Tagged: blog

A New Framework for Goal Setting

Palace of Fine Arts: a great place to find inspiration.

Palace of Fine Arts: a great place to find inspiration.

I am in my first week of being 27 and several people have approached me asking about what goals I am setting for this new year. While I have plenty of things I would like to accomplish, I don’t think that 28X28 is the best structure for my next year of life. I am remembering a conversation with a good friend from a long time ago. I told him that I don’t really care much what happens in my life as long as I am happy. Whatever life throws my way, I hope I can come out the other side, find the important lessons and live a happy life. Even in the face of destruction and cruelty. If I experience the apocalypse, I still want to be capable of happiness.

So, dude that he is, my friend said that’s nice and all, but what do I have to DO in order to feel happy. I believe I fidgeted at the time and shifted around uncomfortably. Yes, this is a good approach, but dammit that means I have lots of unanswered questions. Little did I know at the time, this theory is in the same vein as Danielle LaPorte’s work. I want to FEEL X, so what do I have to DO in order to accomplish X? When I do Y, I feel X. This is exactly what Danielle LaPorte is getting at.

Moments to scribble down some ideas.

Moments to scribble down some ideas.

I am 4 days into 27 and I would like to outline a new framework for this year of life.

In order to set meaningful goals for myself, I want to make sure that I am pursuing activities that feed what I want to feel. It is much easier to feel fulfilled when you are clear on the intention behind a goal or activity. Rather than creating an arbitrary list of 28 things I would like to do before my next birthday, I would like to explore how to achieve my core desired feelings through activities each week or month. Since I am not quite sure how this process will unfold, I will have to tailor it as I go along.

For example: I have identified my 5 core desired feelings as: clear, connected, creative, relaxed, and powerful. I can choose to focus on one or two of those feelings in a particular week and do things that feed that feeling. Say I want to feel relaxed. It’s important to reflect on when I have felt relaxed in the past and recognize what makes me feel relaxed now. Then I make a list of things that induce relaxation for me: I feel relaxed when I get important items done early in the day, when I eat meals with friends, when I exercise and when I sleep enough. I feel relaxed when I am clear on my priorities so that I can give each task the time that it needs.

Taking time to write.

Taking time to write.

As mentioned in previous posts, I am going to read The Desire Map, and use the book to guide this process. I do have a growing list of goals and am always curious about what other people want to accomplish before they die. As I add things to my list, I ask myself why I want to do that particular thing and what feelings I believe I will get from achieving that task. Here are a few items I’ve come up with:

  1. Get ride of stuff: clarity, freedom, mobility, focus
  2. Learn Hootsuite: transferable skills, powerful, contribute, connection
  3. Surf vacation: relaxed, connection, powerful, mobile, focused
  4. Write/Blog: connection, contribute, powerful, relaxed, understanding, reflection, commitment
  5. Make another postcard: creative, connection, powerful, contribute

Using your core desired feelings as a way of setting goals is a great bullshit meter. Are you doing this for yourself or are you doing this because society tells you it’s cool? Are you creating your own path or are you drinking the Kool-Aid? Let’s get real. Happiness might be right around the corner if you check in with your motives.

Can you identify one of your core desired feelings? Is there a major life goal that you have? Shoot me an email and let me know what they are. Lara@LaraBuelow.com

Sunny morning bicycle rides to work make me feel grateful and relaxed.

Sunny morning bicycle rides to work make me feel grateful and relaxed.


Happy Birthday Me

A card from my Mom...

A card from my Mom…

It’s my birthday!

Surfing with Maria

Surfing with Maria

Yesterday I celebrated by going surfing at Pacifica with my good friend Maria, hitting a silent disco at Ocean Beach, and then having an amazing meal with my family.

Silent Disco at Ocean Beach

Silent Disco at Ocean Beach

I realized last night that I feel a lot of pressure to write a big beautiful post for today. However, I have a birthday ritual that needs to be honored. I am going to Santa Cruz for a run on the beach and then a swim/surf session in the ocean. So, today I am gifting myself this simple post.

A few things are on the list for this year of life: keep writing/blogging regularly, go surfing, travel to Germany, purge your crap, and visit friends.

Family Dinner

Family Dinner

If you are reading this: I would love to hear from you. I have been hesitant to reach out and ask for feedback (scared). I’ve been writing for one year now and it’s time to face some blogging fears. I am always grateful to receive feedback and your thoughts.  For my birthday, I am wishing to hear from anyone and everyone who reads this – tell me about what your hopes and fears are for the rest of 2013 or about your favorite color or a few things on your bucket list. I appreciate you and I’m excited to hear what you have to say.  Send it here: Lara@LaraBuelow.com

Apparently I am going to learn how to play the Ukulele this year.

Apparently I am going to learn how to play the Ukulele this year.

The 20 Minute Blog Post

Photos make nice writing prompts.

Once upon a time…

May is Writing Month. If you want to build a habit, it is best to practice every single day.

So here is the challenge: write a blog post in 20 minutes.

Step 1: Choose your topic or prompt before you set the timer.

Step 2: Don’t think too much.

Step 3: Know your editing style. If you like to edit your posts or add photos, don’t spend too much time writing.

Step 4: Get it out. Do it now. Post post post!




How To Be the Most Fabulous You

Another Art of Doing inspired post! How To Be the Most Fabulous You: Simon Doonan

A man, famous for creating outrageous and cutting-edge window displays, waxes on about his 10 commandments in life. Climb inside the brain of Simon Doonan with me for a moment and never think the same way about your wardrobe or personal image again.

1. Invent yourself.

Every morning you have the opportunity to make executive decisions about your life. And have fun doing it! I wonder what the world would be like if every time we approached a task or decision, we asked ourselves what would make it more fun? Invent yourself because you can. Invent yourself because it is refreshing and no one else can do it for you.

2. Dressing down is a crime against humanity.

We can’t be too precious with our things. We are all going to die someday. “If you always leave home in the unforgettable ensemble you’d wear to a Lady Gaga concert, your life will always be more fun.” (AOD, 55) I suppose this is one answer to my question above. I hadn’t necessarily considered my wardrobe to be the simple solution. Dress up, get out, and save the world.

3. Go forth and shop.

Doonan prescribes shopping as a quest; retail therapy in a light and refreshing way. Recycle, upcycle, invent, inspire, and see the potential in cloth. This suddenly makes shopping seem appealing. An opportunity to celebrate self-love month! An opportunity to reinvent ourselves! I love having the agenda of being creative and inspired, rather than needing an item. The need for something often creates pressure and anxiety (like the self-hate war of buying jeans), but Doonan reframes daily outfits as an opportunity to bring mystery, thrill, and delight to our senses and therefore, our lives.

4. Be a contrarian.

There are so many ways to be an activist. You can wear an awesomely vulgar outfit, ride your bike, or get involved with your local government council. It may mean speaking your values and standing up for the things you believe in. Indulge in your most outspoken side, which is possible through your wardrobe as well. Doonan suggests that dressing in clothes that are the opposite of what is in fashion at the moment makes you stick out. A bold opportunity! You only live once. Make a statement, leave a mark.

5. Every day is a new photo op.

Doonan frames this in the context of the perfect photo pose. Again, how can we infuse everyday reality with a breath of fresh air? How can you inspire? What is your edge? Are you the guy pulling pranks and starting practical joke wars in the office? Are you the one who channels sunlight into every room? What random acts of kindness can we practice today? If you took a photo at that moment, what would it look like?

6. Vive la vulgarite!

Don’t overthink it. Sometimes you’ve got style, and sometimes you don’t. Celebrate the times things get messy. Be vulgar.

7. Go niche.

Who ever feels like mainstream is the right path for them anyway? I have yet to meet someone who feels like that is where they fit in the best, though I won’t rule it out.

8. Say yes to everything!

I hate this one. Saying yes or no to anything sounds like bullshit to me. I put a “Say Yes Day” on my 27 x 27. I took it off. For some reason the idea really irks me, like life isn’t exciting or filled with enough surprises already. It has the ability to be humorous and tantalizing, but somehow I would rather be more disconcerting. But screw what I think. Doonan says “Say Yes!” It’s like improvisational theater, it’s important you play along. The more you take advantage of the opportunities provided to you, the more likely you’ll be living a life of grand adventure.

9. Grow old ungracefully.

This is incredibly satisfying. Finally someone who is encouraging us to do whatever comes naturally and to indulge in the awkward confines of age that society has created for us. Spend your time, money, and energy on the things that really matter to you and your stunning essence will shine through as strongly as it ever has.

10. Confidence is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

Be your most fabulous you. This will create a magnetic force field around you and “serious fan worship” is sure to follow.

Tea with Leo Babauta and Jesse Jacobs

Fancy stairs in a hotel downtown SF - not Samova. But still fun!

Fancy stairs in a hotel downtown SF – not Samovar. Still fun!


I attended the Mindful + Entrepreneur tea and chocolate tasting event hosted by Leo Babauta and Jesse Jacobs, and naturally was reminded immediately of our interconnectedness. As soon as we began, I sat next to Andrea, owner of Satori Yoga Studio. Why is this serendipitous? Because my good friend, Debbie Steingesser, who helped me get the seasonal job at Lululemon and who I work out with regularly at San Francisco CrossFit is also a yoga teacher at Satori. So a wonderful woman who was only one degree removed from my acquaintance, is now my tea and chocolate tasting buddy. This was a great way to kick off the event, it made me feel right at home.

Me enjoying a beverage.

Me enjoying a beverage.

Leo and Jesse gave each other introductions and we all introduced ourselves. We had a well rounded group: Andrea from Satori, Travis a fellow CrossFitter, Ashley from Buy Nothing New, and Nealy from Vice Chocolates, to name a few. Then Leo and Jesse began to speak towards building a mindful practice. While both practice meditation, Jesse discussed how developing a ritual, such as brewing tea creates the space to deepen our awareness. We reviewed briefly how to brew our tea and how to examine the leaves, inhale the aroma, and to sip our tasty beverages.

With each step in the tea brewing process, Jesse encouraged us to become aware of negative space. Where are the pauses in our lives? How can we embrace them and bring our awareness to those spaces? For example, Jesse meditates as the water for his tea boils. He intentionally does nothing and practices emptying his mind.

View from Samovar - Yerba Buena

View from Samovar – Yerba Buena

As a way of deepening our understanding of mindfulness, Leo then talked about his own meditation practice and his time management throughout the day. He highlighted intention and how that can be a clarifying element to any task. Ask yourself: what is my intention? You may find yourself in a pregnant pause when posing this question.

Maybe you don’t have time to sit around asking yourself about intention. You are too busy for that shit. Well, Leo and Jesse know as well as anyone how busy life can get. Our lives are ripe with potential and brimming with activity. How do we even know what to prioritize? Nevermind exploring intention. Here Leo described his organic experiments with time management. He says he is trying to cultivate an internal trust within himself that he will do what needs to get done. This is a relentless practice against value judgments.

What do I mean when I say let go of value judgments? I mean stop telling yourself that one thing is good and another is bad. The majority of the time those are simply stories our mind is telling us. It is important to realize the nature of reality – what is here and now.

Wall of Tea at David's Tea - Chestnut Street

Wall of Tea at David’s Tea – Chestnut Street

So as Leo is going through his day, he is actually practicing getting in touch with his intuition and using that as a compass to prioritize which tasks will get done. Obviously, around this time of year, we all have certain things that we simply must do. Like taxes. Here is a good opportunity to practice patience and compassion, mostly with ourselves. Sometimes we just need to do what needs to get done, so that everything doesn’t fall apart down the line. Being aware of the tasks that take more of our emotional energy, it might be smart to reward yourself with afternoon tea at Samovar after dealing with taxes.

Sunday Brunch at the Buelow House. Again, not Samovar, still fun!

Sunday Brunch at the Buelow House. Again, not Samovar, still fun!

More highlights from Mindful + Entrepreneur (to be continued…)

  • Making declarations and logging progress
  • Experiencing fear and hope
  • A 5 word business plan
  • Whisper marketing and…
  • How to title blog posts.