The other day my baby unicorn was playing with some blocks in his playpen. I noticed him throwing a block out of the pen and reaching for it through an opening.
Once he made contact, he maneuvered his tiny hands around the block to firm up his grip on it. With the block in his hand, he stood up and quickly threw it over the playpen.
He repeated this over and over again.
Sometimes when the block was out of reach, I nudged it a little closer for him. He did not cry or fuss. Patiently he repeated his ritual of throwing, reaching, and grabbing. I was amazed. I was actually in the middle of brainstorming my goals for 2018 while he was doing this.
Looking over at him playing this game of ‘throw the block’ it hit me—there is a connection between his block throwing and my goal setting. Goals have always terrified me. I used to feel that writing them down guaranteed I would not achieve them, so I avoided the subject altogether., all because of fear.
I’m still afraid.
But the good news is, I am mindfully working my way through changing my perspective. I’m not 100% where I want to be with goal setting but I am becoming so much more comfortable with the practice.
5 Goal Setting Lessons from a 10 Month-Old
1. Just be cool about it.
My ADHD brain tells me goal setting is this big ordeal. I am realizing it isn’t. When my son was playing with his block he was very calm and relaxed. He didn’t laugh or make much noise. He just played. I am going to take the same attitude with goal setting. Show up to the session and just play.
2. Start With A Distance You Know You Can Manage
At first he threw the block within close range; he didn’t have to stretch too far to pick it up. Watching him I learned that goal setting is less intimidating when the targets are relatively easy to achieve. The objective is just to get used to the practice of setting and achieving.
3. Go Further After A Few Wins
Once he got into a rhythm of reaching for the block through the rails, I noticed he started to throw the block further away. The determination on his face was amazing. The lesson in that for me is to get into a rhythm of achieving small wins and then begin to practice what it feels like to achieve goals that are slightly bigger.
4. Move On, Then Come Back
He made me realize that shifting your focus to something else equally fun and interesting is actually kind of necessary. I get bored easily, so I need to switch things up often to help me focus better. My son taught me that it’s okay to give your goal attention, move on to something else, and then come back to it. He took several breaks but he always went back to throwing his blocks.
5. Make It Enjoyable
My little unicorn was content and entertained during his game of blocks. He showed no frustration, even when the block was out of reach. He seemed to have found pleasure in figuring out how to stretch his arm further for the block. I was inspired by the ability of his little 10 month-old mind to figure out how to grab hold of something that initially seemed out of reach.
I have always heard that your children teach you so much about life and I did not understand that concept until recently. My understanding of goal setting was deepened after watching my little guy play with his blocks.