Goals and the fun factor

new orleans map

Too often, goals aren’t any fun at all. The vision of achievement is something we like, but sometimes the process to get there can be unnecessarily unpleasant. And the vision vanishes.

Setting a goal and reaching it typically calls for some sort of adjustment. And if the adjustment were an enjoyable one, we’d already be doing it.

If the goal is to get good grades, the adjustment is to devote more time toward studying and completing assignments. Not always enjoyable.

If the goal is to be financially secure, the adjustment could be to work more, work smarter, spend less, or invest better. These options seem like more stress than fun.

And if the goal is to lose weight, the adjustment is to diet and exercise. Again, if it were enjoyable to spend our free time dieting and exercising—we’d already be doing it.

For some of us, we spend quite a few years—maybe decades—in the pursuit of weight loss. The problem is that it’s just not fun.

But what if we could switch things up and make fun the end goal, and weight loss the accidental achievement?

The key is to define what the word “fun” means to you personally. What would make your life more meaningful and just plain happier? Once you’ve established what your “fun-ness” is, find a way to work it into your goal and reward system.

This writer struggled with losing 20 pounds for about 20 years, but looking back I can see that I was doing things all wrong. The end goal was always weight loss, and that wasn’t fun.

This year, the end goal was to have fun. If I also happened to lose weight, that would be great.

For me, learning is fun. Often, that means traveling and seeing and doing new things. I rarely travel to the same location over and over again. Once I’ve been there and done that, I’m ready to strike out for new territory.

My fun-ness and I decided to take a virtual walk across the country this year, using my generic Fitbit. I left San Diego, California on January 1st. On December 31st, I’ll arrive in Jacksonville, Florida. It’s 2,338 miles. Or about 6.5 miles per day or 13,000 steps daily.

It’s intense. But I’ve enjoyed tracking my progress across the country and learning about the cities I’m traveling through, telling myself that someday I’ll return for an actual visit.

My route took me through New Orleans about mid-October, and it’s a city that I had never visited. I decided to reward myself for my walk-across-the-country efforts thus far and physically travel there, along with my daughter, my sister and a niece. It’s poetic that my year of fun landed me in the Crescent City where there’s music and great food everywhere.

There’s a sign up in the New Orleans airport that advertises one of many great restaurants in the French Quarter. This part of the airport is usually hectic with travelers impatiently standing in line, trying to get their baggage checked. I don’t usually notice advertisements here, but was drawn to this one. Its message was, “Life is meant to be lived, not endured.”

In about ten weeks, I’ll “be” in Jacksonville. Been living a pretty good and fun life this year.

And dropped 20 pounds in the process.

6 thoughts on “Goals and the fun factor

  1. enjoyed this one a great deal…..probably cause I did same thing for several years riding a stationery bike across the country till my hips gave out!! Keep ’em comin!!

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  2. I admire you determination and perseverance. Can’t wait for you to reach Jacksonville. Happy trails!

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  3. You have given me much to think about regarding the fun factor in goal setting. New concept for me. I always enjoy your articles.

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