I was at an all-day goal setting workshop in the suburbs.
Goal setting, meaning actually writing down on paper that what I want to do with a completion date, has been one of those activities that works for me. I hardly ever do it, however. When I get home at night I have to finish getting current on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (what’s the gang doing this week?!). Plus, if I don’t stuff myself full of pizza how am I ever to pass out by eight o’clock?
I convinced my boss to pay for the event which is an awesome thing for him to do as it wasn’t cheap.
While I sat there and wrote out some professional goals and figured what I wanted to accomplish in 2013 and beyond, I struggled with a thought. If this was a Sex in the City episode this is the part where Carrie would be at her office desk smoking a Pall Mall and pounding away on a Macintosh.
How much should I be going after stuff I want with conscious force and how much should I be letting go of stuff I want and surrendering to the river of life?
Let me attempt to answer that right now. First, I don’t know anyone that is truly happy and successful that doesn’t bust their ass. Whether they’re a great parent, a leader in their industry, a repectable badminton spiker, or one of those suckers who volunteers each weekend at the mens’ shelter, it seems that hard work is mandatory. And I’m all for that. Feels good to pound one out.
Wow – that didn’t sound right at all.
I also know, however, that everything I do will not “fix” me. To write a book of all new content is 2013 is one of my goals for this website. So is a podcast and a merch section. These are all things that I’ll have to bust my ass to do. But I know that at the end, once they’re finished that I won’t be jumping up and down celebrating for long. It will feel mildly good and then I’ll be moving on.
Let’s look at this year. I wrote every day. 95% of the time I didn’t want to. I had nothing to write about. But I forced myself, and as such didn’t miss. It’s hard work. But here’s the distinction and answer to my question earlier – If I had surrendered to not forcing myself to write, I would have written about twenty times this year. I just don’t generally have great creative ideas. But… I think this was okay for two reasons.
- I knew that if I wrote every day, I’d have around 500 hours of writing experience done by year’s end and I’d be a better writer.
- On Jan 1, 2013 I was certain I wouldn’t jump up and down congratulating myself on what an awesome dude I am for writing every day the past year.
Since I was clear on my intention (to get better at writing) and that was in alignment with my vision (to eventually support myself through this blog), I felt good about busting my ass (not surrendering to the river of life).
Now, where I do need to let go and ride the raft atop God’s tears (just made that shit up!) is with respect to relationships with myself.
For example, I have a goal of getting thinner. But that really isn’t my problem. Yes, I eat a little too much. Cutting the extra calories and working out is the solution. However, the reality is, when I try to force myself to do those things, it only lasts a little while. I find myself doing the pizza pass-out within a month. Just did it tonight, in fact.
And it was awesome.
My goal, since I’m not morbidly obese or facing a “cut calories or die” situation is to learn how to actually trust my body’s messages to tell me what I need or don’t need. I do not trust my body’s instincts for food and exercise. If I let go of trying to control it with conscious behavior and tune into the frequency of that internal language, I am clear I would be thin and full of energy. But I haven’t yet. So, that’s one of my goals for 2013. Start paying attention to what my body feels around diet and exercise. See what happens.
I love the idea of having goals you have to bust your ass for and goals you have to surrender your will to, just to see which one comes out ahead. I’ll keep you posted.