Balance and Goals

How’s your balance? Can you stand on one foot for more than a few seconds?

Does it sometimes seem like your life is careening out of your control? Out of balance?

In my blog on Feb. 20, ‘17 (“Know Thyself”), I talked about the book “Maximum Climbing” ( The author, Eric Hörst, talks a lot about goal-setting. Do you set goals for yourself? Do you reach them? Why (not)?

Alex Honnold, the world-famous rock climber (and my son) sets it out clearly in his writing: ‘mindfulness’, or ‘purposefulness,’ are synonymous with goal-setting. According to him, these are what make you advance:

• be aware (remember meta-cognition, from that blog?)

• set your goal, and

• work toward that conscious goal every day.

Every day.

If you don’t set a goal, you’re not going to get there. Obvious. You might dream about it, wish for it, talk about it – but without a concrete, very specific goal, one that you can write down in one short sentence, chances are very slim that you’ll reach it.

When I was young, I dreamed of writing a book. Teaching at a college. Conducting an orchestra. I longed to someday live abroad, to work as a tour guide, or at an airport. Those dreams have all come true – because I didn’t just dream about them. All my life, a series of conscious, constant small steps made them happen.

When I was older, I dreamed of marriage and a family of my own (done). Much older still, I wondered whether I could run a marathon (done), or climb outdoors (done!).

Over the last decade, my life has moved into a new, physical realm that I’d never dreamed of earlier. Since about 1971, I’ve always found great joy in traveling this fascinating planet — but lately my trips always seem to include a physical goal, like rock climbing or hiking or running. Goals require balance; sometimes they can be combined, but always keeping balance in mind.

Because just as important as setting the goal for yourself is the ability to keep your goals and your life in balance. Do you work more hours than you live? Is your work your life? Do you spend more hours on line than interacting with real people?

To balance your life, you need to equalize some of those numbers.

What’s important to you? What have you always dreamed of doing? As improbable as it seemed that I’d ever have my own orchestra, once the geographical opportunity presented itself (when we moved to a place that had no local classical music), I made a plan — a goal — and moved ahead with it, tiny step by tiny step.

Listen here to the story of the West Sacramento Community Orchestra.

Goals, and balancing those goals with everyday life — that’s where true satisfaction lies.

I wish you lots and lots of satisfaction!


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