Setting Goals

I’ve been feeling overwhelmed recently. This happens quite a lot and is usually the reason I return to writing and publishing on my blog. Probably for the next while, my blog posts will all start with that same phrase: “I’ve been feeling overwhelmed”. This is because I’ve been feeling overwhelmed about a lot of things. 

Life has started to feel dull and unmanageable, and the things I usually love to do and the people I usually love to be around are causing me anxiety and numbness. I recognize this now to be a sign that I have triggered my depression behaviors, and need to reflect and change something.

Hence why I am now on my blog writing about goals. I’ve created a folder in my Google drive called, Your Center. It’s pink! And added a folder called, “Goals”. 

One of the main challenges I’ve been having, is I feel like I never accomplish anything and never make any progress. I have all these dreams and hopes and wants and needs and wishes and visions, and I make lists and projects and folders, and I tell people about them, and ask for support, but I still haven’t completed any of them. At least, that’s how it feels. 

I haven’t finished my book. I haven’t built my book blog. I haven’t done the social media for EBSN or Ventura County Poetry Project or Calabasas Rotary or the Friends of the Calabasas Library or my Mom’s real estate business or my Dad’s tango website. I haven’t finished my teaching credential. I got my CELTA, but I never got an English Language teaching job. I worked in Marketing and PR and dreamed of becoming an expert, but never felt competent enough and felt embarrassed to charge people and stopped doing it. I haven’t made new friends in Calabasas (and when I start to, I begin to sabotage the relationship and build boundaries for fear of being broken again or feeling lonely again), I haven’t opened up to my old friends, family, or colleagues and asked for the support I need to meet my critical wellness needs, and pretend everything is fine and I am a ball of joy only to feel oh so negative and trapped and alone when I get home. Instead I sulk in my sadness and aloofness and disconnection and cry into words, words, words! I haven’t read the books about racial justice, refugee action, environmental justice, and human rights, and really taken action, gotten involved and become part of a network of mutual aid! 

I feel angry, resentful, guilty, ashamed, terrified, panicked. At moments, I feel I will never accomplish these things, or that I am a fake! Motivated by my desire to be thought of as a good person rather than truly being a good person, whatever the fuck that means! 

I like to intellectualize my problems. It’s a good thing and a bad thing! Read so many books, get nothing done! So I’m trying to take action and gather a support system. This blog is part of my support system. I hope to be part of your support system if you’ll have me! 

As part of my intellectualizing, I read two books – The ONE Thing by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan and Setting Your Development Goals: Start with Your Values from the Center for Creative Leadership. These books have helped me to figure out what I need to focus on and why I am choosing to focus on it. 

The ONE Thing provided research and empirical evidence for the effect that focusing on one thing can have on one’s life. They suggested asking yourself, “What is the ONE thing I can do that will make everything I need to do easier or unnecessary?” and focus all your energy on doing that until it is done, and then ask it again and again and again. I thought it was an interesting read, and would love for the authors to try living life with a social justice purpose instead of a luxury real estate purpose and see all the good they could do and how their advice would apply. It definitely changed my perception of how to organize my life. 

They used a quote from Andrew Carnegie that really spoke to me. I’ve always joked that because I went to money camp and learned about investing when I was 12, I always applied the principle, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” As you can see from my ginormous list of things I want to do and organizations I’m involved with, my eggs are in a lot of baskets. I’ve even applied this to crushes and friends. I’ve always had a lot of friends or a lot of crushes, rather than a few best friends or one person that I’m absolutely obsessed with. I’ve found it helps me cope with my anxiety around failure and rejection. I don’t feel as deeply failure and rejection if I was never too invested in something, and I always had something else to bounce quickly into and not dwell. An email or message pulling me out of the moment and into something else. Hopping about quickly. 

And then I read Andrew Carnegie’s quote from his speech, “The Road to Business Success”:

It is trying to carry too many baskets that breaks most eggs in this country…concentrate; put all your eggs in one basket, and watch that basket.

Gosh, I had been carrying so many baskets that of course I was breaking eggs. I was holding so many baskets that I could no longer see myself under all those baskets. I had let myself become a storing cupboard instead of a human going for a picnic! 

I decided it was time to do some reflection and goal setting. I needed to figure out, what were all the baskets I was carrying, why did I decide to carry each basket, which baskets connected with both my head and heart, and how I would respectfully move my other eggs into those baskets. 

And so I decided to read, Setting Your Development Goals: Start with Your Values from the Center for Creative Leadership. 

They identified the top three reasons why people fail to achieve their goals: 

“1. The goal isn’t valued – you haven’t committed your mind and heart to the goal.

2. The goal isn’t specific – your goal is too broad and overwhelming.

3. The goal isn’t supported – you don’t have someone to be your coach, cheerleader, or mentor.” 

To me, this quote made perfect sense. AH! That’s what it was. My goals were either too grand and vague, not broken into steps and behaviors that I could actually do. I also hadn’t communicated effectively to my friends and family about what those goals were and how they could support me. And I had some goals that I didn’t really value – I was doing them because I thought I should do them or because I felt bad saying no, rather than resonating with energy and excitement and joy. 

They chose to compartmentalize life into five sections: career, self, family, community, and spirit. I decided to go along with it, although I do really love my 9 dimensions! They then asked us to identify our values for each of these five sections, look at which values are being met and which are not, and then short-term and long-term actions we could take to have more of our values met in each of these five parts. 

For Self, they asked us to write 20 things we love to do! I thought that was fabulous and have decided to publish that list on my blog. I’d love to see your list! 

We then created a table that helped us organize our goals, values, and support system. 

Here’s mine: 

GoalValueSMART GoalSupport
CareerBuilding relationships and trainings and certificationsFamily-like environment, collaboration, knowledge, competenceComplete my teaching credential to the best of my ability by spending the time I need to complete the work, attending all classes, handing in all assignments, and reading everything assigned. Getting involved in the Future Teachers club and making the effort to get to know the people in my cohort and putting myself out there to develop those relationships. 
SelfWriting about the things that bring me joy/care about and sharing them with people.Creativity, enjoyment, helping others, belonging, knowledge, integrity I will write and publish one blog post every week. 
FamilyDoing something creative, collaborative, and fun togetherCreative, collaboration, enjoyment I will ask my family what they think is creative, collaborative, and fun and would be willing to do together. 
CommunityActing like I belong and doing the things I want to do and creating a family-like environmentFamily-like environment, autonomy, fellowship, enjoyment, creativity, helping others I will nurture relationships in Rotary and organize events that I think will be helpful. I will learn the channels to connect with my community and build relationships with them, and learn about what is going on and how I can help. 
SpiritA daily practice of reading, writing, meditating, exercise, nature, gratitude, and connecting with like-minded community (poetry?!)Self-respect, wisdom, belonging, enjoyment, fellowshipI will create a morning routine that energizes me and makes me excited for the day! I will go to an open mic once a week. 

Then the book ended and I was left with myself to take action and communicate these goals. I decided to start writing this blog post as a way to process what I have learned and share it so that people can give me advice, feedback, and support.

I hope that I can do the same for you! 

Questions so we can connect:

Have you read any good goals/self-development books that you’d recommend? 

What are your goals? 

What 20 things do you like to do? 

What do you think about these five areas? Are there any you would add or remove? 

Any inspiring quotes/poems/essays that have changed your perception or behavior? 

Why do you think some people take on many baskets and some have one or two? Is it a gender thing? (Sometimes I think it is! Since this is how the women in my family are, while the men in my family are usually very focused and narrow minded! But also maybe it’s a neuro-diversity thing? Makes me think of the show Defending the Caveman that I saw in Vegas where he said this is based on our roles as cave-people, the hunter and the childminder/forager. Again – is it biological or is it societal roles?!)


References

Becker, Rob. Defending the Caveman. Vegas. https://www.vegas.com/shows/comedy/defending-the-caveman/

Carnegie, Andrew. “The Road to Business Success”. 1885. http://afl.just.edu.tw/ezfiles/39/1039/img/392/445852670.pdf

Keller, Gary & Papasan, Jay. The ONE Thing. 2012. John Murray. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D3J2QKW/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Sternbergh, Bill, et al. Setting Your Development Goals: Start with Your Values, Center for Creative Leadership, 2007. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.summit.csuci.edu/lib/csuci/detail.action?docID=3007547.