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  • Writer's pictureMarcus Kowal

Not completing goals

Updated: Aug 5, 2021

On Sunday, the 4th of July, I broke my 261 day running streak. It was during the day I came to the realisation due to my hip having been throbbing with pain and locking up more and more frequently. My hip has been a constant issue since before running the Grand Canyon three years ago and it has been getting progressively worse due to some recent injuries as well.

It sucked having to make that decision.

At the same time, I felt a certain relief; I knew it was the right thing to do and the only way to truly start the healing process. Due to stopping, I failed my goal of running 365 days straight by 104 days. That’s the second time I have to break my running streak, where my last one came to a halt at 252 days after breaking my foot. Furthermore, it most likely also means I will not be able to complete another one of my goals of running 1,000 (1,600 km) miles in a year and yet another goal, which was to be able to do the splits again before the end of the year, since I most likely will need some type of procedure.

Sometimes, things don’t go as planned.

Last year was a great example of that, with the COVID-19 pandemic paralysing the world, which was a year where the financial and business goals took a hard hit. Here’s the thing with goals: Goals should be somewhat scary, because they should challenge you and you should work your hardest to hit them but it is also important to understand that sometimes, the goals we set forth were not possible to hit; or not realistic; or had to change because of new information, a change of priorities; etc. Then, it’s important to accept the new reality. However, if you didn’t set the goals to begin with, you have no way to measure the outcome, which means you have nothing to analyse and it’s in the analysation stage you can assess and reassess not only what has to be done but how. From my experience, missing a goal is often due to not having enough knowledge about the topic or miscalculating how long it would take to accomplish. In other words, it often just needs some more time. However, at no point does it feel like a failure or a negative experience. On the contrary, goal setting should be fun; being able to measure your overall progress should be enjoyable! From working with a lot of clients over the years, I know how scary goal setting can be. For someone who has never set goals before, the experience can be somewhat overwhelming and uncomfortable. I have had many clients who have tried their best to get out of it, given reasons to why goal setting won’t work for them. It usually boils down to one thing: the fear of failure. It is the fear of failure that often paralyzes people from starting in the first place but a good way of overcoming that fear is by setting some fairly simple goals, in order to have a few small wins, a few small successes to realize that you can do this too! Once you start having some success, your mindset will start shifting from feeling negative pressure and fear of failing to empowerment and hitting goals doesn’t become the “end goal” but rather a journey of “What else can I do?”

In order to see true change, we have to create new habits and that is usually the hardest part, since our old habits have often been with us for a long period of time. Often so long that it feels as if the habits are part of who we are. Here are some of the most common habit-based “facts” people tell themselves and others:

  1. I’m not a morning person.

  2. I don’t have great coordination

  3. I’m big boned.

  4. I’m not a runner/athlete/painter/singer.

It’s interesting to see the narrative we tell ourselves, because these are all things we can change if we choose to do so. However, by identifying as someone who “doesn’t do that”, we take all the power away from ourselves and can’t be held responsible.

That is known as a victim mentality.

Breaking a victim mentality mindset is one of the most important things you can do, as it gives the power back to you. Making you capable. Which, in and of itself can be very scary, since it now puts accountability on you. Once you take back your power by acknowledging that you can change/do/become something, you have to set goals to be able to see where you are going. Goals will guide you and give you a way to assess your progress. To learn more about how to goalset, click here. That is why creating streaks can be so useful. First and foremost, you’re creating a new habit but once you start having some momentum and you realise that you’ve been doing something for a period of time, such as running, not breaking the streak starts holding a value in itself; you will work harder not to break your streak as it becomes more and more valuable to you, the longer you can keep it!

I want to reiterate that having to realize that a goal set won’t be achievable is never fun. It’s disappointing and it stings but by creating a new goal with the new reality will help bring the focus away from what no longer can’t be and refocus on what can. Additionally, nothing tastes quite as sweet as at first failing and later coming back to conquer. Few things taste better and give self confidence a bigger boost than comebacks!

As far as my hip: after a visit with Sports Medicine Specialist and orthopedist Dr Alex Weber, it looks like it’s a torn labrum or possibly a full hip replacement is needed. I want to give a special shoutout to Dr Weber and his team, who managed to get me seen, X-rayed and a Cortisone injection into the hip joint on such short notice. If you want to see what a cortisone injection into the hip joint looks like, you’re welcome:

Dr Weber is both a Sports Medicine specialist at USC and for the LA Kings. He is someone I’d highly recommend, if you're in the Los Angeles area. For more info, click here.

Once back from Sweden, I’ll get an MRI and find out and whatever the outcome is, I’ll set new goals from there and then I’ll come back to the goals I broke at a later point! 😉

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