Do 4 Things. Achieve Your Goal. (Update 104 rides in 52 weeks)

Why oh why do we fail to follow through on our goals? 

Wait. Does walking the parking lot from grocery store to Bi-Mart count as a walk? (No.)

What if it’s a really big parking lot?

Photo: thank you Morguefile and jppi


It’s only Jan. 12, and my resolution to get out of the car is already crumbling. The extra commutes-by-muscle accumulated last summer are dwindling, and my one-year deadline (April 15) to car-free-commute 104 times in 52 weeks is speeding toward us. 

My excuses:  Too cold. Helmet hair. Takes too much time.  Biking is too scary. Too many cars. Violates the herd instinct.  Blah, blah. 

This calls for an intervention.  

I conducted a study of Self Help experts on the subject.

To reach goals you need to do 4 things:  

1. Make a plan.  Write it down. Divide it into 5 subgoals.  Write them down.  Choose areward for every milestone.  Write it down.  Look at all three, every day.  

2.  Imagine how reaching the goal will benefit you and other people.  

Photo by mrhayata
3.  Tell someone else your goal. 
                  Photo by law_keven

4.  Start.  Just start. Subconscious minds don’t like unfinished projects and will niggle and nag until a job is done.  People who don’t get started, don’t get started, or finished.  They procrastinate. 

OKAY.  Tomorrow I walk to the mailbox and back, or bust. 

Photo: thank you and Schick
(Update on the quest to commute, powered by muscle, 104 times in 52 weeks.  Week 38:  walked 1x, bicycled zero. Week 39:  walked 1x, bicycled zero. (BOO) Start date and end date:  April 15.  Grand total:  89, 11 in the bank).

Source of the authority on how to achieve goals:  59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot, Richard Wiseman



  • Hi Julia,

    This is the first of your update post that I’ve seen. I’d like to say that you’ve inspired me, but who am I kidding? (Sorry, I may have just taken out my own goal frustration on you).

    The truth is that you have provided inspiration in this post. It’s a reminder that we are not alone in our quests to improve and of the missteps that we all take along the way. By presenting your goals for all to see (and providing updates) you are not only “telling someone” you are also reminding the rest of us to get up and get moving!


  • Hi Ray! Actually, I have a separate blogspot blog with all the gory details of my quest to get out of the car. Sometimes I repost here because not everyone sees blogspot. Maybe, eventually, I’ll combine the two. Oh yeah, it’s humbling to set a goal for yourself and then have to face up to your own shortcomings. What’s your goal??


    • My goal isn’t too horrible: to return to a 3 days per week workout schedule. I’m lucky if I get one in these days. In the past, it was easiest to stay on track when I belonged to a gym. Yeah, I know, “So join a gym already!”


      • Gyms are nice. Motivation feeds on having other motivation around. Note Sheri’s comment below though, if you don’t want to spring for gym fees!


  • Julia – I was listening to a lecture on fitness goals last evening and heard that 3 times a day of 10 minutes each time was as rewarding for our body as 30 minutes at one time. Have you heard this opinion? I’ve fallen way behind on doing 30 minutes at one time – so maybe I heard what I wanted to hear.


    • You heard right. There was a NY Times article last summer that said vigorous exercise 3 times a day for 10 minutes was MORE rewarding than 30 minutes straight. Particularly for (ahem) older women. Evens out blood pressure, helps with weight loss, even helps kids struggling with obesity. Thanks for visiting.


  • Go Julia! I’ve thought about the get out of the car goal for sure, many times. I hate driving, at least around town and I don’t ever want a car payment so I basically buy recycled junk. This got me thinking about it again! Good luck to you!


      • No way! I think you’re the second person that has told me this, but it’s been awhile. I’m still up and kicking:

        Thanks for checking though because if this continues, I’m going to contact them!


  • I’ll need it. Sadly, I’m a little too fond of driving around town in a car. NPR and I go way back. Still! Good for you for avoiding car payments. What a racket. Best wishes —


  • Great tips for goal achievement. I hold myself accountable via blog updates on progress. Nothing like the threat of public humiliation to motivate me. 😉


  • Hi Julia 🙂
    I’ve been musing over this too and why sometimes procrastination just sets in. I think guilt over procrastination does more harm than good sometimes though (*sometimes*… there should be SOME guilt to indicate that you know what your path is and that you’ve diverged from it. But I try not to beat myself up). So for me based on your list it’s 1. plan and 4. Start. Then if I didn’t do what I intended to do, I just say well, I’ll do it when ‘the spirit moves me’, so to speak :o)
    And it does, eventually. (okay, eventually with a big E. but it does!)


  • Sorry for the double post – I should add too that this only works for tasks. For fitness-related stuff every moment of procrastination does have a physical cost.


  • Doesn’t it seem as if our minds, well part of our minds anyway, wants to be cajoled and tricked? Can’t force it, but can’t not force it. Hmm. As for a physical cost of waiting for the spirit to move you — too true. Maybe No. 4 should be No. 1. Thanks for the visit. (Do you have a blog I can visit?)


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