Do you set goals like a gymnast? Do you make plans like a So Cal native?

I like the way gymnasts make goals. In gymnastics, there comes a time every year where you make a plan of all the skills you want to learn and compete. As I drove across country for my big move from So Cal to Wisconsin, I was inspired by the changing landscape to make changes of my own. I found myself making lists of all the new skills I wanted to master once I finally moved in to my new home.

For example, I would like to have one night a week where my husband and I cook something together.  I would also like to have a game night once a month with friends who live nearby and the new friends I will (hopefully) meet.

Mile after mile, I kept adding to this list of new things I wanted to try. Cross-country skiing. Book clubs. Paddleboarding. …

At some point during the drive, somewhere in Nebraska, I realized I was making goals like a gymnast, but making plans like a So Cal native.

Let me explain.

Friend A: Hey you! How’ve you been? It’s so good to see you!
Friend B: I’m good! We should totally hang out sometime and catch up.
Friend A: Yes, that would be awesome!
Friend B: Great.

And that’s how the conversation ends. There is no detail. No set date. No specific event or action. Both parties share the consensus that something should happen, and that is all that’s needed.

This is how So Cal natives make plans, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. If these two people truly want to hang out, one or both parties will reach out and plan something once there is an opportunity to do so. Neither person has to whip out their Google Calendars that moment and check availability, or scan the Facebook Events page for an activity they can attend together. If one or both people are just agreeing on the hang-out to be nice, neither person has to get shut-down to their face. Agreeing to hang out without agreeing on the details is easier than saying, “I like you as a person but maybe not enough to actively plan something to spend a designated time with you – NOTHING PERSONAL, I just have a lot of other things going on right now.”

Planning like a So Cal native is fine between friends and acquaintances, but maybe not-so-fine for planning goals.

 In gymnastics, all goals have a foundation, a natural progression. You wouldn’t sign up for gymnastics one week and be expected to do over-splits the next week. (#toosoon?) You wouldn’t try to learn a back handspring before a back walkover. You wouldn’t try to learn a handstand walking if you couldn’t even hold a handstand. You wouldn’t run toward a vault before you could punch on a spring board.

As I made my “How to Win at Wisconsin” mental list, I was making my goals like a gymnast. I want to cook something with my husband once a week: I already know how to cook but I am a food scientist, not a chef, which means there is room for improvement. I want to have a game night with friends: I already have some friends in Wisconsin who live nearby and an amazing* game collection.

*I have Harry Potter Scene It. That’s the game where you put in a DVD and answer trivia questions about scenes from the Harry Potter movies. My husband and I have never played that game because it was never a fair fight…but some of my new neighbors are avid fans, like myself, which means I will get to play that game again soon, and it’s going to be amazing.

I was making my goals like a gymnast but I was still making plans like a So Cal native. None of the things on my list had any sense of time around them — all I had was a firm agreement with myself that these things should happen.

Goals like a Gymnast
I should definitely go for this trick…any moment now…

Gymnasts don’t always achieve their goals. I would like to say that since I’m a Project Manager, all the items on my To Do list always get done, but I’d be lying. There are so many promotional activities I’ve been meaning to do for my book and my other blog, GreenEyedGuide.com…but they have never been done because I’ve never allocated time to do them.

Even worse, I have neglected some of my friends and my family members because I have not made time to maintain those relationships as I should have. This simply cannot happen when I move to Wisconsin. Losing touch with the family and friends I’ve left behind in So Cal is not an option, this simply cannot occur, it is not acceptable.

We make time for the things we consider important.

With this age of technology, I have no excuses for letting any of those relationships fizzle. Maintaining constant contact is the goal. The biggest challenge to that goal is the self-imposed illusion of being too busy. But we are never too busy for the things we make time for. When I decided to start bodybuilding, I found time to do that on top of the blog I manage and all the other blogs I write for. I did have to give up playing Lego Avengers though. Accomplishing the goals on my mental list is a matter of priorities and a matter of time, as in allocating the time.

Now that I have arrived in Wisconsin, I intend to transform my mental list into an actual list. I intend to make time for these new goals, and for maintaining my relationships. In fact, I have more than just the intention, I now have reoccurring calendar appointments to call my sister, my mom, my grandma, and so on. I will make sure my Wisconsin goals have dates because, you know, winter is coming.

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