Donna Doyon
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  • Ep126: A Feminine Approach to SMART Goals

Last week, I asked if your SMART goals were DUMB. This week, I continue talking about SMART goals, and put a feminine spin on them. Using a recent goal in my life, I compare how the masculine and feminine energies apply to achieving goals. 

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Note: This is a computer-generated transcript. That means it's pretty good, but not perfect. If you read something weird or confusing, first laugh, then use the time stamp to hop into the podcast to find out what I REALLY said. 🙂


Welcome to another episode of Finding My Way, a podcast dedicated to sharing the scattered thoughts and muddled musings of this 50 something year old woman. Each week I'll share my experiences, challenges, doubts and fears, as well as the lessons I've learned that keep me moving forward toward my dreams. And yes, this is the podcast that was formerly known as Reflections of a Recovering Ugly Duckling. This is Episode 126. And I'm your host, Donna Doyon. Last week in Episode 125, I asked the question, are your smart goals dumb?


As promised, this week I'm going to continue talking about smart goals, but I'm going to put a feminine spin on them. The example I'm going to use throughout this week's episode is The Half-Marathon that I participated in on May 11th. To recap last week's episode, I basically talked about the smart goal method of defining and writing out your goals. The letters in Smart represent a guideline to create effective goals. So for those of you who haven't listened to that podcast episode yet or are not familiar with smart goals, here's what Smart stands for.


It stands for specific, measurable, action oriented, realistic and time bound. Now, this methodology of setting goals has been around long enough that some people use different words for the letters. One of the big ones is some people say the letter A. is not action oriented. It's attainable. But I always preferred the action oriented. I felt like attainable and realistic. We're a little bit too similar. So you may have heard different variations, but it's still kind of the same thing.


It's a strong guideline to help you develop clear, concise and complete able goals is complete. Well, a word or two words hyphen. So for decades, I have been following smart goals, it's something that I learned decades ago and it's mostly been effective for me. And it was only a few years ago that I realized that probably the goals that I was not accomplishing were because they were actually dumb goals. And to hear about what dumb goals are.


You'll need to go back and listen to episode one hundred and twenty five and you can find that at Donna Doyon. Dot com forward slash one, two, five. In the last year or so, I have been exposed to women who talk about the feminine approach, and this is not about man bashing. This is about the difference between the masculine and the feminine energy. Each of us has a blend of each. Sometimes we recognize one more or the other.


We rely on one more or the other. But each of us is capable of identifying and learning about and using both our masculine and feminine characteristics. So some masculine characteristics. Those typically are things like taking decisive action, taking risks, thinking logically, controlling the situation. And I feel like the traditional smart goal methodology is masculine in nature. A couple of years ago, I tried to create a course on goal setting and I struggled with it. I struggled with the smart goals, specific, measurable, action oriented, realistic and time bound.


There was something not quite fitting for me. And as I gained more experience and exposure to the concept of the difference between masculine and feminine, I realized that smart goals are masculine. And just recently I started thinking, hmm hmm. What would happen if we put a feminine spin on smart goals? So that's what we're going to do today. So here is my rendition of Smart Goals using a feminine approach. So the S stands for simple, you state what you want to accomplish.


You don't overcomplicate it. It's simple. M is meaningful or this was one was tricky, two words came to me immediately and I couldn't choose and I don't want to confuse things, but I really couldn't pick. So the M represents either meaningful or will be memorable. This is your why why is this goal important to you? The A stands for acceptable meaning that you know what to do and you accept the responsibility to do it. You're saying yes to this goal.


R stands for resonating. It resonates with your spirit, your heart and your intuition is guiding you to pursue this goal. This might be very different from the masculine realistic. Sometimes our goals. It doesn't matter if they're realistic, if they matter to our heart, they make our heart sing. That's resonating. And that means that this is a smart goal. You want that passion in that power. The T stands for Timeless. It gives you time to get there instead of feeling like you're in a rush, in a rush, in a rush.


And you've got to get it done. You've got to get it done. It's got to be done exactly the way that you specified. Timeless means that you may always be in a state of, well, I'm not there yet and you continue your journey. Which reminds me, I want to bring up this point. I don't recall if I first heard this from my friend Audrey Acton on her podcast, Women are the Journey, or if I picked it up somewhere else, but I'll attribute it to Audrey, Acton, because that's when it actually connected with me.


You know how they say in advertising you have to see the same message seven or eight times before it clicks. So I've heard this one, probably a dozen, two dozen, three dozen, a hundred gazillion times. And it never connected until I heard Audrey talk about it. But one way to look at the difference between masculine and feminine is that masculine is the destination. Feminine is the journey. To be really clear, I am not defining masculine and feminine as men and women.


Every gender possesses characteristics of both. Every gender can develop or enhance the characteristics of both. And I would even say that you experience greater harmony in your life when you embrace and use the characteristics of both in the appropriate settings and situations. So anyway, smart girls, a feminine approach. Here we go. Here's the scenario for this episode. It was December or January of this year that Earl came up with the idea to run a half marathon on May 11th.


It's the Maine coast half marathon and marathon races, and he wanted to do it. So I said, sure, let's sign up for it inside. I'm thinking, what the heck am I thinking? Running a half marathon, which for non runners is thirteen point one miles in May after what could be a long, cold, icy, snowy winter, which seriously restricts running time. I wasn't sure that was a great idea, but he was excited.


He had access to a treadmill and I figured I could make do so. We signed up for this race immediately. My brain went into smart girl mode. So my goal was to run a half marathon on May 11th in two hours and thirty minutes. A nice specific goal. Measurable, yes. Thirteen point one miles, two hours. Thirty minutes. Action oriented. Yes, there would be lots of training runs needed. Realistic. Yes. Well, you're going to hear in just a moment that perhaps not.


But when I signed up for it, yes, it was a realistic goal. Time bound. Yes. I had to be ready for this race on May 11th. So it was a very smart goal. And we had some snow this winter and we had some icy roads and it wasn't really conducive for running outside, which is what I prefer. I don't have a gym membership, so my options were only to train outside. When the roads were slippery, I was still out walking every day.


I was walking three and four and five miles a day. So even though I wasn't running at a fast pace because the roads were not safe for me to do that, they were a little bit too slippery. Even my walking pace was severely impacted by the sidewalk conditions. But I was out there moving. I was building a baseline for conditioning. And then in March, I pulled a muscle in my left leg. I'm not quite sure what I did.


I think that I overstretched when I was doing yoga, but my leg really hurt. It was difficult to walk. And so I cut back on my walking tremendously for about. A week or so, I didn't walk at all, then I started walking about a mile and it was taking me a long time. Typically my male walks are 16 and a half to 17 and a half minute miles. When I was walking just a single mile, it was taking me 19 and 20 minutes to walk.


It was uncomfortable. It was painful. But I knew I had this half marathon coming up and if I wanted any chance of running it, I needed to train. Fast forward to March 16th IRL, and I had also signed up for a five K run, which is three point one miles. It was a thirsty leprechaun, five K. It was going to be a fun day celebrating St. Patrick's Day and I wasn't ready. Walking was still painful and uncomfortable.


I was fine for the first mile and a half to two miles. But shortly after that, that's when I started to feel the tightness, feel the discomfort. But on the day of the five K, part of me wanted to just stay home. But then the other part of me wanted to go and be there with Earl and I wasn't sure if I could walk the whole thing. I knew there were some cut off points so that I could cut it short if I needed to.


So we got there that morning of the race and it was beautiful. The sky was blue, the temperatures were warm. And I just thought, oh, I want to try. I want to try running. We're standing in the starting line. And I looked to Earl and I said, I'm going to try to run it. And he said, Are you sure? And I said, Yes, but don't wait for me. You know, you go run your race, you do what you want to do and I'm going to see what I can do.


So the race started and I just kind of started off very slowly and I was feeling OK. And so I just kept running. And in my mind, I kept saying, if you need to drop to a walk, that's OK. Listen to your body. Trust what your body is telling you. And I continued on and I reached the one mile mark and I said, hey, you know, if you're starting to hurt, it's OK to drop to a walk.


But I wasn't starting to hurt. I was feeling good. I was even able to pass a few runners and I managed to run the entire three point one miles. And I was so proud of myself and I knew that I might pay for it. I knew that I might have overdone it, but I trusted my body. Well, I didn't feel any discomfort afterwards. My leg was still a little bit sore when I was walking in as I was moving around, but I didn't feel like I had reinjured or aggravated the injury.


Perhaps I had delayed recovery a day or two or three or four, but it felt good to run and it gave me hope for this half marathon. I waited another week and a half after that five K to start walking again, and I started walking, you know, two and a half miles a mile and a half, just trusting and listening to my body. On April 11th, I decided I was ready to see if I could run a little bit.


So I ran and I walked for three and a half miles. I felt good. And so the next day I ran and I walked for four miles. And that was the start of my official training for this half marathon. I had one month to build up to running thirteen point one miles. But as I was doing that and thinking that this was possible, I had to take a look at my goal. So my original smart goal was to run a half marathon on May 11th in two hours and 30 minutes.


When I put the feminine spin on it, I changed my goal to participate in a half marathon on May 11th, changing the running to participating took off some of the pressure of the mode of completing this race. And I didn't even put a completion time. My goal became to participate in the half marathon on May 11th. I didn't put the pressure of having to complete the half marathon in order to complete the goal. So let's take a look at this new goal.


Participate in half marathon on May 11th from a feminine approach to smart goals. Was it simple? Yes, it was. To participate in a half marathon on a specific date. Was it meaningful or will it be memorable? Yes, it was Earl's first half marathon race. It was something we wanted to do together. And it was also memorable because it was his first race. And it was also memorable for me because of what it would take for me to be ready for it to make the commitment to participate in it.


Was it acceptable? Yes. I knew what I wanted to do and what I would do to prepare. And I also accepted that I might not be able to run the entire race. I accepted that I might not even be able to finish the race. My success would be in participating. Now, if you're like me, you get a little bit annoyed with the overuse of participation medals for people that just show up. However, in this case, it would have been very easy for me to stay home.


It would have been very easy for me to decide a month in advance to stand on the sideline and cheer on Earl. However, I decided to show up. I didn't have to. No one was telling me I had to. In fact, most people would not expect me to participate in this half marathon, given that I had injured myself such a short time before and I had only had four weeks to prepare. I tell people now that this whole goal was either a hero's journey or a fool's journey, because if I was successful, I could be the hero.


And if I reinjured myself or didn't make it, well, that just might make me the fool. And I freely accepted either outcome. These are in smart is resonate, did this goal to participate in a half marathon on May 11th, did this goal resonate with my spirit? Yes, it really did. It was something I felt compelled to do. I felt compelled to continue the training for it, even though I had real doubts. I questioned my own sanity every time I went out running.


I didn't know if I would be able to finish the race. I didn't know if I would hurt myself more. I didn't know what people would think of me for even trying it. And I know I say don't get caught up in what other people think, but it's a reality. It happens to most of us and we have to work through it. But in my heart, I knew I wanted to participate in this race. I felt drawn to it.


It's like I agreed to it, I want to see what I can do. I want to see what stuff are made of, because you can be sure that part of me just wanted to call it quits. From the moment that I had injured myself, I pretty much told Earl any time he talked about it, you know, that I probably won't be participating. Right. And he would kind of be a poopy. I think he knows sometimes the stronger stuff that I'm made of than I do.


And the final aspect of a smart goal from the feminine approach, is it timeless? Yes. I had six hours to walk or run the thirteen point one miles, and if I couldn't complete the race, the time itself didn't matter. There were eight stations along the course. There were other runners that could get assistance for me and I could get a ride back to the finish line if I needed to. In another way that this goal is timeless is that it was about doing something with Earl.


Ultimately, it was doing something with Earl. And that is something I will have so many opportunities to do in the future. And whether we do another half marathon together, five KS together, 10 KS, ten mile races hiking, that aspect of it. Part of what made this such a special goal to me memorable and meaningful is that it was doing something athletic and fun and challenging with Earl. So once I redefined this goal and put it into a more feminine approach, allowing myself to rely on my feminine energy to support and help me accomplish it, that's exactly what I needed.


The nature of feminine energy is when you listen to your intuition for me in this goal, this was listening to my body, feeling how I felt, using my senses for me in this preparing for this half marathon. It was in how I was thinking, being creative and playing with my thoughts and my feelings to allow me to continue forward without holding back and resisting. It was about taking care of myself and experiencing the experience of running when I was worried about the discomfort in the pain, pushing through it for a short period of time on occasion to see if it was a mental thing, if I was thinking that I was hurt and allowing myself to process whether or not my body was actually feeling discomfort in pain or if I was just anticipating it and allowing it to happen.


So that can be really tricky to differentiate. So what I do, what I have always done is I've been running is I'll give myself a milestone in the distance, just a short distance to say, OK, if I'm still feeling this way at that point, I will drop to a walk. And frequently by the time I reach that point, I've worked out whatever it is, I'm allowing my body to process what my mind is thinking and to say, no, that's not really how you feel.


Feminine energy is all about being being in the moment. And as I was out running and just enjoying the process, the fresh air, the movement of my body, it didn't matter that I was training for a half marathon. It didn't matter about this goal that was off in the future. All that mattered was that in that moment I was out and I was running and it felt amazing. Those wonderfully feminine aspects of setting this goal in training for this half marathon, I think is what allowed me to successfully participate in that half marathon.


And in case you're wondering, I did complete the half marathon race that day. My finish time was two hours, forty three minutes and forty three seconds. What amazed me is how close that really was to my original goal of finishing it in two hours and 30 minutes. I was running just about one minute per mile slower. And one thing that needs to be taken into consideration is that at around the ten mile mark, I stopped to use the porta potty.


There was a line and I had to wait my turn. So that's probably about five minutes. So I was probably only eight to ten minutes off of my target race time, which I really think is pretty flipping cool. I am so proud of myself, but as I said earlier, this so could have been just a fool's folly of people saying and me saying, what an idiot for even trying this. I think my success is because I took that feminine approach.


I took care of myself. I paid attention to how I was feeling. I listen to my body. I just experienced the joy and the pleasure of running in the moment, in contrast, if I had focused on that masculine type goal to run this half marathon in two hours and 30 minutes, a couple of things could have happened. First of all, the masculine energy is very logical according to masculine energy. I wouldn't have even tried. I would have looked at the recommended training plans for a half marathon, would have seen that they recommend a minimum of eight to 12 weeks.


I don't know what that number is, but it's certainly not four weeks. I would have looked at all of the research and I would have said, no, it just doesn't make logical sense to try. You're pretty much guaranteed to have an overused injury if you try this. So don't even try. Another masculine trait is taking decisive action. So I either would have decided, no, I'm not doing it, and then just lounged around on the couch for who knows how long or I would have taken decisive action to say I'm not going to let my body hold me back, I'm going to do this.


And I would have pushed myself and I would have pushed myself and possibly injured myself because I wasn't listening to what my body was saying. I would have been so focused on achieving this goal of running this half marathon in two hours and 30 minutes. And I would have just kept pushing myself and pushing myself. I would have tried to control the outcome by bursting through my mind blocks in my mental energy and saying, you've got to do this, you've got to do this, stick with it.


But instead, I backed off and I took the feminine approach and I said, hey, it's OK. Whatever happens, enjoy the journey, participate in this event. If it feels right at the moment, do what you can to get ready for it, accept whatever happens. Just enjoy the memory and the moment that you're building with IRL. Keep it simple, Donna. Keep it simple, because if it doesn't happen on May 11th, that doesn't mean it will never happen.


Smart goals, the feminine approach. Keep it simple. Be sure it's meaningful or memorable. Make sure that it's acceptable to you. Make sure that it resonates with your spirit and allow it to be timeless. If it doesn't happen today or tomorrow or this year, that doesn't mean it will never happen. It just may not have happened yet. And that's OK. The best goals you set are ones that are going to allow you to blend the masculine and the feminine energy as you are achieving them.


Your goals can be specific. They can also be simple. You can measure them, but they can also have meaning and be memorable, they can be action oriented and you can choose whether those actions are acceptable for you to take. They can be realistic and they can resonate with your spirit, too. They can be both time bound and timeless, which allows for extensions on the time and for you to acknowledge that, well, it didn't happen exactly the way I wanted it now, but that doesn't mean that it won't at a later date, however, you approach your goals in life.


I do hope you have goals. Goals are what make things fun and exciting, keep you interested and active in your own life if one of your goals is to become a bit more physically active. I invite you to join the Walk with Me program. In fact, today's episode is sponsored by Walk with Me. This is my walking based personal development program. While you walk, I share what I've learned from and about life and how I've changed myself and thus changed my life.


And no, I didn't do it on my own. I've read a gazillion and a half self development books and I continue to read them. I'm not sure if that makes me a slow learner or a just a fascinated student, whichever it is. I love sharing what I've learned. So if your life is good, but you have this niggling sense that it could be better and you're not currently as physically active as you'd like to be, I'm here to tell you the possibilities and the opportunities lie within you.


All you need to do are put on your walking shoes, head out the door and take a walk. And if you'd like to join me, I would love to be there with you whispering in your ear some of the things that I've learned. This means that you don't have to read a gazillion books. Hey there, it's Donna. If you're listening to this outro, it means I have good news and bad news for you. The bad news is that I'm no longer recording new episodes of this podcast.


The good news is that all 165 episodes will remain available to you. While creating this podcast has been an amazing adventure, I feel like the lessons have been learned and my quest has been completed. In my heart, it's telling me it's time to move on to something new, something different, and maybe something that's even more challenging. So now, while my heart tells me to get ready for my next adventure, I'm resisting it. I don't feel ready.


So what I'm going to do is take some time to organize all of the self development materials I've created over the past several decades. I'm going to put them into an online library of sorts. And who knows, maybe the answers I'm looking for will be found in the content that I created decades ago. Imagine that messages that impacted my life's journey way back then. They might impact my life's journey once again. And at the very least, I will have cleaned out and organized my computer files and created this online library that will allow people access to most of my self development materials.


If you want to learn more about this library or just find out what I'm up to now, drop by my Web site. Donna Doyon, dot com or visit. And remember. Enjoying every adventure that's the secret to living happily ever after. The music for this podcast is Drifting Upstream by Hyson.

Show Notes:

I mentioned last week's episode, Ep125: Are Your SMART Goals DUMB?

I also mentioned Audrey Action and her podcast Women are the Journey.

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The music for this podcast is Drifting Upstream by Hyson. The music was slightly remixed and fit to needed duration.

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