• Dr. Matt Zakreski

Making and Working On Goals That Are Hard

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Let's talk about New year's resolutions. It is, after all, that time of year.

Last year, I set a goal to do 5000 pushups in 2020. I did it because I wanted to get stronger and in better shape. I also did it because I wanted to challenge myself. I could do them at home and it didn't change my life too much.

But I hate pushups. So why did set that goal? And how did I end up succeeding? (I'm at 13000 and counting)

So, a few notes on setting goals: goals should be:

1. Concrete: 5000 pushups is a better goal than "get in shape." They accomplish the same outcome but the former is easier to measure and therefore track

2. Possible: You want to find something that isn't too easy but isn't too hard. 10 pushups doesn't engage us enough, 100000 is too hard.

3. Practical: easier goals don't involve too much life changes. Think about what you have already and can use easily. A goal that requires you to build or buy many different things has a much higher barrier to entry than something simple. For example, doing pushups required no equipment or different locations.

4. Personal: I wanted to do my goal for me. Another person cant set a goal for you; it has tO come from your values and wants.

But the biggest thing about goals is that they aren't easy. The above steps can make them EASIER. But goals aren't easy, so it is vital to set your expectations in that way.

You'd think that after 12 months (and over 13,000 pushups) I would enjoy doing pushups more, right?


Pushups are still difficult for me. I don't like them. I sometimes dread doing them. They got easier, for sure, but they aren't easy. I got better at them for sure, and I'm seeing the benefits. But I think that we fall into the trap of "I should like this change I'm trying to make, since I'm making it." I do pushups because I know that they help me: no more, no less. When they become a task to do, they're less painful.

When I look back at it, what I've really increased with any resolution I have set is my resilience. The ability to keep going when things aren't easy. The ability to make hard choices for a greater good. The ability to accept difficulty as part of the process, not a sign of failure.

When you make a resolution for 2021, think hard about resilience. Real change requires resilience. So what can you do to increase your grit? And what goals can you set that play to your strengths?

You are capable of great things. Now and in 2021. If you set the right goals in a smart way, you're setting yourself up for even more success.

Good luck and happy new year!!!

#gifted #drmatt #ADHD #goals #goals2021 #resilience #grit #pushupsChallenge

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