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This is Goal Setting.

Updated: Aug 12, 2023

With the excitement of Le Tour de France a few weeks ago, I decided to ditch my attempt at Carl Jung's The Undiscovered Self in favor of Julia Child's My Life in France . This led, bien sur, to my watching Nora Ephron's 2005 hit Julie & Julia -- remarkably, for the first time ever.

I LOVED it! If you haven't seen it, it's absolutely delightful. In the movie, Julie Powell, played by Amy Adams, totally inspired me.

First of all, she has a goal in mind: to write a book. Yes, I am an aspiring author myself, but that's not what inspired me. The inspiration was her approach to attaining her goal.

Writing a book is about as ambitious and difficult as losing 150 lbs. Not impossible, but so far-reaching, so far away, it seems anything but possible. How in the world do you create an approach to this kind of goal?

Previously, Julie Powell tried to write a novel. She spent 8 years of her life working towards this goal and never finished it. But this time, it would be different. Why? Because she nailed the right approach.

As she considers the right path to writing her book (while cooking, bien sur), she realizes she could start with a blog. But a blog of what? Her husband insightfully answers for her: "You love cooking -- write a blog about cooking." Her eyes glisten. She smiles, "I could cook my way through Julia Child's cookbook -- I could blog about that!" And, voila!

That's insight #1: She finds something she loves to do.

But Julie knows herself well. She tells her husband, "I'll need a deadline -- because otherwise, it'll be like everything else I do. Let's face it, I never finish anything, so a deadline would be good." Her husband pitches a year -- a year to cook all 524 recipes. "That's crazy!" she exclaims. But then, she does the math in her head...suddenly, it's possible. Not easy, but possible.

That's insight #2: She set a deadline.

As she insightfully explains to her mother -- who, by the way, thinks she's crazy -- "It's a regimen, mom, like doing sit-ups. It gives you something you have to do, one day at a time." Voila. Brilliant.

Insight #3: Set tiny, achievable, daily goals -- one little thing you can do every day to bring you one inch closer to your goal.

This is when I started thinking...the blog created a very unique situation for her. Would Julie Powell have completed her ambitious goal if she hadn't been posting about it for all the world to see?

In the movie, just when Julie seems ready to relinquish the fight and give up on the blog because no one seems to be reading, her husband calls her at work: "You are the third most popular blog on!" Julie's spirit is renewed and she gains a burst of motivation.

Insight #4: Create an outside source of accountability.

Does this mean we need to post on social media about our goals? No, bien sur que non. But there is great value in creating accountability from an outside source, particularly with others. When others are watching, we step up our game. On days when we're feeling unmotivated, others can bring us up. It can be as simple as finding a friend who has the same goal and accomplishing it together.

This brings me to my 43rd birthday and Julie's inspiration for another Birdwell Birthday Challenge!

Starting on August 31, I'm going to complete 10 minutes of core exercises every day for an entire year. 365 days. Why the core? Because a strong core is the secret sauce. Read more here.

Julie Powell, you are my inspiration. If you can spend 3 hours a day cooking for 365 days, I can certainly complete 10 minutes of core exercises. But I'm going to need some friends to help hold me accountable! Who's with me?

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