Setting an A, B, and C Goal

As I enter the homestretch of my first pregnancy, I’m drawing more and more from my running background. Although I haven’t run since our embryo transfer 8 months ago, I’m still a runner and the lessons I’ve built from over a decade of running keep popping into my head as I prepare for delivery and life afterwards.

Most recently, I was reminded of the importance of having an A, B, and C goal.

Last week we learned that at 36 weeks my baby boy is most certainly breech. A little disappointed as we thought he was for sure head down, I tried a variety of natural strategies; acupuncture, Moxibustion (both during acupuncture and at home), postural techniques like downward dog and forward leaning inversions, and even propping up the end of our bed!

Our last attempt took place at our hospital where we tried an ECV (External Cephalic Version) where my doctor and a nurse pressed with their hands (and all of their strength) onto my abdomen attempting to physically turn the baby into the correct position. After a few attempts, it was apparent little bud was not going anywhere, his butt lodged in my pelvis.

As I waited for the epidural to wear off while both of us were being monitored, I started thinking through what we discussed with the doctor about our next steps and how it changed my vision of what his birth would be. My goal of a vaginal birth was my ideal, we had taken 6 weeks of childbirth classes and although it was still a little scary, I was wrapping my head around it, envisioning what each step would be like.

With my baby stuck in the breech position, a c-section was quickly becoming the reality, and although I was disappointed, I found myself regrouping and thankful that he was healthy and would be here soon. This surprisingly quick change of goals, focusing on the next steps for the situation at hand, is exactly why having A, B, and C goals saves you from feeling like a failure, and puts your focus on the goal you can achieve.

A Goal

Your A Goal is your baseline goal. Think about the minimum you want out of a situation. This isn’t exactly setting the bar low, it’s reminding you why you set out on whatever adventure you’re on. Whenever I step up to a start line, my A goal is always to run across the finish line smiling (or at least able to!).

I’m not a professional runner (clearly), so my A Goal is to always feel good about myself after finishing a race. I race for fun and am adamant about not allowing a race to make me feel bad about myself. As long as I ran a smart race – not going out too fast, listening to my body, taking my training seriously – I defined success as finishing a race feeling good about myself.

With this new information about a C-section, I was brought back to my A Goal of bringing a healthy baby into the world. However he needs to enter it is cool with me, as long as he’s healthy and safe, that’s what really matters to me.

B Goal

Your B Goal is a stretch goal. Think about what your preparation can push you to achieve. This is a realistic goal but one you will have to work for, to push yourself to hit.

With running I usually have a time goal that I think I can hit if I train, but will have to work at. It’s more than just completing the distance, but it may not be a huge PR depending on the race. When we weren’t talking C-section, my B Goal was to labor at home as long as I could and get an epidural as late into active labor as I could manage so I could move around.

C Goal

Your C Goal is if the stars align. Think about the absolute best case scenario. Not something impossible that could never happen, but if your preparations and events of the day all go perfectly, what could the result be.

When making a race day goal, I tend to leave a time goal out of my A Goal, but my B and C Goals have benchmark times. If I get no stitches, the weather and wind are on my side, and I’m feeling awesome, my C Goal could happen. I had barely set a C Goal for Baby K’s birth, but I think it would involve not needing the epidural and for a short time of pushing (which, yes, I realize I don’t have much control over but this is a C Goal!).

Your C Goal should be believable, but understand that it’s relying on everything to go in your favor.

Let’s look at setting all three in a career-based example

Maybe you’ve switched careers or set out as an entrepreneur and have a networking event. Your A Goal could be to enjoy the event, feel comfortable introducing yourself, and leave wanting to do it again. Your B Goal may be to leave with 3 solid contacts to follow up with and a perfected business pitch. Your C Goal might be leaving with a one-on-one with someone in your new field, and/or a call with a potential client.

The idea is to start with a baseline goal that you know is possible but not guaranteed unless you show up. From there, layer on the next possibility if you work hard and it pays off. Add one more possible-but-almost-a-dream layer and you’re all set.

When you feel your C Goal isn’t going to happen – it’s raining with a headwind – regroup and look at your B Goal. If that starts to slip, instead of throwing in the towel or starting your pity party, remind yourself of your A Goal. Pat yourself on the back for starting the race, for showing up to the networking event, etc.

You aren’t always going to hit your big stretch goals, but that doesn’t mean things are awash.

You aren't always going to hit your big stretch goals, but that doesn't mean things are awash. Click To Tweet

Want some help setting A, B, and C Goals? Working with a professional health coach will help you set meaningful and realistic goals, and help you get there by holding you accountable. I would love to talk with you about where you’re struggling and come up with an action plan to finally get the results you want! Click here to see how you can work with me, and here to start the conversation.

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