Dog Ownership and Goals Management

I have always found that in order complete a desired goal or take care of business, there are behaviors which need to be trained and ingrained. These are necessary and exclusive to the related tasks. Why? Because achievements big and small take persistence, commitment and a sense of ownership of the daily efforts. A person’s desire can only do so much. A goal-setting behavior that is repeatedly trained in, can serve as a buffer against emotional and environmental pressures.

For example, Johnny wants to write his novel. The countless hours of blogging and literature assignments in school have helped train his brain to take on the project. He is on course to complete ten pages a day for the original draft. He announces his grand intention. His friends and family don’t get it. They scrunch up their faces and question his need to work this hard. Ronnie, his older brother is constantly telling him “Dude, you aren’t smart enough to write a novel.” Ouch. But what does this have to do with getting the draft finished? Nothing. A blank page is not the same as a page full of words, regardless of what is being said or done by others.

No one likes to have their efforts to be stepped on or discounted. But Ronnie’s comments are a result of his own perspective. His nasty and misguided words contribute to temporary atmosphere of doubt and discouragement. And Johnny wants more than anything to have Ronnie’s blessing. For the time being, it’s just not there. But getting the ten pages completed has nothing to do with either Johnny’s or Ronnie’s feelings. Writing is a behavior which involves the movement of fingers on a keyboard and a degree of focus. And it is something that makes more sense to him. The outcome is clear.

The more a keyboard is used, the more words are formed in a sequence. The formation of words make sentences. Sentences are strung together to make paragraphs. Through constant effort, the paragraphs fill the pages. Pages can only be made through the behavior of typing. Trained behavior helps Johnny move on with the physical action that is necessary to the goal. His mind and body are geared to write and complete the action. After ten pages, he can mark it off of his list for the day.

It is the same with dog ownership. Dogs depend on their humans to feed them. It is not reasonable to expect a dog to open the bag and pour the correct portion of food into their bowl. Neither can any dog use a can opener for wet food. The person who is responsible for the dog has to completely execute the process of feeding. It does not matter what feelings or thoughts are present. Dogs can only be fed (in a healthy manner) when the human in charge takes the time and effort to get it done. It sure beats living with the natural consequences that come from not feeding him!

The behavior that is required to ensure a dog’s welfare is separate from the disagreements with family members and friends. Feelings of self doubt are not going to take Fido for a walk. A dog staying inside is not the same thing as a dog being outside. The leash has to be put on and one foot has to be put in front of the other until the deed is complete. For quite a few of us, the action of walking a dog turns out to be much more satisfactory than standing still with the negative stuff. So adopt a dog and let that furry friendship train you in how to get the job done:)

Do you want to know more about how your motivation is challenged? Please check out my book at


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