Goals as living objects

We talk a lot about goals in Soldrevet Professional Coaching sessions. I thought I could share with you how I frame goals for myself. This post has three functions, at least.

  1. Share some internal thoughts for people who work with me in Soldrevet Professional Coaching
  2. Walking the walk, talking the talk: making goals open, transparent, and alive
  3. Giving my future self a reference collection of coming blog themes

The note below is what I sent to my own coach, word for word. On the surface, he works with me on training for endurance athletics. I sought him out for my coach because of his commitment to mental health, mental training, and development of me as a whole person. I work on many aspects of life through my physical pursuits.

If you have a request for expansion of any of the themes below into its own story, let me know. I welcome any comments, use the form at the bottom of the post.

A letter to my coach

Hi Shawn.

I find it useful to reassess my goals by writing them down and sharing them. It helps me evaluate and clarify their meaning to me. My note below is designed for me and my future reflections. It might help you see where I am, the direction I’m pointing myself, and how I envision myself as a person who evolves. I am not asking for any changes from you or in my schedule. I see my words here as a snapshot as how I’m moving in time, not a final description of me that is etched in stone. I do not know if my writing here will make 100% sense. I have been constructing these ideas in my head over my last couple of weeks of adventuring, and I feel ready to put them to written words.

I find it easy to see the influence of your thinking style on my own growing confidence. Thank you.



I remember writing my responses to your initial contact form in late 2019. Writing to you was my first time verbalizing that I wanted to work on non-numerical goal setting and evaluation. I was reacting to how I saw corporate culture and “Strava culture” (let’s pretend that’s a term) diminishing the humanity of individuals. Someday I may be interested in challenging myself to measure myself with numbers. But, these days, I am building a foundation without numerical measurement. I structure my Goals below in a why-what-how format, with the recognition that my goal framing necessarily blurs divisions among those terms. I want to get something on a page, not make a perfect structure.

Why I approach endurance activities the way I do

  1. I enjoy being a person who is strong and is interested in growing stronger. “Strong” is broader than muscle strength. I see strength as being adept at finding balance along several themes: mind-heart, ambition-caution, selfishness-compassion, exertion-recovery, etc.
  2. Daily outdoor adventures help me feel aware, present, and in place.
  3. Endurance pursuit is a microcosm of the rest of life. It allows me to inspect my mind from a shifted-yet-adjustable perspective. It helps me shake out assumptions by looking for weaknesses and strengths in my foundations, by testing personal philosophies because I choose to put myself beyond ease, and by giving me time to experience slowly evolving growth.

What my approach is to the whys of my endurance activities

  1. I’m building methods to evaluate internally when I am strong and growing stronger. I’m developing tricks to remove numerical measures of my activities. Part of this exercise includes learning to externalize numbers when they do arise. Non-numerical evaluations within each event include a sense of fluidity in motion, loss of sense of time, ease of finding self-celebration, comfort, and confidence in setting my effort levels, tranquility during recovery hours, joy of crawling into bed, eagerness to hop out of bed in the morning, etc. To capture a balance among these is a part of being strong. To acknowledge them (or sense for them) regularly is a method to become stronger. To re-evaluate my balance among them is being stronger.
  2. I’m using Shawn’s prescriptions and guidance as structure for fostering my safe growth. I am learning to be content that progress need not be measured with a number.
  3. I receive my frustration days. I notice frustrations as motivators for modified approaches to next time. I share my instances of frustration along with my lesson(s) learned and/or modified approach(es), otherwise I am just complaining.
  4. I give myself permission to allow “grander” endurance adventures to override my daily motion, with some sort of inverse relationship between grandness and frequency (more grand = less frequent). “Grand” is my soft word that encompasses length, preparation need, recovery time, and so forth.
  5. I approach activities with deliberate emptiness when desired, or with deliberate intention otherwise.
  6. I practice chasing fun, self-celebration, and adeptly responding to what the day brings.

How can I think and plan to execute my whats to move within the philosophy of my whys (specifics)

Letter codeDescription
CI am content with current practice method and frequency
FI want to practice this trick/tip more frequently
II want to inspect/readdress my current practice
NI want to assess this new tip/trick that I haven’t used yet
1Build daily adventures around a region of exploration with undefined geographical finish line.
FUse open-loop mentality and hike home when sensible
CChoose a direction or region to explore for the day
CAvoid running a premeditated route
Irandom turns at trail junctions
Ibe ready to come home “late”
Fpractice turning around before “the end” or the mountaintop or whatever
 Difficulties/challenges to use above tricks/tips:
 Interval days, big work weeks, external work arrangements
2Intentionally remove numerical measures from my view, especially when an event is still fresh
Iwatch is always set on “map” view
Fwrite Final Surge* notes offline because it’s hard to not look at even the summary numbers
Favoiding sums/totals
Csuch as not setting goals on Strava
Nturning off weekly summary column on Final Surge*
 Difficulties/challenges to use above tricks/tips:
 counting repetitions and duration of intervals
3Pay attention to frustration-inducing events and minimize their influence over me
Finterval days: schedule interval sessions to evenings because my internal criticisms tend to be low
Finterval days: partially construct a route based on footing
I/Finterval days: count bout number and timing rather than use my watch
Finterval days: become more comfortable knowing I am not measured as person by my running
I/Fpositive self-talk as soon as I notice situation or mental turn
Cuse RISE** (my RISE is RISE-C; C for celebrate myself for RISEing)
Ckeep fuelled (before run)
Feep fuelled (during run)
Fbe willing to pause and then make active effort to step outside of my head
Iwalk to start of run for 30 minutes to clear my head
Fuse humor or science podcasts to turn off internal reflection
Fvisualize a frustration-inducing event
Nassess why that caused frustration
Cvisualize getting out of it
Ncritique why it caused frustration in the first place => externalize
4Intentionally receive another person’s framework, guidance, redirection
Cuse this as a reminder to find contentedness while moving content while moving
Nreturn to this idea during and after frustration events
Ncome back here if external events on the day get me out of sorts
* Final Surge is the web service I use for communicating with my coach; **RISE is a mental approach to thriving within a challenge

Published by Soldrevet

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