Inspiring Books

The End of Goal Setting

I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection lately. (Like a lot.) See Exhibit A.

This includes not blogging regularly (#sorryisuck), reading, parenting, sitting, discovering Grey’s Anatomy 10 years after its inception, doing yoga, eating way too much peanut butter, ditching goals and running myself into the ground.

Here’s the truth:

I have two jobs. And I’m tired.

Boo-hoo, right? We all work tirelessly, especially if we are parents (and even if we’re not). But in the spirit of honesty, I’m getting real with myself and my feelings.

I. Am. Tired.

Me = tired.
Me = tired.

And it’s not just because of the work. I love to work. I think it’s because I’m not working from a soulful place. I’m not working with intention. My work doesn’t excite me the way I need to be excited. My work doesn’t keep me up at night, ruminating over the next big idea. My own ideas do. My desires do. But my actual work feels, most of the time, like work.

So how did I get here?

With tonight’s billion dollar Powerball drawing, I saw a post suggesting that if you take that amount of money and divide it by every person, everyone would receive $4 million. Poverty solved. (This is actually incorrect, as everyone would receive only $4.33, but that’s beside the point. Let’s just go with this far-fetched scenario…) Which got me thinking about money no longer being a factor in daily life.

Like ever again.

Let’s just imagine that for a second: You never have to worry about making money. Your days aren’t tied to a bottom line. Boom. You’re free!

So what would you do?

This seems easy at first. I’d travel! I’d buy shit! I’d make it rain dollar bills, y’all! I’d sleep until noon! But if you really start to look at what you’d do and how you’d live your life, you might find that after the initial rush of freedom, you want to settle into work again – a fulfilling kind of work, maybe even in the same field you’re in today. Work that pads your soul, not just your pockets.

What would daily life feel like if you “got” to do something instead of feeling like you “have” to do it?

Ruminate over that concept. Write it down. Ponder. As you do, you might find that fulfillment for you simply means including more daily activities into your life: time with friends, time outside, time with family. Having adventures in your own city. Or, it might be a complete career shift, a relationship change or a cross-country move.

Whatever it is, figure out tangible steps to get there. Remember: It’s not really the goal we’re after. It’s the feeling we get when we accomplish that goal.

So, how do you want to feel?

Contemplate.

Identify.

Engage.

Then live your life by it.

So, back to that exhaustion. Lately, I’m on a mission to clear the daily clutter from my life; the type of clutter that turns my brain into chaos. This means less texting, less social media scrolling, less mindless TV, more movement, more face-to-face conversations, more organization and more alone time.

Remember it’s more than just your job that can drain you. People drain you. Circumstances drain you. Relationships drain you. Complaining drains you. It all has a cumulative effect.

What do you complain about the most?

Once you identify these “soul suckers,” it’s a lot easier to figure out what gives you energy.

Along these lines, I’ve identified some active steps I can take to make my life…better. These aren’t goals. These are immediate actions that will allow me to make space for what it is I really want. They are tools to use in this exploratory process. They are helpers.

Remember:

Identify the clutter.

Clear the clutter.

Feel better.

Check.

Immediate Steps

  • Remove FB from my phone. This one is simple, immediate and effective. Have I already gone to my phone in “down times” to mindlessly click on the button? Sure. Have I now reclaimed an ample amount of time in my day that I don’t waste scrolling through news feeds? Absolutely.
  • Get a record player. We were with friends this weekend in their awesome loft in Cannery Row, listening to New Orleans jazz. I watched my daughter sway her hips as she ate food and scribbled on paper, the record crackling in the background. Thoughts of Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald and Charley Patton began to bubble in my brain. I want a record player on my desk while I write. Stat. Every damn day. Thank you, Amazon for making my dreams possible.
  • Read at night. I always read at night, but now I’m really reading and absorbing and going to sleep with positive feelings for the next day; thinking of all the things I want rather than what I don’t want or “have” to do the next day.
  • Journal often. It’s been a while since I’ve journaled. It has brought me back to myself in ways I didn’t know I missed. Whether it’s a quick haiku or pages-long ranting, it’s something I need in my daily life.

Daily Journal

  •  Stop making goals. I’ve realized that while I’ve accomplished a lot of things, I’m not a great goal setter. The moment I set a goal (usually related to career, health or personal well-being), I break the goal. Like in five minutes. Case in point: The first time I went on a juice cleanse, I made it two hours before stuffing my face with toast, coffee and eggs. It’s my rebellious nature. Because sometimes, in your journey, goals change. You may set a goal and realize, “Wait, this feels awful! I don’t actually want to do this!” And THAT, to me, is what the journey is all about. Discovery – not achievement.
  • Empower women. In my work, I come back to one thing again and again: empowering women. I want my daily work to reflect this pressing passion. Whether it’s with words or some revolutionary idea or business I haven’t yet devised, I will get there with a gaggle of brilliant ladies by my side.

This is big stuff – this life examination. But the beauty is in being present, staying accountable and figuring out how you want to spend this precious, finite life.

I feel I’m getting closer, one wobbly step at a time.

“When the resistance is gone, so are the demons.” – Pema Chödrön