Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Happy New Year!!

I gotcha, Sucka!  Now keep reading!  ;-)

Ok, so it is not the start of the new year, but we have 174 days to go.  That is less than half of the year left.  (My how time flies!!)

So many people still do New Year's resolutions or goals for the year, and if you are one of those people, then there's no time like the present to evaluate where you are relative to where you would like to be.  

I know what you're thinking: "It's the middle of summer, Fool.  Ain't nobody got time for resolutions!  I have to get to the beach!!"  I hear you, but the year isn't over, my friend.  You still have plenty of time to achieve your goals or even change them.  

First, get out your list of goals* and check off your accomplishments.  
  1. Start a business - check
  2. Relaunch - check 
  3. Stop eating chicken - (Nope! I forgot that goal.  I've had chicken every day this week.  O_O)
  4. Practice yoga 2 times per week - (Haven't even started this.)
I don't know about you, but in the past, goals that I did not accomplish were added to my list the following year.  I've since come to the realization that that is a NO - NO!  We are growing and evolving beings, therefore goals from last year may not serve you in the new year.  

This is why it is important for us not to simply check off what we accomplish, but actually review the goals that are left.  Take time to determine whether or not those goals work for who you are in this moment.  

Let's Look at an Example
Using my list above, at the time, my goal to cut out chicken was a good goal, albeit a little unrealistic.  It still is, however, looking at where I am in life, I recognize that it is not something that I'm able to do at this time.  The most that I can commit to is cutting back on how much chicken I eat, but even this statement is not a SMART goal (see below for more info on SMART goals).  Therefore, this is not a good goal to put on my list for next year.  Maybe I can change it to eating 1 - 2 pieces of chicken per week. We'll see...

Simple, right?  

Let's Go Deeper..
After reading Martha Beck's article in an old issue of O Magazine, "May We Help You", I had an "Ah ha" moment that I wanted to share with you.  

Have you ever worked hard to achieve one of your goals and once you finally did it, you just didn't feel like you thought that you would?  You thought you would be happy, and you were, but only for 5 seconds.  Or maybe you felt uncomfortable with the residual effects of achieving the goal.  For example, one may be happy that they lost a lot of weight, but they feel a little bummed about how much they had to spend on new clothes.   

How about this one: your goal was to visit a foreign country.  You saved money up to your eyeballs and you made the trip happen.  You were so thrilled when you made the arrangements.  

You went on the trip and then what?  How do you feel now that it's all over?  Still as excited?  Proud?  Indifferent now that it happened?  Sometimes, achieving the goal is not all that it's cracked up to be or it doesn't make you feel the way that you thought that you would in the end.

For this reason, Martha suggests changing the noun and verb, i.e. lose and weight or travel and foreign country, to an adjective centered goal.  By focusing on achieving what you hope to feel like once you've achieved your goal, you can find smaller and simpler things to do that will make you feel fulfilled whether you achieve the actual goal or not.  

Say What?  
Let's go back to the travel goal example.  You may feel happy for the experience, but the fact that the trip cost you $3,000 might alter your happiness, especially if your car dies after you get back and the money that could have gone to repairs went to your airfare.  

Martha suggests trying this instead:  think of three words (adjectives) that describe your ideal feeling of traveling to another country.  What do you hope to feel by achieving this goal?  My three words are: free, immersed, and enlightened.  

Expand on the Feelings 
Travel makes me feel free, because I am on my own time.  I can sleep in if I want.  I can go anywhere that I want, and I'm not tied down by my responsibilities at home.  
I feel immersed, because I am surrounded by the different culture of the city that I'm in.  Travel allows me to be present to the locals' way of life, landmarks, and the overall vibe of the citizens.  
I feel enlightened, because travel is a form of education to me.  I not only get to see the sights and experience the culture firsthand, but I'm able to learn about a piece of history or something that is important to the people who live there.  I get the story directly from those who live it or experienced it.

Go Back and...
Now that we have the adjectives and we elaborated on what those words mean for the experience, it's time to go back and look at the goal.  Based on the adjectives that I picked, it is clear that what I enjoy most about traveling has to do with exploration, learning, and experiencing things like a local.  With that in mind, I may choose to revise my goal and make it more specific.  I might say that my new goal is visit a foreign country and hire a private local tour guide to show me around to places that tourists miss out on.  

I can also reevaluate the goal entirely.  Maybe I don't want to wait until I've managed to save up the money and make the trip to feel those things.  What can I do now that can give me the same feeling?  

I could plan a weekend visit to my friend in Chicago and arrange for her to show me some cool places that tourists don't typically visit.  This could help me save money and it is something that may not require a lot of time to do. 

Maybe, I can take the day off from work and take a quick train ride to another part of the city where I live.  I can visit an art gallery, small businesses in town, and have a nice dinner at a restaurant that the locals love.  This may cost less than $100 and I can do this next month, whereas the trip to Chicago will cost me hundreds and the trip overseas will cost me thousands.  Both trips will also take some time in order for me to save and make the travel arrangements, (more of an effort with the overseas trip).

Your Turn
Take one of your goals for the year and give us three adjectives for what you hope to feel by achieving it.  How have the adjectives changed your original goal?  What are some things that you could do now to feel that way?

Additional Reading on SMART Goals
In my post, Much Ado About Goals, I wrote about the SMART way to write your goals and gave examples demonstrating why it is necessary.  SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.  Check it out and let me know what you think!

*I did my goals the SMART way, but I'm just giving you the gist of what it was by keeping it short.

Photo credit lurve: Photo by Leland Francisco


  1. This is a GREAT post. It provides a deeper way to investigate ans experience this thing called "HAPPINESS". Thank you, Dr. Pillowz!

  2. You've stopped me in my tracks.

    I like to set goals as well as use a specific word that pinpoints my overall wellbeing and goal for the year. This year's word is RELEASE. I also like the BE, HAVE, DO list.

    Have to think more about the adjectives and feelings for my goals. Never thought of goals in that manner.

    Thank you for sharing. If you do a vision board, please stop by and add it to our page.