Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Re-examining how I set goals

{from here, found here}

I'm really fantastic at making goals. And lists, plans, dreams, and timelines. Organizing my thoughts is my jam and makes me feel comfortable and awesome.

But when it comes down to the action and the "doing" part? Not so great at that.

This weekend, after feeling particularly miserable both physically and mentally, I decided to stop complaining. Stop whining. Stop feeling sorry for myself. I was so tired of hearing myself and imagining what I sounded like to other people. And I got down to the doing.

I went for a walk on Saturday even though I had pretty terrible cramps and even though it was only for fifteen minutes.

I ordered salad when I was out to dinner two nights in a row.

I sat down and started revisiting all of my Holiday Council materials so that I can get my concrete, long-term goals into focus.

I read the magazines collecting dust in my room.

I prepared lunch and coffee for the next few days of work.

I went for another walk on Sunday for longer than I wanted and then I did an arm workout.

All of these things have been on my mental and on-paper checklists for months. Months. These are things I've been meaning to do since before the New Year, that I then excused myself from during the holidays, and that were meant to be worked on "just as soon as ____ is over" (my birthday, Valentine's Day, THIS AWFUL WINTER). The problem is that there was always something new to fill that blank and put off everything just a little longer.

For now, I'm throwing away my goal-setting tactics. I'm not setting goals the way I always have, because there's that quote about doing the same things over and over and expecting different results (spoiler alert: it's the definition of insanity). Instead, I'm making a list of things I want to do or improve in my life and when the time feels right, just do them. I don't want to save a specific dollar amount or exercise a certain number of times a week or eat sweets at this hour or that many times a day.

Instead, I want to be aware in the present moment and say "no" to spending on something I don't need, say "yes" to exercise as long as I don't feel completely like dying, and replace sweets with something healthier whenever possible and not giving a shit when I can't (or when I simply don't want to).

Plans feed my perfectionism and because of that, I always thought I was doing fine job setting goals. Then I wouldn't meet them and would wonder what's wrong with me. Unfortunately, my perfectionism prevents me from accomplishing almost any of the goals I set out for myself because I'm too specific, so when I trip up, I throw up my hands and say "fuck it."

Making a decision every time an opportunity arises, without having a set goal in mind, removes the temptation of "I'll just start over tomorrow" and forces me to do something. And that's the whole point of it all - not only creating pretty lists on how to become a better version of myself, but actually becoming that person.