Just a few hours before writing this post, I had barely finished half a bowl of chili when I felt a crunch as pain shot across my lower left jaw. My wife and oldest son turned with eyes wide. “What was that?” they said. I’d chomped onto a hard piece of gristle, but my tongue, probing for shrapnel, felt something larger wiggle.
Cold air rolled over the molar as I ran to the bathroom mirror with a flashlight. I found a quarter of the tooth completely separated but still attached to the gum. I shook my head and thought about a goal I’d set for myself exactly one year earlier—to eat healthier, exercise more, and shave thirty pounds. I had failed miserably with that goal and paid the price for it.
Push Goal Trumps All
If you’re looking to achieve real, measurable goals in 2015, I first need to point you to Michael Hyatt’s Best Year Ever program. It’s simple, effective, and affordable when compared to what you might spend in both time and money reading a bunch of books on goal setting or successful time management (and I am not getting paid to say that). I went through the short course at the start of 2014, and it overhauled the way I set goals as well as those ill-fated New Years resolutions. And I did accomplish several goals I had set for myself in 2014, but unfortunately the one goal that I had set as my highest priority fell to the bottom.
Michael Hyatt calls this your “push” goal. It is the one goal that all your other goals should hinge on, the goal that pushes your other goals forward. My physician told me in late 2013 that with my high cholesterol, stress, and increase in weight, I could be the poster child for the fast-food documentary Super Size Me. And worse yet, if I didn’t make serious changes, he predicted a heart attack in another five years. There was no question about what my push goal needed to be for 2014. After all, what other goals would even matter if I were dead?
But for many of us, our health comes last as we succumb to the pressures of everything else blasting out the fire hose of to-dos. Yes, I achieved my goals to write more, to do more with my wife and children, and with our church, to finish another room in our basement, and to hone in on other priority areas I needed to focus. But in the process, I injured my back pushing myself too hard with activities that would not have taxed me if I were in better shape. And I packed on more pounds from eating more of the wrong foods. Both of those added up to six months of lower back and leg pain, x-rays and an MRI, several weeks of physical therapy (that I am still undergoing), and all the bills to go with it. I can’t say whether my broken tooth has anything to do with my poor health choices in 2014, but it sure reminded me.
Push It Like Your Life Depends On It
As you lay out the goals you’d like to accomplish in 2015, what is the one goal that, if you don’t work toward it, may keep you from achieving all of your other goals? Or all other goals aside, what is the one you absolutely need to meet this year, the one that would have the greatest impact on your life in 2015?
Maybe you’re already in great shape physically, with a regular diet and exercise routine. If so, what’s next? Is it getting your finances under control? Setting up regular date nights with your spouse (a happy marriage makes a happier life!)? Spending more quality time with your children, or other family and friends? Or like so many of us, maybe it is to improve your health.
Whatever you determine your push goal to be in 2015, take a lesson from me, protect it. Make it a priority, no matter what else you may have to say “no” to. Your joy, your future, your family, and possibly your life may depend on it.
As for me, my push goal in 2015 remains the same. To eat healthier, exercise regularly, and lose thirty pounds. I’m almost two weeks into exercising every day and making smarter food choices, and even this broken tooth didn’t keep me from hopping on my Nordic Track this evening and sipping a protein shake. If anything, it challenged me to not let a setback or failure determine the rest of my year (and yes, I’m seeing the dentist on Monday). I hope you will take your push goal in 2015 just as serious.
Happy New Year from Lifesummit, and happy goal setting!