My 2nd grader had “Sports Day” at school. In a bizarre exciting twist, it turned out to be 98 degrees for the outdoor event — or at least that’s what the weather people said it hit and it felt like they were right — when it had been a high of 60 the day before. These were intense conditions for Sports Day, but the kids had a lot of fun and the organizer had the good sense to pass out freezies to cool off the children at various times. She won extra points for that, in my opinion.

Sunscreen is supposed to go on ALL exposed parts

Sunscreen is supposed to go on ALL exposed parts

I helped pass out stickers at the Sit-up station, and I feel I did a very fine job. Here’s further evidence of my dedication: ——>>>

Yes, I know. I am a wonderful model of motherly sacrifice. Sorry, no autographs at this time.

I was also the crowd cheerleader, and inspired the children to come up with cheers of their own, maybe because they thought my cheers were too basic. They cheered for individual children’s names, fish, “feel the burn” and various colors. They were very creative. It’s probably because of the great example I set. I’m a very enthusiastic cheer-er.

An interesting phenomena occurred a couple times through the course of the day. Certain kids figured out that yellow was the color for the highest performance. Categories were orange, blue and yellow. People who went the farthest, dribbled the ball enough times, or completed the most earned a yellow sticker. Once they figured this out, kids would ask us how many sit-ups they had to do to earn a yellow sticker. Surprisingly, many of the children who asked this question went on to attain the elusive yellow badge of honor.

This started me thinking about goals. Is it beneficial to know the outcome you’re striving for before you begin so that you can push yourself to a certain level? If we know the cut-off for a certain goal, will we naturally aim only for that goal and no higher? Can I be content with a blue or orange sticker?

This year I decided to enter some writing contests. It wasn’t a written out and posted sort of goal, something stuck on my bathroom mirror to remind myself, but I wanted to get my writing out there for feedback.

Be careful what you wish for.

I have heard back from two of the four contests I entered and it was not with letters of congratulations. I didn’t even make it to the next round.

BScorecardut technically, I met my goal. I entered. The goal wasn’t to win (good thing!), although that would be a lovely outcome.

Would it have served me to have a goal of winning a contest, of getting a yellow sticker? I don’t think so. I think I would feel my accomplishment of entering, which was a big step for me, would have been diminished.  I’ve got room to improve, but I showed up, had fun and did my best.

I’m happy with my blue sticker for now, thank you very much.

What goals are you working toward right now? How will you know when you’ve met your goal, and how will you reward yourself?