Archive for the ‘goals’ Tag

Ufda, Temptation!

Man, I’m telling you, that first full week back from vacation is tough! The last few hours of the workday on Friday, in which I’m currently mired, are the hardest. My brain seriously wants to shift back to holiday-mode. There’s this weird tension between it wanting to shut down altogether and wanting to be all contemplative and deep about topics wholly unrelated to the job I’m supposed to be doing.

I had a really satisfying text conversation during my lunch break that covered some weighty thoughts on gender. Might turn that into a post one day. But that open exploration of a topic near my heart was gateway drug to afternoon distraction, because now my brain is saying that it’s play time, not work time. My mind is busy flitting from topic to topic and outlining stories I want to write, leaving little energy for such trivialities as executive duties and contract interpretation.

On top of tempting intellectual puzzles, there is the fact that it’s August 2nd and only in the mid-70s outside. Even though it’s overcast, the gorgeous temps are calling for me to go sit outside somewhere green and read a book or just listen to the birds and the breeze in the trees. I wouldn’t even mind if it rained a little. I just don’t want to be sitting in an office behind a desk dealing with dreary legalities.

But I’m not giving in. I’m going to be a good corporate attorney and boss, set an example of discipline, and buckle down. There’s a contract to review, a policy exception to deal with, and a conference call next week to prepare for. I can do these things. I will do these things today. I will give them my best effort. And then I will leave, enjoy my weekend, and give no further thought to job and office until Monday morning.

This is me being a professional adult and setting goals and boundaries. See? I can be both a badass boss and a person with a life, all at once. I’m gonna prove it to myself.

Operation : When in Doubt, Write it Out – in full swing and working it’s magic.

Creative Piece #1

One of the goals I set for this year, keying off of the primary objectives I carried through from last year, was to publish on this blog at least one creative writing piece per quarter. It’s part of the Nurturing My Spirit/Creativity objective. I believe that feeding my creative spirit helps make me a better version of me.

But sharing the outcome of creative activity requires risking vulnerability – what if everyone hates it, what if it’s no good and so bad that everyone laughs? Those are real fears. But I can’t let fear win. Taking the risk and sharing, knowing that someone (even people whose opinions matter) might laugh or worse, is the price of progress and growth.

So, here’s me taking the risk. This is a raw, unedited piece that came to me last night as I lay, not sleeping – again – in my cool, dark bedroom, trying to still my mind and rest. It has no meter or rhyme and barely qualifies as creative. But it is the work of my mind and I’m counting it toward this quarter’s goal.

In the still, cool dark

Sometimes I need to just be

Still and quiet, breathing

Lying down or sitting up

Simply existing in the moment

Sitting calmly in the quiet

Experiencing the cool darkness

Not thinking, not planning

Simply being someone apart

Silence is rare

There are hums and clicks and groans

Sounds normally lost in the noise of life

Simple silence requires effort

Alone in a cool, dark room

Listening to the sound that’s not quite silence

Breathing, existing, knowing without thought

Simply dwelling with myself at rest

Stillness is not the same as peace or rest

But taking refuge in being still brings both

Courageously occupying the void of thought and sound

Being, simply at one

3 Things

Just random thoughts to keep the streak alive.

  1. It is amazing what perspective relative comparison provides. Yesterday there was sunshine and temps rose to 25F. Last week we had three straight days of below zero and the rest in single digits. Compared with last week we’re having a heatwave! That’s something to be thankful for, I guess.
  2. Today I spent 5 hours in a room full of software engineers and architects, product managers and IT systems engineers. The goal of the workshop was to design changes to a governance process dealing with legal risks and regulatory compliance associated with use of third party content in the development of my company’s software products. I’m constantly fascinated by the complexity that engineers seem to feel morally compelled to introduce into straightforward problems, only to turn and point their fingers at the lawyers to explain why they do it. Never mind that this particular lawyer consistently urges simplicity and transparency, and never mind that they’d save themselves boatloads of time and heartache if they listened to their lawyer. Nope. Gotta build six layers of contingency management in for CYA and to cover mysteriously undefined risk of “audit repercussions”. <eye roll> Yet it’s lawyers who make everything harder than it has to be. Again, <eye roll>. Whatever.
  3. I’m closing in on completing the first draft of my first book-length writing project. 60K words, 128 pages written so far. I’m struggling with the ending – it’s just not quite right yet. But I think it’s close. I’m considering starting to edit/re-write as a means to solidify the story so the end organically materializes. Since I probably won’t ever seek to publish, it’s not essential that it be extra-shiny. But I want to be able to say I completed it. Ultimately, I want to feel like I have a complete, fully actualized story by the end of next month. Goal set.

Starting Again

Happy New Year, all! At this start of a new month and year, my hope for all of us is for more kindness (to ourselves and others), less stress and anxiety, and more living in every moment.

For myself, I’m not going to over-burden this transition period with resolutions and lofty goals that will inevitably bring pressure and guilt. Rather, I’m just going to acknowledge that this is another beginning, just like every day is, really. And with every beginning comes an opportunity to start anew, with whatever activity or goals I choose to engage.

Like I said a couple of days ago in my Q4 report card post, I’m not sure if using the report card posts as an accountability device is still motivating for me. But I’ve thought quite a bit about what goals to carry into this new year. Last year I worked on (1) weekly blog posts (and making them substantive); (2) nurturing my spirit (especially through being creative); and (3) work-life balance (with a focus on in-person socializing). These three primary goals and ‘stretch goals’ cover the areas of my life where I think there’s most room for improvement.

And personal improvement, being the best me I can be, is the point. Of everything. (For me, at least. You decide for you what the purpose of life is all about.)

So, should I keep at the same goals? Yes. Any adjustments? Yes. Just small refinements, really. And those adjustments are a new start.

First, I want to keep the weekly posting goal, but I want to add an element of creativity. As I discovered over the last year, I thrive best when there is a creative challenge in my life. And although I didn’t have a lot of success with learning silver sand casting, I did do well with writing last year. In addition to blogging here, I worked on creative writing outside of my blog. I have kept these efforts to myself for a number of reasons, but mostly out of fear. And since fear is something to eject from my life, I’m going to try to get beyond that block.

I think it could be cool to combine these elements for a twist to my primary blogging goal. So, in addition to keeping up my weekly posting streak, I want to post at least one creative piece per quarter. I’m going to be as lenient on myself as possible on what counts as creative and I won’t be prescriptive about length or subject matter of these pieces. Creative writing doesn’t have to mean narrative stories nor even fiction; creative essays on non-fiction topics count. The only metric is whether I have the courage to push the “publish” button on at least one original work of creative authorship per quarter.

Second, I’m keeping the spirit-nurturing/creativity goal as-is, but I will count the creative writing posts on the first goal against this goal as well. Double counting seems fair in this instance, given the extra hurdle of having to overcome fear into the bargain.

Finally, I’ll keep the work-life balance/socializing goal. These are some of my biggest struggles. And I did pretty well last year in being intentional about tackling this aspect of myself. I don’t want to stagnate, so adding a twist seems like the right thing to do. But I also don’t want to put so much pressure on myself that I stall or regress.

But, again, fear should not be the decision-maker. So I’m going to add a twist, but I’m giving myself the entire year to accomplish it: go on one real date, in person, with someone whom I find attractive.

Oh, geez. Just writing that makes me cringe and want to delete it and pretend I never wrote it or even thought it. But I won’t. Publishing this post, putting that out in the universe, is as much an accountability device as the report card posts. Now that it’s out there, my personal integrity will require me to follow through.

But since accomplishing that goal requires the consent and participation of another person, I am only concerned with having the courage and taking the initiative to ask someone out on a date. I won’t count it a failure if I get turned down, or if it doesn’t go well if the date does happen. The point is simply to beard the dragon of being vulnerable enough to issue the invitation. Once that challenge is met, the rest (whatever that turns out to be) will follow. The real challenge for me is getting past the fear and inertia to begin at all.

So there you have it: my goals for this year are largely the same as last year – blog weekly, be creative, and socialize in real life. The added challenges of publishing some of my creative writing on this blog and going on at least one real date seem like tall orders. But since I’m turning 50 this year, I’m gifting myself this internal kick-in-the-butt as a gift of tough-love. Ultimately, I know myself enough to know that I won’t do either of those things without a motivator. And fear of public failure is definitely a motivator.

Again, happy new year, my friends! I hope you have an easy, comfortable, relaxed start to this year and that every day greets you with hope and possibilities. Let’s start again today and give ourselves permission to treat every day as a chance to start again as often as needed.

Starting Small 

The blogging goal I set for myself last year (post something at least once a week) proved too ambitious for me to meet. I beat myself up quite a bit over that failure. But that self-criticism isn’t productive. I’m going to call it a good start and start over. 

It’s now 2018. A new year and a new chance to be a more productive and consistent writer. I’m going to try again with the weekly goal. But im going to be even more generous with what “counts” as a worthy post. I figure if I’m not as hard on myself about posting late or just a quick list or some random thought, I’ll be more likely to actually do it. Guilt, especially self-imposed, is a mighty de-motivator. Hopefully, permission given to myself will be as powerful a motivator. 

So, I’m starting small. Baby steps, as it were. I set myself a small, achievable, finite goal for today (I’m taking a couple days off work to rest), something that has a tangible outcome. I promised myself that I’d start decluttering my bedroom, starting with my underwear drawer. I got rid of every worn-out, ill-fitting pair of undies and socks, and old bras and under-shirts. There was a surprisingly big bag of trash afterward. 

I’m glad to have completed the task. I feel a little conflicted about the trash – feels a little excessive somehow. But it’s a start.

Next I’m going to tackle the top of my dresser and chest of drawers. Gotta make room for the watch box I received for Christmas. Again, a small goal but with a finite outcome. Achievable. An outcome I can visualize. 

Next blog post isn’t finalized in my head yet. But a post of some kind next week, even after going back to work after a few days off, is achievable.  That’s a small, finite goal. I can do that.

I hope you had a great holiday season and find ways to achieve all your goals this new year. 

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