This a piece about preparing to meet your goals by planning with the right people and calling it a ‘date.’ Dates are important; we don’t skip dates. Yet, we end up skipping things we want for ourselves or never planning to do them.
So why not call it a date?
100 SOLO DATES: THE BRIEF
You may be following my blog entries about or remember a challenge I did about 6 years ago, my 100 Solo Dates Challenge.
I challenged myself to do 100 Solo Dates in a year starting on my birthday and that I did. These dates consisted of me going and doing things solo that I had never done before. I documented it on Instagram for fun and also accountability. People cheering me along the way helped for sure.
I went for long hikes, got lost, traveled down rivers in kayaks. I went to classes and figured out some new things I am good at and ones I am awful at, too. I drove to Austin to Nashville and back. I flew to Chile, took subways, got lost again. In the end, I got my favorite tattoo so far, to memorialize my internal mermaid self. Found her on those dates.
In this solo journey. I learned all about self love, but also boundaries. I always had trouble saying ‘no’ to people when I was younger. I still struggle with this at times.
During the 100 Solo Dates, I found it so easy to just say “Oh sorry, I have a solo date planned.”
Everyone in my life knew about the solo dates so most people accepted it first shot. Those that didn’t accept it easily made it easy for me to see that they couldn’t be in my life– I needed space to fulfill my goals and realized some people in my life didn’t know how to give that space.
Anyway, a huge lesson I learned from that experience is the power of the word “date.”
MAKE IT A DATE
We don’t skip dates. We put them in our calendars. We go.
We meet 8am to run when we would never do it on our own.
We meet to hike the mountain.
We meet to bike to Troy.
These dates bring us life and also help us achieve goals– that is, if you choose to be around like minded goal makers, ones who make the right kinds of dates with us.
We don’t skip out on other people because they’re important!
Why do we find it so easy to skip out on ourselves then and specifically skip out on our goals?
When it comes to completing a goal, the best thing we can do is plan for when we are going to chunk and chip at that goal. This is where the dates come in. Now, these dates don’t have to all be the before mentioned solo dates, but the idea is that you have to create ‘dates’ to support your goals. I like to have a healthy balance in my life of solo dates and friend/partner dates.
At the beginning of the year, I make myself a construction piece of paper of goals called the Vision. I’ll share this year’s to reference for examples.
- Foster independence (relationship with self)- minimum one solo date a week
- Foster friendships (reach out, gratitude, time, healthy boundaries)- realistic planning
Nutrition/ Fitness Goals
- Put something healthy in your body daily.
- Run 555 miles in the year, baby!
- Continue to work on good sleep habits; being positive on/ after bad sleep nights.
- Create a community of learners in all classes.
- Support students and peers.
- Meet deadlines.
A huge support for all of my goals has always been having a community behind me and making what I call ‘friendship dates.’ These dates could include writing sessions (relationship goal 1), running sessions (fitness goal 2), WORK SESSIONS (work goal 2), and straight up friendship sessions (relationship goal 2)
When I make a fitness friend date, not only do I show up but I do better. I just do. I kick ass when I am with friends. I randomly broke my mile time while talking on the phone with a friend in quarantine for a ‘virtual’ running date (fitness goal 2).
When I make plans with friends right now, most often it starts with something like a run (fitness goal 2) or a workout. I am extremely time stressed right now (remember those deadlines I am aiming for– work goal 3) and so it feels wonderful to accomplish that with a friend.
In that way, we are supporting each other in shared goals during our date.
We are not only showing friends they are important to us in this way, but showing ourselves that we are important enough to choose the right people to be around for us and the right ways to use our limited time together.
Remember get some friends who are going in the same direction as you and are willing to support those goals, to cheer for you and vice versa. Keep those people.
SHARE AND SHOW UP
I share all about my goals. This makes me show the ef up. ALWAYS. You can’t just show up on game day; you need to show up at every practice. They say you need to show up when no one is watching, but that’s hard– so I get other people involved instead. I share with everyone. I share on social media. I share at work, with my neighbors. I basically run around getting people excited about my goals so I don’t dare forget about them or forget to work on them.
I hold myself accountable in this way, too– people ask about your goals when you include them. People also make their own goals when you include them. This is why I am so insanely team oriented. Every single goal I have achieved was with support and it feels even more kick ass to support someone else when they achieve a goal.
That’s, of course, why I became a teacher lady.
I want to get this goal for myself, but I want it for them too.
A wise rugby player used to tell us to always “play with each other for each other.”
I live that way in all aspects of my life.
Now when you are so public about your goals, you also have to be public and honest when you meet defeat.
I have had to humble myself and admit when I have failed but that is easier with a community, too. Failing with a team around you is always easier than failing alone. That is all part of the goals game and the leveling up process we should all be working for. Failing levels us up, too. Failing shows us what dates we forgot to plan so we can do it the next time.
ADDITION BY SUBTRACTION
Goals require lots of addition, but sometimes we must take away to get to our goals. This is part of the planning and reflecting. There is absolutely no way to fit everything into this mere 24 hours we were given in a day so we must make the best with what we have.
I have found that some relationships did not support my goals and so I had to adjust. If there is a friend you always meet at Burger King and eat a bunch with, that might not support your goals right now. If there is someone who is always encouraging you to skip practice to do something else, that might not be supporting your goals right now.
Sometimes we have to look at the big picture and see which behaviors and maybe what people in our lives are actually supporting our goals.
Are the dates I am making actually supporting my goals?
If you are finding the answer is worse, then maybe you have to add by subtracting.
The people around us are our choice and if they are encouraging you to go the opposite way of those goals of yours, you need to plan some better dates or better yet maybe plan those dates with some other people. By subtracting temptation or bad influences for your goals, you will make it so much easier on yourself to get there. The choice of who you want in your life and to spend your time with is always yours. We can’t live by mere obligation, but must live by what is best for us.
Many people don’t mean to be toxic to us, but a lot of goals are ones of change. My goals always include leveling up to a better me, not a worse one. In this way, you have to find people around you who are willing to change, too. At the very least, the people need to be okay with you changing. This isn’t always the case and so sometimes, you have to change how much you see certain people to support the goals you have.
Who doesn’t love a date?
It isn’t just the idea that we make sure to show up for dates, but the ideas that dates are special.
I propose the idea of not just sporadic dates, but daily dates. It could be a mini-date even, but plan it. Make it a date.
Plan time, even little bits of time, to have a goal oriented date. Make it special.
For example, make every meal with your family or partner, even yourself a date. Set up the table. Serve it like a nice meal. Enjoy it. Take the time to really savor it like a date.
For me, this simple step makes me portion my food and also eat the healthy thing because I am just enjoying myself and the food more. (nutrition goal 1) See above dinner. I made cookies for dessert and only had THREE. It was the fancy kitchen towels.
WAIT, WHAT’S THE GOAL?
Planning special dates and making yourself happier doesn’t always have to have a specific goal on the vision board. These things will always lead you towards your goals though, even if it isn’t super goal specific.
The best thing about the daily ‘date’ is pushing yourself to keep going towards those goals no matter what life is throwing at you.
I am telling you, I have never ever ever regretted putting time into myself with a mini-goal-orientated-date* whether it was a solo-date or any other. These dates have always brought me to a happier place and I can’t help but spread that vibe when I’m there.
I’m just taking my happiness out on the world.
*Yes, bath bombs are goal oriented. (relationship goal 1)