We’re on our annual vacation with extended family in Arkansas this week and, as usual, I got roped into water-skiing. As I wrote about last year, unlike most of the rest of my family, I’m not a great water-skiier. In fact, I have yet to successfully slalom, despite repeated tries to get up almost each and every year.
This year, I decided to play it safe and just water-ski with two skis. It doesn’t look anywhere near as sophisticated to water-ski with two skis, but at least it allows me to get up and stay up for awhile without having repeated crash landings and failed skiing attempts!
My goal for skiing this year was simple: get up on two skis, stay up, go over both wakes and back again, and drop the rope before falling. Yes, I know, it probably seems pathetic for those of you who are seasoned skiiers, but to me, accomplishing this was a fairly big feat.
As I was out there on two skis looking quite incompetent and uncoordinated trying to stay up on my skis and gingerly go over the wakes, I was reminded of how important it is for each of us to set goals that are realistic for us and our own personal abilities. My skiing goals and abilities paled in comparison to so many other’s skiing goals and abilities. And if I were to focus on how microscopic my goals were in light of someone else’s, I could easily become discouraged.
But I’m not someone else; I’m me. My talents and abilities are going to differ wildly from the person next to me. I can either accept and embrace this or spend my life feeling like I don’t measure up.
It’s the same with goals — whether they be financial goals, personal goals, or any other goals we set for ourselves. We need to set goals that are in line with our own individual abilities, situation, and strengths. If we set goals that are too far-fetched and unattainable, we’ll live all of our life feeling like a failure.
This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t strive for excellence or that we shouldn’t be constantly seeking to challenge ourselves to step outside of our comfort zone or think creatively outside the box. However, it’s vitally important that we remember own strengths and weaknesses, current circumstances, and personal abilities.
If I were to set a goal to be hired on as a professional water-skier next year, I’d be setting myself up for defeat. In the same way, maybe you aren’t in a position to pay off $5,000 worth of debt this year.
But we can all set at least a few realistic goals that we can work toward — and hopefully achieve! What matters is not how much traction we’re making or how well we’re doing compared to someone else’s goals, but that we’re giving it 100%!