Happy new year: 2021!

I hope you were able to have a break over the festive season: relax, re-energise, see as many loved ones as safely as you could; got in some sleep, laughter and fun!

Martin and I once had a plan to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania last year. #50onKili was the hashtag as it was supposed to be a goal and present for my 50th birthday this year. Alas COVID put pause to that … a false start to a big goal!

Toward the end of 2020, realising that I’d let disappointment (temporarily) take charge of me, I decided to re-connect to the climb goal through creating a new – an interim – goal. In keeping with turning 50 and having some adventure, I thought I’d do 50 walks for my 50th year… #50walks50! I researched a range of walks around Brisbane (my hometown), and surrounds. I found a walk I’d never seen before, eventhough I am born and bred Brisbane! So it was a no brainer to be the first official #50walks50 walk. Date set, time set, event posted on Facebook to help my accountability and maybe some friends would like to join me … The day arrives and the venue is closed … another false start!

As I was reading a bit about false starts I found that the IAAF Global Athletics changed the global rule for false starts for races up to 400m. Allowing only one false start, it was dubbed the cruelest rule in Olympic sports, however one of the reasons it was created was because some athletes would cause a false start to throw off other runners.

I often get the sense that every time I set a goal, something somewhere, (but not usually someone in my case, but I don’t run 400m races), conspires to test my resolve with that goal.

Have you ever noticed this: set a goal and you’ll be tested?

Does this happen to you?

How do you respond in that moment?

Right in that moment, I see I’m presented with a decision to make:

  • Let the false start completely throw me, overtake me and I let the goal go; or
  • Breathe! Think! Revise the plan! Go!

The Manly water front (see image above) was not the originally planned first walk venue for my 50th birthday, but I took a breath, revised and we got going. Yes, I was disappointed to not go to the first choice of venue but the venue is still there, I can still go there another day, and the venue alone doesn’t determine success.

Getting firmly attached to a plan …

… a wonderfully well thought out plan (even if I say so myself),

… lots of time invested in thinking, sorting, researching, organising,

… a beautifully designed plan (even in my imagination),

… that’s set in stone (in perception and in an excel spreadsheet),

… made part or all of it public (what will they think of me if it doesn’t work?)

When it comes to a goal, thinking, sorting, dreaming, researching, designing, scheduling and even sharing for accountability all are positives and helpful – even critical – for goal getting success. It makes sense that after all that preparation, one gets attached. I even advocate for emotional attachment to goals – it’s hard to get excited about something you don’t care about. So it makes sense it can be easy to hold too firmly to the plan.

The holding so firmly to a rigid plan is the action that needs addressing.

It’s about being laser focused with targeting the emotional connection to the goal outcome: how it will feel onced achieved; the fun or learning or adventure as the goal is being achieved. Have a plan, for sure. And hold it lightly remembering it’s just a plan and you have choices.

2020 – what a lesson in having a plan and holding it lightly.

Let me know your experience with false starts. I’d love to know.