over time we can achieve any new goal we set out mind too.
  5. Allows you to appreciate the journey. When we only focus on the end goal, we miss out on our life on the way to reaching that goal. A benefit of seeing a goal as a “change we are practicing” is that we get to notice and experience every step of working toward that goal all along the way. Often this is as rewarding, if not more rewarding, as reaching the final goal!