The Problem With Goals Is They’re So Dang Pretty

I have a goal for World’s Toughest Mudder. It’s a goal that I initially kept quite about and didn’t share except with a select few people.

But it was eventually shared for me more publicly.

And now it has me afraid.


I believe that when you have a goal and you don’t share it, it’s a way to protect it and not have to worry about disappointing people. Really, not sharing it is a way of protecting yourself as well.

But the minute that the goal is known by others, there’s a pressure put on you. And not necessarily a pressure from the people around you, the people who know your goal, but a pressure you put on yourself.

I know that doing WTM is impressive in itself; this is an event that many people wouldn’t even dare to do. I also know that the people in my life are proud of me, even if all I do is step up to the start line. There’s no one in my life, at least no one I can think of, who will be disappointed in me if I don’t reach my goal.

No one except me

The goal I quietly set for my first WTM is 50 miles. And it’s an achievable goal, in theory. Especially when it’s broken down by time and statistics.  It looks achievable when all that is seen is the black and white numbers on paper.

But at the same time, maybe it’s not actually achievable for me. And that is a hard pill to swallow.

I know that people on course, in the spirit of the Tough Mudder community, will be there to help one another along the way. I know that there are very few people who will look me in the eyes and say ‘You can’t achieve 50 miles.’  I know that I will have people who push me EVERY MILE of EVERY LAP.

But I also know that there are athletes that I look up to, men and women who I KNOW are in better shape than me, who have struggled to hit 50 miles in the past.  I know that there are people who go into the event seemingly far more ready and fit who dislocate their shoulder or break an ankle and see their goals pulled from their grasp.

I wanted to have a high reach goal to ensure that I would REALLY push myself. But now I’m just mostly afraid of that goal.

And a little ashamed.

I read a post somewhere that, in summary, stated that 25 miles isn’t a goal because it’s doing about one mile per hour. And if 25 miles isn’t a goal, should my ‘achievable’ (based on the idea that you can double your mileage at a Regional Toughest at World’s) mileage of 30 miles be a goal?

I want to have a goal that will require more from me than what I know I can do. A goal that will require my honest best and not just my settled best, to quote a pretty awesome speaker. But also don’t want to set myself up to be disappointed in myself.

Realistic goals are tough because you have to sit down and be completely honest with yourself about your abilities. And being honest with yourself is hard.

Truth: I will likely not reach 50 miles at WTM.

Another truth: I’m going to try my best to get as close as I can.

It’s less than six weeks until I’m a part of a start line for the World’s Toughest Mudder where I will prove to myself what I’m capable of.



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