Milestones as Motivators

by Joanna on April 23, 2013

I went back to my hometown – Seattle – a few weeks ago. So many ideas and insights occurred to me while I was there.

How your geography influences what you consider ‘normal.’
How your geography affects your physical and spiritual self.
The comfort one feels – in body and spirit- when truly at home.
The story of a life – and how it changes when we move from one place to another.
About what I personally miss and want to cultivate in my life…again.

But, that’s not what this blog is about.

This blog is about the fact that, when I got home from the trip, I got an invitation to my 20th high school reunion. After a week of enjoying my favorite city, Seattle, the invitation was a sweet reminder of how I have changed.

And how the future gets here much more quickly than we expect.

 

Twenty Years Ago

JSP-93-small

(Your fearless leader, age 18.)

The 20th high school reunion is a big milestone for many people. So is turning 30 or 40, or 50, or 60 (something about hitting the next decade?). These meaningful dates cause us to reflect, take stock, and decide what direction we will take From Here On Out.

I’ve been thinking about who I was then and who I am now.

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Life changes us, even if we don’t try to change.
But then things come along that make us want to change.
We are motivated to change.

Milestones can be very helpful motivators. We want to be at a certain place in our life -or our job, or relationships- by certain ages. Or we want to feel a particular way when we get to a milestone, such as the 20th high school reunion, retirement, or our 50th birthday.

And a lot of these goals have to do with how we want to look and feel.

For me, it means that I am feeling great but I want to be in top form for the reunion.
But what does ‘top form’ mean?
Is it about a physical goal?
A spiritual one?
Emotional growth?
Maybe it’s about just reflecting and gathering the wisdom I’ve gained over the last 20 years (at least, I hope I have!).

Our goals, and how we define them, determine a lot about how we are going to behave.

If I want to lose 5 lbs before the reunion (so I can gain it back as I eat my way through the city!) then the choices I make about how to spend my days are going to be different than the choices I would make to gather twenty years of wisdom and make use of it.

For the first, I’m going to eat a little differently and maybe get outside more. I’m going to motivate myself by thinking about how eating a few extra carrots today will let me eat White Chocolate Strawberry Cake in Fremont in about 7 weeks.

For the latter, I’m going to take make time in my schedule on a weekly basis to reminisce through old yearbooks and journals. I’m going to see what themes keep coming up- both negative and positive- and see how my actions and ideas have changed over time.

They are both worthy goals. But they take different paths.
And each path is based on how I define my goals.

 

Motivation

All of these goals rest on being motivated by the upcoming milestone of my reunion. Motivation is an important piece of the puzzle when we move towards our health goals.

We require both internal and external motivation to meet our health goals (or any goals). External motivation – the motivation that keeps me eating well so I can have the cake later- is what keeps us going when we first start on a goal.

But internal motivation – feeling good inside ourselves for the choices we are making- is necessary to move from heading towards a goal to changing our life. When we have internal motivation, based on goals we define, our changes last.

Milestones may cause us to pause and reflect and see where we want to be (and aren’t), but they can also cause us to pause and reflect and be motivated to reach a new goal. A goal that we define: a goal borne out of hope and headed towards joy.

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There are milestones in the making for this website.

In the coming weeks I will be making some big and small changes to the site so I can focus on what I do best and help those I serve the best. There will be new pages, a new focus for the newsletter, and new offerings.

Keep your eyes open- it’s going to be fun!

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Here's my disclaimer: I'm here to let you know that you alone are responsible for what you do with the information found in this website. What I offer is information, not medical advice. I'm not a registered dietician. I'm not a nurse. I'm not (technically) a therapist, although I've been trained as one. I've also been trained as a health educator and a minister. I've got several degrees that make me a bonafide smarty-pants, but whatever information, tools, and ideas I share with you are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. I do hope that you will help yourself to anything you find useful and that feels safe for you. Because while I may not be a doctor/ lawyer/ nurse/ whatever, I do know some stuff and I am here to help.