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Roping in our Goals


I’m a big fan of living where my feet are, of enjoying the NOW. But I’m learning to appreciate the glistening and gripping of long-term goals.

Recently, one of the churches I visit (online) played a video during its Sunday service. In the YouTube video, preacher Francis Chan began his sermon by holding a long, white rope. He was illustrating our existence on earth. Chan pointed to the first two inches on the rope. The preacher attested that many people focus their attention on just a small part of their existence, on a few inches of rope.

Chan observed that many live for instant gratification, short term rewards, and getting the most for themselves. He lamented that many don’t focus on the longer road, the finish line and the glory that might await them. He asked, "Are you going to sacrifice infinity for the here and now?" My interpretation: Is what you’re doing now going to get you to where you want to be in the end?

As I drove through town that afternoon, my mind swiveled a little. Reflectng on the white rope, I discerned that we could apply that metaphor to other areas of our lives. For example, we could apply the rope to money, health, romance or goodwill.

For example, If your goal is to save money for a large, thoughtful investment like a house, a business or a retirement nest, why spend money on inconsequential items or activities? Pruning impuslive spending could steady your long-term goal.

If your goal is to live a long, healthy life, why allow toxic food or chemicals into your body? Maybe you can trim away some unhealthy urges. I definitely struggle with sweets. Activities that protect and enhance bones, muscles and heart rate can also play an important role.

If your goal is to find a long-term, serious relationship, why settle for fluke connections or unreliable partners? If you know how a brief romantic story is going to end, why not skip that story and write your own script?

If you want to live a life of kindness, goodwill and circulating positivity, why waste your time arguing, gossiping and lowering others? You can protect your boundaries and speak up when others offend your sensibilities; but you can also be more pensive about your battles. Invest in your karma!

Goals matter. They ignite our walk. The rope story is a reminder to stay on a steady path toward our goals. But let's also attach an important reminder: routinely clutch joy.

We are human and are often swayed by novelty, distractions, temptation and even our ego. But we can learn to navigate the detours.

"In achieving your goals, you may run into roadblocks. Don't let that stop you, go around, over, or under. If you are committed to your goal you will find a way." - Catherine Pulsifer

Roadblocks to goals can vary. If we're saving money, unexpected expenses like car problems, home repairs or medical bills can hinder us. But sometimes the roadblocks are within us. In my case, I admit that my impulsive nature often sets me back. This impulsivity leaves me vulnerable to overspending or to surrendering to unhealthy food cravings.

I revisited an article in Psychology Today. The writer, Robert Talbbl L.C.S.W., tells us that

generally, there are a few underlying drivers to impulsive behavior. The common ones are: you're entitled; you have underlying anger or depression; your relationships are out of balance; you are emotionally driven; or you have untreated/undiagnosed ADHD.

In my case, I surmise that I'm emotionally driven, which means I tend to do what I do based on how I feel. Talbbl points out that while this could make my life less rigid and more spontaneous, I run the risk of making bad decisions on a bad day. Yikes!

The article lists four tips on how to break the pattern that drives our impulsive nature.

1) Realize that impusliveness is the problem.

2) Take baby steps towards building up your willpower; practice restraint.

3) Tackle the underlying problem. And if you do have untreated ADHD, depression, or anger, get help with the problem (seek counseling). If you are in an unbalanced relationship, work on changing those patterns.

4. Get support. Becoming less impulsive is about rewiring your brain, making behavioral changes, learning skills. Simply continuing to scold yourself for messing up is not the answer. Instead, get support, get coaching, and find someone who can help you put on the brakes yourself.

The journey to our goals will definitely spawn many tentacles.

Ever since the rope story pierced my mind, I can't help but picture myself attempting to lasso in my goals. I visualize these goals as large bulls or galloping horses, constantly moving. In a rodeo, to earn a qualified score, the cowboy, while using only one hand, must stay aboard a bucking horse or bull for a specified time. Let's stay on (or goals) for as long as possible!

I leave you with a silly, anonymous quote:

"To stop the bull from charging, seize his credit card."


Robert Talbbl L.C.S.W., Dec. 2019, Are you Impulsive?, Psychology Today

Francis Chan, Rope Illustration, June 2020

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Another beautiful piece. Love the rope analogy - I sometimes feel like I’m playing tug-of-war with my impulsivity, much of which stems from FOMO (fear of missing out). Thanks for your helpful tips, I’ll make a greater effort to quell this FOMO and instead healthily clutch joy. And there is a lot of joy to clutch this time of year. Happy Holidays Ms. Ordaz 😊

P.S. bulls are synonymous with wealth – they are the symbol of Wall St. One of my best friends bought me a miniature bull sculpture for my birthday and I keep it on my desk. Life really is a rodeo.

Rosa Valle-Lopez
Rosa Valle-Lopez
Dec 13, 2021
Replying to

I love your comment! Yes, life is indeed a rodeo. Thanks for reading and for sharing the bull story.


I am so guilty of those! Those thoughtful spontaneous gifts or fancy dinners that drain my wallet and my weight loss journey lol! Thank you for this thoughtful reminder. I’ll grab onto my rope knowing there’s a lot to go.

Rosa Valle-Lopez
Rosa Valle-Lopez
Dec 10, 2021
Replying to

I am glad my words resonated. This is a reminder for all of us, especially during the holiday/spending season. 😌

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