Almost 1.5 months ago I wrote down short-term, 1-year, and 2-year goals. Every shift of life requires at least a cursory look at where we are headed. This was mine.
I posted the list online and propped it around my apartment. A few weeks ago, I identified my three most cherished goals – the life-long ones – and wrote them in a book. I began asking the Unseen for these “miracles” when I could not sleep or when the shadows loomed.
Sunday, I refined the three. What they are is not as important is the fact they are.
When my head finds too many reasons why something is impossible or my heart feels irreparably squished, having these written goals gives me strength. With strength is accountability and a dash of hope; derring do.
Since writing the goals and flinging them out into the digital universe, I’ve asked for help and sought counsel. I’ve knocked out a few minor entries and continue to work on the bigger goals.
This past weekend and this week, however, have not been extraordinarily productive. Instead of go-go-go and the relief of being otherwise-occupied, I went and went and spent time huddled with a book or with my legs flung over the chair arm-thinking. Or trying not to think. I chose to extend compassion to myself. It has been a revelation.
Last week, I followed up with a professor who was going to speak with her friend on my behalf regarding my Grad School choices and funding. She did and said I was definitely on the school’s radar. She then suggested a different route for Grad School while offering to help me find some funding. Good News.
This week, I spoke with my best friend from college. There was life in that conversation. And kindness.
Another best friend from 5th grade (in Stuttgart, Germany) had connected to my sister, Mimi, and found me. I need to follow up with her and her question about my life. It has been a life. I want the story not to be a sad one, but a hopeful and compassionate ongoing story.
Which brings me back to the goals.
I’ve found the goals helpful
in nudging me out of bed to volunteer for a race when I’d really rather not
The written goals remind me of my dreaming over time
as each goal represents long-desired and long-held hopes.
These identified goals help me to ask better questions of myself, my time, and immediate plans.
It has helped remind me to cook more actual meals at home (rather than subsist off of Greek yogurt and fruit), neti pot more (“Kansas” and “allergies” are synonyms), write notes, dislodge from social media a bit more, read more consistently, and forgo the last three peanut-butter Girl Scout cookies my sis gave me Sunday.
There is something about writing down a list of goals which helps to cement them. In the past, I’ve read research of how writing and signing a pledge increases people’s commitment to the spirit of the pledge. It must be the same with goals.
Writing lists has recently been featured as a “go-to” method to reduce anxiety, move towards excellence, and grow as a leader. Who knew?
My dad is a list-maker. He is also – in many ways – a leader. He is definitely a man who gets things done. He has been a good model for this.
Making the lists of goals is not the same as acting on them. At any time, we can blow off our lists. But why? Why not refine our lists to reflect new learning and new reality to continue our pursuit?
A few things are absent from the physical list, but very present in my ongoing “goal tending”: cultivate wonder and joy; love deeply, rediscover the joie de vivre of my earliest memory, and invite others to the wonder, joy, love, and joie de vivre.
It takes derring do to seriously consider our futures and derring do to move past the fear and voices crying “failure” and “fool” and into the yet-known future. If we fail, we fail and find new ways to succeed or a new goal to tend. Perhaps along the way, we will meet new people and have adventures both grand and small.
It – Life – seems to be worth the effort.