I believe goals are for hockey players and, to a lesser extent, soccer players.

If you’re a soccer fan, I hear you screaming at me. Soccer is the most popular sport on the planet. It doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Football players score touchdowns.
Kickers make field goals. But kickers aren’t real football players. They don’t hit and rarely get hit.
To loosely quote Peyton Manning, “They’re idiots. They’re just kickers”.
Their points are a runner-up prize.

Basketball players make shots, buckets, and threes.
They splash, dunk, and alley-oop.
They don’t score goals.

Baseball players score runs.

Volleyball and tennis make points.

This is not a post about sports.

It’s about the usage and determination of the word goal.

In business, we are surrounded by the need to create clearly identified SMART goals. We can thank Edwin A. Locke and his Goal Setting Theory for this.

Unless you’ve never been a part of a strategic exercise formulating goals the “SMART” way, you know what the acronym stands for.

The buzz at the end of December is the idea of resolutions.
Quit smoking.
Lose weight.
Make more money etc.

Aren’t they just goals without the SMART attached to them?

I stopped making resolutions 25 years ago when I saw no change in my long-term behavior.

I made SMART goals.
Same result.

Locke would say I lacked the commitment to carry the goal to completion.
Maybe he’s right.

Resolutions are desires for change that we have no intention of keeping.
SMART goals are over-glorified resolutions so engineers can try to measure progress.

There’s one word in the English language that changed my perspective on all this hogwashery.

Instead of Goals, I had to make Promises.

There are a lot of things I am.
I am not a promise-breaker.

When I promise to do something, consider it done.
Somewhere deep inside, promises are like the wiring to my soul.

I will not promise if I cannot or will not do.

Keeping this in mind, this year, I made a promise to myself.

Before I share, there are a few things you need to know about me.

In 1999, I started gaining weight.
Each year, the scale notched a few extra pounds, sometimes 10 pounds.
One year, the putrid bastard laughed with an extra 30.

I have always loved putting food in my mouth.
I love the taste.

To combat this love of food, I exercised. As an old boss said, “I ran to eat.”

I ran 15 miles a week for 6 months. When my knees got tired of running, I took a few days off. The break got me out of the habit, and I ultimately quit.

A few years later, I joined a Crossfit Gym. I worked out 4 days a week and lost 15 pounds in 6 months. I went on vacation. Lost the motivation to put my body through hell and quit.

I’ve done weight loss programs, juice cleanses, gyms, Noom, and Beachbody with the same result of me quitting.

This year, I promised myself I was going to lose 48 pounds.
The first thing that had to go was beer.

Now I hear you. “Everything in moderation is ok.”
No, it’s not. Tell that to the skydiver who only jumps once without a parachute. Or the guy who occasionally drinks and drives.

The second thing that had to change was sleep.
I like going to bed late. But I wake up tired and usually cranky.
I changed the regiment. Get up early, exercise, and by 9pm, I’d want to sleep.

It wasn’t easy at first, but after three weeks, getting up early was easy.

The third thing was the exercise.
I hate running. I hate lifting weights. I hate high-impact stuff. I hate biking.
You get the point.

I like watching tv.
So I decided to watch tv. But instead of sitting down, I jumped on the treadmill and walked while I watched. I promised myself to walk an average of 20,000 steps per day. Days I traveled, I walked less. But as long as I maintained the average, I was good.

The fourth thing was diet.
With my busy life, I usually skipped breakfast, which caused me to eat more at dinnertime.
I made a promise to eat after my walk. Two tangerines and a portion of Greek Yogurt were washed down with a cup of tea. Apparently, there’s a thing called “Decision Fatigue .”We only have the ability to make about 150 decisions per day. I don’t allow breakfast to become a decision. There are bigger decisions I need to make. 31 days, and I haven’t gotten sick. The vitamin C might be doing its job.

Here’s what has happened:

I missed 4 days of exercise to travel. But I chose to walk when I could have taken a cab or an elevator.
I drank a couple of beers that were left over from Christmas. How do you watch the AFC championship game without a cold one? I didn’t buy any more.
My Fitbit says I averaged 21,351 steps per day.
The scale is still a bastard. It says I only lost 4 pounds. That sounds good, but I lost 3 pounds the first week.
There are days I want to quit. I’m not getting the results as quickly as I want.

My personal journey is hard. There are days I question if the pain is worth it. Last week, I walked 85 miles. I have blisters on two toes and one heel. I hope tomorrow will be easier. It probably won’t, but I expect one day it will.

The money you spend on advertising that doesn’t work is your pain.
It hurts no less than “my little piggy had none” on my right foot.

There’s a secret I know.
If you do the right things consistently over time, the gods have no choice but to honor your commitment and give you what you want.

It takes 39 weeks for them to notice you.

Never have I spent 39 weeks on any weight loss program. My breaking point has been between 4 and 26 weeks.

Your advertising efforts might be similar to my weight loss experiences.

I promised myself to shed 48 pounds.
I’m 1/12 of the way there.
Only 4080 more miles to go.
That’s a return trip from New York to Salt Lake.

Your promises are the only things that separate you from your competitors.

What are they?
How many miles do you need to walk?
What do you need to sacrifice to keep your word?

It’s not gonna be easy, but nothing ever is that’s worth accomplishing.

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