Already Failing Your New Year’s Resolutions? What would Rocky Balboa do?
~How to set life goals~

Que theme music:

(And yes, I am listening to the song while writing this blog)

Rocky, an American movie classic, is the story of a man overcoming obstacles in one of the most challenging sports. Boxing is grueling; the training is intense, breaking the body down only to rebuild it into a strong, powerful machine. Yet this intensely personal sport only receives hype when there is a high-promo fight between two well-known names. We all know the big names Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Oscar De La Hoya, “Sugar” Ray Leonard, and Jack Dempsey. As watchers of the sport, we often forget the training involved. It takes a very mentally strong person to endure the physical training and danger in a sport that receives nominal reward.

Hopefully, most of us have seen Rocky, if not, Google it and binge on Rocky I-V and get your Sylvester Stallone on. The impact of seeing another relentlessly push through challenge, even when they may lose, is amazing. It’s about the passion and personal self-belief that continues to push us beyond limits we didn’t even know existed. And at the same time, it’s not luck…it’s all hard, sometimes excruciating, work. This is the approach we have to take when setting life goals.

We are all fighting in the ring of life. But, an inner personal flame of desire to achieve fuels what makes us achieve and carry through tough goals and growth. So, how close are you to Rocky?

By now, the luster of the New Year has worn off and it’s back to life as usual. It doesn’t have to be. I, personally, set only two goals for the new year, and often, they are a continuation of something I was already doing for last year. This is my way to ensure I am never failing…though I may slip from time to time. I am constantly working on something and that something fits within my personal values. So, if I set out for a New Year’s goal to work out more, but I hate the freakin’ gym, do you think I am going to get there? Nope. Set not just realistic goals, but realistic ways in which to achieve them.

Reality check…me, you, all of us will slip, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to give up. Be Rocky. Pick yourself up, analyze where and why the slip happened, and move forward.

Guess what, I’ve already slipped and started giving myself the old excuses and pushing off writing until I absolutely have to. This blog—it has been a goal and desired achievement for quite some time. My aim is to write one post a month. As you can see by the dates of my posts, that timeline does not always accurately occur. Looks like my personal banana peel got in my way and I slipped. But, I will be Rocky. I will keep trying, and will one day soon achieve my goal because I know I can do this, I know this is a realistic goal.

My friend tells me that once I consistently post once a month with ease, I need to up the ante to two posts a month. I tell her she’s nuts, but secretly I know someday I’ll work towards that impossible idea, and someday after that I will achieve it.

Here are some fun and, hopefully, helpful reminders and homework to help you with personal growth:

Obviously, the counter to achieving a goal is failing. I hate the word “failure”. It makes me cringe when I hear it. When we define ourselves as failures, we state to ourselves, “Hey, piece of crap. Good luck.” Self-talk is so important in the process of goal success. Do you think Rocky called himself names? No. He just made it a hard line in the sand and worked his butt off.

Me versus the hill…

Quite some time ago, I used to ride my bicycle to work, which was thirty miles round trip. At the beginning of the ride, there was this hill, and it was steep. I have to disclose that I am not the most skilled bicycle rider. For many, this hill was nothing big as they would zip right up it, but for me, it was my personal Mt. Everest.

Think of me as more of a beach cruiser rider—breezy, easy…and flat. Change the terrain; create a more technical ride where I am required to balance while going up a steep hill, pedaling my short legs as hard as possible in low gear… Well, let’s just say there were curse words and the utter conviction that the hill was evil and should be exorcised by a troupe of civil engineers with lots of heavy machinery. I hate how others would make that hill appear so easy while I looked like a five-year-old child pedaling a Big Wheel.

I remember thinking, You have got to be kidding me!, the first time I encountered this hill. My friend pedaled along by me, getting to the top without struggle. I, on the other hand, stopped, dismounted the more than capable piece of transportation, and walked my tired butt, side by side with my bike, up that wretched hill.

The way home was great! I rode down the hill so fast. I thought to myself, This is the best hill coming from this direction. However, I vowed to take another route from then on.

I wasted so much time trying to avoid this hill the next day. I did find an alternate way to work…and it took an extra thirty minutes down streets that would lead me to a dead end or a road closed by construction, and then required me to turn around and find another path. After that, I knew it was either conquer the hill or drive.

My very own “Eye of the Tiger”

Fast-forward to Rocky III and “Eye of the Tiger”, the classic song by Survivor.

Rising up, back on the street… Just a girl and her will to beat that evil hill…

(Feel free to sing along, you know you want to.)

The next day of me versus the hill, I again walked my bike as my friend blew right past me and waited at the top.

Day four, she didn’t wait. In all honesty, I can’t say I blame her, but I was still upset…not at her but at me.

Day five, I rode my bike a few more feet up that demon hill before I had to stop, get off, and walk the bike the rest of the way.

Day six, another foot was conquered.

Each day, I defeated another few inches, another foot of my personal Mt. Everest. It would have been so much easier just to give in to defeat…I do have a perfectly good car after all. But something was happening. With each new hill climb, with each new inch I was able to ride before having to walk, I was becoming stronger in body and mind. I was becoming Rocky.

I admit it took time, but ultimately, I did defeat the hill, riding all the way to the top without stopping. What I found there was my friend, a big grin on her face as we rode on together to work.

And that demon hill? I now think back on it as my very own Mt. Everest…and I smile.

The point of this story is that there are always insurmountable things we face in life in which we question our abilities, get scared, give up on, or take the lazy way around. In general, do a workaround or “quick fix”. We skip the hard work, and we believe the thoughts of self-defeat. This plays a role in the way we view goals and give up on things we care about. We deem ourselves as losers, failures, quitters, sissies, inadequate, worthless…you get the idea.

“[bctt tweet=”When all else fails, get curious about failure” username=”denverinfocus”]

When all else fails, get curious about the “failure”. Why did it not work? Go back through these suggestions in how to set life goals:

Where do I go from here?

  • Set an intention.
  • Make it your priority.
  • Why do you value this goal? Values, values, values…
  • Is your goal superficial? Are you doing it for someone else? Do the numbers work?
  • Break down the goal.
  • Zoom out. — Ask yourself if a friend were telling this very same goal to you, would you believe they could do it? We often have a different set of rules with self than others.
  • Flexibility for life’s circumstances.
  • Be tough but kind to yourself.
  • Get inspired. Follow through by getting support from friends and family on goals.
  • Join a group of likeminded people to help you through.
  • Find motivational blogs that will send ideas and motivation to your inbox.

The two most important words to remember when goal setting:

  • SMART goals (Smart, Attainable, Realistic, Timely)

And remember to fly high now, just like Rocky.

No one person has all the answers, but through being a community, we generate ideas and support personal growth. If you’d like to see more of my posts and Pinterest projects, I invite you to sign up to receive my monthly blog here.

If you’re in the Denver area and need to talk, give my office a call at 720-295-9522 to set an appointment.