Woodside, California
Further to my blog of October 30 about the essential characteristics of goals, I’ve had a lot of people write to let me know what the R and T of SMART stand for (the other letters being Specific, Measurable and Achievable).

But as with many things in life, opinions vary.

The most popular suggestion was for Realistic and Time-driven – which are indeed important, but Realistic is similar to Achievable, and Time-driven could be part of Specific.

So I’ve chosen to go with an alternative suggestion sent in by Claire Sutcliffe – Rewarding and Tactical. As I understand these, they mean…

Rewarding: it’s important to know WHY you want to achieve your goal. I realized this on the Atlantic, when there were days (99% of them) when I wanted to be anywhere else but on a tiny little tippy boat in the middle of a hostile ocean. But I knew that if I persevered, I would be taking a major step towards the kind of life I wanted. And that if I gave up, I would find it very difficult to ever find a sponsor for any future adventures I wanted to undertake.

So in the overall scheme of things, this made my short-term trials and tribulations much easier to bear.

Tactical: the short-term steps that you need to take in order to achieve your goal. On the Atlantic it took me a while to grasp this concept. I really, really wanted to get to Antigua – and fast. But I couldn’t get myself across 3000 miles of ocean by just wishing. I had to make the connection between present actions and future outcome. Skipping a rowing shift was not going to get me there quickly. I had to get onto that rowing seat and keep sticking my oars in the water.

Same thing now – if I exercise every day and watch what I eat, I will reach my goal, but the long-term strategy has to be broken down into short-term tasks. The longest journey starts with a single step.

And, I’m happy to say, the tactics are going pretty well. I’ve been looking after myself, training consistently, improving my diet, and also exploring other ways to nurture health, strength and wellness.

Today, for example, I went to seeĀ Deepa Gleason, a professional healer specializing in acupuncture. I don’t know quite what I was expecting, but when I got there, realized that Deepa was not it. Although her cozy office abounds with the paraphernalia of various spiritual practices and therapies, Deepa herself is refreshingly down-to-earth with an enormous sense of fun. And she’s good – after half an hour of lying face-down on a couch with needles sticking out of my back and ankles, I wafted out of there feeling thoroughly rejuvenated, as if I’d just had the best sleep of my life.

If the Chinese invented acupuncture, why on earth do some of them think they needĀ shark fin soup to (allegedly) make them strong and healthy?

[photo: me with Deepa Gleason]

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