I confess that I have a lifelong love affair with goal-setting. Big goals, little goals, long-term goals, short-term goals, goals I achieve, and goals I never really intend to keep (which I know Stephen Covey or some other self-help guru would wince and tell me that those are not goals in the first place. To them I blow a raspberry). Sometimes I tell people about my goals and sometimes I don't. I set goals every day - I will run 30 minutes nonstop at 6.0 mph today, I will not eat any cookies today (example of a goal I never really intend to keep), I will clean the bathroom (today's goal).
Goal-setting proclivities have gotten me through really tough times in my life and helped me accomplish some major things. Like running a marathon, doing well in law school, seeing some of the most incredible places on earth, and having some really wonderful friendships. Yes, I have had to overcome my social awkwardness by occasionally setting goals to talk to random strangers (a favorite goal that I haven't thought about lately) or make new friends.
This whole goal-setting tendency must have been hard-wired into my brain somewhere before birth because I have always been this way. Even when I was five years old and my parent's could not get me to stop sucking my thumb, I finally overcame that bad habit by setting a goal for myself to quit and taking steps to achieve that goal by taking my favorite thumb-sucking blanket to my parent's room in the middle of the night and tearfully banishing it to the top shelf of their closet because I knew I couldn't achieve my goal with that beloved piece of childhood in my bed, tempting me.
But sometimes my goals get a little out of control. Its like my goals set themselves and I am standing on the roadside watching the Overachiever Train roll by, wondering who is this girl who came up with such a masochistic goal. Like all those times when I have decided that I am going to become ambidextrous. (why? I don't know, although I have always told myself that it would be very useful in case I ever had my right hand amputated - a huge phobia of mine).
This month I set a goal (without really meaning too - it was an out of control goal that set itself and then stared me defiantly in the face) to defeat my mortal enemy: Carrots. Don't laugh. Anyone who has known me long enough knows that I HATE carrots. For reals. My gag reflex comes into play whenever I eat one. I was force-fed cooked carrots as a child while staying with my grandparents when my parents were out of town (my mother never made me eat anything I was that averse to) and puked my guts out afterward. Haven't been able to stomach them ever since. Even in carrot cake or V-8 juice.
But I don't like the idea that a little orange vegetable that the rest of the world loves has this kind of power over me. So the goal is to force myself to eat carrots all this month in order to become friends with carrots. I used a similar method on my mission with a companion who I didn't get along with very well at first. (No I didn't eat her, I just tricked myself into loving her by serving her and trying to love her until I woke up one day and realized that I finally really did love her. Sounds crazy, but it worked).
Starting with eating the shredded carrots in a salad rather than picking them out and working my way up, I have discovered that I prefer carrots raw rather than cooked. That doesn't mean I like them raw, but its a start, right? So I bought my first package of baby carrots, which I have always wanted to like because they are so cute. And I have been chowing down. And by chowing I mean that I am up to being able to get down five, that's right folks, FIVE carrots a day now. In one sitting. Then I reward myself with a cookie.