"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience."
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
About two weeks ago, I wrote a post entitled “Goals: Just Keep Marching.” You can read that post by clicking here. In that post, I said that if we want to get anywhere with our goals, we’re going to have to be as consistent as we can in moving towards them. Whether we feel like it or not, we’re going to have to keep marching. Consistency is key. But just as important as consistency is manageability. Are the goals we’ve set for ourselves manageable in the first place? Can we march towards them day in and day out at a workable pace—a pace that won’t kill us in the end?
Smart goal-setting involves determining goals that are challenging enough for us to be stretched as human beings but at the same time not impossible to accomplish. Marching towards our goals is important. But how consistent we’ll be in marching is closely dependent on how manageable the pace is in the first place. Make the pace too easy and you’ll become bored soon enough. Make the pace too difficult and you’ll give up before the first week ends.
Say you want to get more exercise and choose running at the gym. What would be a manageable pace to march to week in and week out? I highly doubt running every single day would be reasonable to begin with. Perhaps 3 or 4 times a week would be a more appropriate pace to start with. Or say you want to read more of the Bible. What would be a manageable pace to march to every single day? I personally find that reading 3 chapters a day is highly doable. It’s lengthy enough to be challenging at times but not too lengthy where it becomes cumbersome.
Closely related to manageability is sustainability. Say for instance that you are indeed able to run at the gym 7 days a week. Would you be able to sustain the pace after a couple of weeks? Perhaps not. So even if you could do it for a short time, it would burn you out. And who knows when you'll be back on the treadmill again. When I started this blog, I set a manageable pace that I could sustain week after week. I settled on posting 3 articles a week. Now, I could’ve done 6 posts a week especially when I started out and was really excited about it. But it wouldn’t have been sustainable in the long run. I probably would’ve burned myself out early on. And so both manageability and sustainability are important aspects of good goal-setting.
When it comes to accomplishing goals, whether we feel like it or not, we’ve got to learn to keep marching towards them day in and day out. But at the same time, we shouldn’t forget to do so at a pace that’s manageable for us. You don’t want be marching 50 miles today and only 5 miles for the rest of the week because of sheer exhaustion.