Looking at my goal list for the past year, I am most proud of 2 things. The first is that I committed to blogging each of my goals and this exercise made me realize that something I really enjoy is the writing itself. It feels satisfying that I have embraced the writing process and stuck with it over the last twelve months. Especially to simply relish the act of writing, without judging the end product. The second thing I am proud of this year is that I made several huge changes in my life and am still working hard to create the life I want to live. If that’s too vague for you: I am so happy that I moved to San Francisco and have been able to find rewarding work. I am incredibly grateful to be at San Francisco CrossFit and Suppenküche, two companies where I’ve met some of the most amazing people in my life.
These two things also translate into what I am most grateful over the last year. I am grateful for all the love and support I got from my family and friends. I am grateful for the people who offered me work and flexibility in my schedule, coworkers who helped me out, and both the constructive and positive feedback I’ve received from people in different areas of my life. I also appreciate California Sunshine, the ability to take vacations in far off places, and the wild adventurous opportunities that present themselves to me.
On Monday, I will turn 27 and my 27×27 year will be complete. Friends have been asking what 28×28 will look like, but I can’t say it looks very appealing. It isn’t edgy enough. It’s putting too many items on a list, it’s too arbitrary. I need something with a bit more gusto. I want an divine list, not one that induces guilt over an unchecked box. I thought about beginning a 3×30 or 30×30 project, as it’s dawning on me that a decade benchmark is approaching. It’s still in the cards. However, in an effort to distance myself from numbers and quantifying everything, I would like to experiment with living the next year in a quality-inspired manner.
So I am crafting a plan for living my next year of life using the Desire Map. I will use my core desired feelings as my compass and my 12 commandments as my guiding constitution. THIS SOUNDS SO CORNY. Cue Phil Collins, because that’s my JAM. Hopefully over the next 12 months I will be able to communicate all of this in a way that sounds more hardcore and less “floofy”. That’s the (non) word that comes to mind. But right now it’s all I’ve got.
We were making the long drive from Taos to Santa Fe. Owen was driving me to the airport. After 3 months living in New Mexico, I was jetting back to San Francisco for a job interview. We pulled off the highway and into the parking lot of a high end grocery store. Stepping out of the car, the blinding sunshine made me squint. The automatic doors opened in front of us and we flip flopped into the air conditioned space. Owen and I wandered the aisles, distracted by our own banter. He even began relaying another story about his Grandma, which I knew at this point, always made him emotional. This is something I loved about Owen. We stood in front of refrigerators filled with milk as Owen reminisced about his sweet Grandmother and how she raised him, tears welling up in his eyes, but keeping a neutral face. There we stood, precious, love-soaked tears and a moment long-gone recalled under florescent lights on top of linoleum. I hugged and kissed him then before taking his hand as we continued on our stroll.
I was seeking something sweet. I was craving a chocolate filled croissant or raspberry muffin. Some delicious, buttery baked-good to put in my belly. Perhaps I was trying to fill the void in my gut, the one that felt that everything created over the last 3 months was coming to an end. The space somewhere between my stomach and my diaphragm that knew better than my brain whether it was excited or scared, but I couldn’t tell the difference. I wanted something warm and comforting in that space. Fill the void, fill the void, give me something. Owen and I had discussed, at length, the ultimate termination of our relationship – or the fact that commitment and definition did not exist between us. The vast expanse seemed to swell. But it was all an illusion, an interpretation to which I was experiencing an emotional response. Ah, sweet human existence. And here we were, spending some of our last intimate moments together at a grocery store somewhere in the middle of New Mexico.
Owen was obsessed with CrossFit. He showed me videos of Miranda and other CrossFit babes, he talked to me about nutrition and Paleo, and gave me workouts to do. He showed me burpees, and timed us as we raced to 100 on his cool, mud-tile floor. Owen loved CrossFit and shared it with everyone around him. In his small Earthship studio he had set up a pull-up rig and weightlifting station. He would wrangle people to come over and program a WOD for them. We would do sit-ups and pull-ups inside, then bound out the door to run through the desert, leaping over prickly bushes and side stepping rocks.
I remember one time Owen even did this barefoot. We were working out with a heavy set friend of his who was visiting from Guatemala. Marco, a big strong bear of a man, who let his beer belly grow along with his beard. I outpaced him on the burprees and now we all jogged alongside each other over the cracked earth out on the mesa. As Owen practically hovered over the earth like a gazelle, I focused on regulating my breathing, and Marco thundered forward beside me. Owen put us both to shame with no shoes, gracefully springing over the bramble and natural debris. Marco undoubtedly felt competitive, and attempting his own launch over a bush, caught his foot and took a nose dive into the ground. “Are you OK!?” I asked, “Yea, you hurt Buddy?” said Owen. Marco scrambled up and dusted himself off. “Only my dignity” he replied and we all howled as we plodded onwards.
At the store we contemplated snacks for the remainder of our ride. I expressed interest in something glutenous and sugary, while Paul held a juice in his hand. He criticized my non-paleo choice and I promptly got upset and walked away. Jumping into the air, his skinny limbs pursued me. “I’m sorry! What did I say!? I’m just so excited about making healthy choices!!!” He practically yelled. Despite my upset, I laugh cried at this declaration. It was hard to hold anything against him in this moment, because I knew it was true. Owen was simply stoked about making healthy choices, God Damnit.
I often think of this story and think about the honesty behind Owen’s statement: I’m excited about making healthy choices. This is the place that change comes from. You want to lose weight? You want to get up earlier? You want to run a race? You want to write a book? Oh yea? Prove it.
How badly do you want it? Do you really want it or do you just dream about it materializing in front of you? As you train yourself to get excited about making the choices that will actually get you one step closer to your goal, that’s when change begins. The challenge and the beauty is that you don’t have to be excited about those choices right away, but if you want it bad enough, you can learn it. As I sat down to write today, I was not motivated to write about my experience in New Mexico with Owen. I was inspired to tell the story and knew I was because it’s the only thing that occurred to me when I asked myself “If I could write about anything today, what would it be?” Resistance stared back at me. “Just start, Bitch” is what I said to her.
Click-clacking away and 20 minutes later I had almost completed the story. The timer went off on my phone, but I wasn’t finished! Gah! I turned the alarm off and continued writing, determined to get to this point. This point, right here, where I tell you that it’s up to us. Only we ever make ourselves obese, ignorant, and mean. Own up, Buttercup. You are more powerful than you believe.
This weekend was the NorCal CrossFit Regional Games 2013, hosted at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.
It was an incredibly intense three days. The level of competition was palpable. My voice was hoarse by the end of the day one and I knew we were only getting started. San Francisco CrossFit attended with three individuals and one team. Our individuals were Courtney Walker, Lisa Warren, and Elizabeth Helton. Our team was comprised of: Tonya White, Natalie Durino, Erin Moody, Sam Sailor, Will Sockolov, and Brian Hassan.
I am inspired by all the athletes, it’s a fight and people are there to win. At the same time, fellow competitors and fans cheered each other on and support was abundant in the stands and on the grounds. Being a newbie to the CrossFit world over the past year, it was crazy to be part of the CrossFit Open which felt homegrown. Though the production on TV of games athletes from last year definitely shows the corporate exposure of CrossFit. Attending the regionals demonstrated to me the exponential growth of the sport of fitness in the world. Going from the Open at our own gyms, to the Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, though not huge, put the growth of CrossFit in perspective.
It isn’t only the media coverage and the stands packed with cheering fans. The level of competition happening in all heats blew my mind. These people are so strong. I feel like their quads could crush my skull. Looking at them, they look like the bodies of lore, made from the flesh of gods. Their muscles ripple in the sunlight, glistening with sweat. No matter how cut their abs are, they are lifting insanely heavy weight and moving fast. It’s actually difficult for me to comprehend and it’s happening infront of my own eyes. Standing at the sidelines, jaw hanging open in awe, I wondered “Is this real?” Yes, they did just do one hundred pull-ups, yes, they did just run from rope climbs to cleans.
I am walking away from Regionals feeling motivated as an athlete. I am inspired to look at my life and analyze my workouts from the stand point of “What do I want?” I want to remain consistent, I want to get stronger, and I want to build coordination. The competition has rekindled my faith in the belief that we can accomplish anything we put our minds to. Make shit happen. Do one thing today that makes you stronger/happier/more at peace tomorrow. Prioritize for you. If you were hit by a bus tomorrow, what would you do today? This is a question that helps me put life in perspective. Vulnerability can suck, but you know what sucks more? Not making ourselves vulnerable, not facing our fears, and not knowing what’s on the other side.
I found a blog the other night that I find interesting. Hack the System with Maneesh Sethi. What a crazy dude. When you subscribe to his email list he asks that you write to him about your number one goal. I found myself thinking that I should have a number one goal because I have so many of them. When I read his email requesting to hear what is it, I thought “Shit, man!” And then my brain came to a stuttering halt.
I have a lot of goals. Too many, actually. How do I know it’s too many? From Stevo, the sport psychologists perspective, if it feels like too many, it is. Well, it feels like too many. From Byron Katie’s perspective, it’s not too many, it just IS and it’s only my thoughts in relation to the number of goals that is causing any stress. Byron Katie is the author of Loving What Is. She is the creator of “The Work”, which is a series of four questions about our thoughts and then a turn around that aims to transform our relationship to ourselves. Here is an example.
The Work on Having Too Many Goals.
Statement and/or judgments: I have too many goals.
Is that true? No. (If no, you can move to #3)
Can I absolutely know that to be true? I can not know it to be 100% fact.
How do I react when I think that thought? How do I treat myself and/or others when I think that thought? Stressed out! I am irritable and frustrated. I hate on myself. I feel like I am scattered and unfocused. I feel like I can’t see progress clearly and that I am a failure. I get panicky and anxious.
Who would I be without that thought? Who would I be without believing that I have too many goals? I would feel peaceful and calm. Life would feel more harmonious and I would celebrate the small victories.
Turn it around: I do not have too many goals. I do not have enough goals. I have the right amount of goals. I have the perfect number of goals.
Perhaps this is another step in dismantling the 27 x 27. I am happy to have so many goals. They can just hang there in space, the letters typed neatly out on the page. The list will grow, wilt, and stagnate at times. I want to cultivate a compassionate relationship to the goal list. It is, afterall, my list of dreams. They each symbolize a process through which I get to know myself a little better and that lead me down my path a little further.
Looking at what I would like to focus on for April and reflecting on what I worked on in March, I am seeing that not much has changed. I am trying to start small and continue slowly. For March I had a fatty list: Interchange counseling sessions, write everyday, handstand practice, mobility, read, work on the Fire Starter Sessions, and attend the CrossFit certification course.
How did I do?
Interchange: I had a couple of Interchange sessions. I have surpassed my 20 hours of counseling now.
Write: I have a check mark for everyday that I wrote on my calendar and made it a practice to write every morning. It increased the amount I post to my blog based on working with more material. This has been a very enjoyable process for me.
Handstands: I have had many 20 minute sessions in the park and practiced at CrossFit. I have seen a lot of improvement and have had a lot of fun!
Mobility: This is another item I have on the daily checklist. I have struggled with this because sometimes it is enjoyable and other times it is just a pain in the ass. Literally. But I am committed to working on my knee and the rest of my body.
Read: I have been reading more! I read the entire CrossFit training guide and I am in the process of finishing Loving What Is. I have also read a TON of blogs and information online. I also bought a GOOD magazine.
The Fire Starter Sessions (FSS): I love this book. Danielle LaPorte is awesome and the book is beautiful. Maria and I have been meeting about FSS and it is amazingly therapeutic and motivating. We’re lighting shit up!
CrossFit Certification: done and done! I attended the weekend course, which was great, and I past the test! BAM! PLUS, I applied for a job at San Francisco CrossFit and guess what?! I GOT THE JOB! The cert has already paid off.
Writing this has been so satisfying. Earlier I felt like the March list was way too long. However looking at all the progress that I have made for each item, I can see that I have actually been quite successful! WhatWhat!!! I think that one thing that would allow me to see progress more is by recording small measurable benchmarks or each. That would look like this:
Goal: Record daily check marks, record time spent on activity and other detailed notes.
I am halfway there. I have recorded most of this stuff, but I could get into the details if I wanted to see more numerical results.
So let’s circle back to the beginning. What is my #1 goal?
My number one goal is to feel awesome. I’ve been able to pin-point four core feelings that are important to me and I want to connect to those feelings in all that I do. Those four core feelings are: Connection, Clarity, Creative, and Powerful. I don’t have to feel all four of the feelings all the time, but I want clarity in my activities because I think it makes for more harmonious living.
You can read about my twenty-seven #1 goals and how they tap into my core feelings here. If you think that this post is a bunch of bull and that my goal is way too vague, then here are some specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-sensitive (S.M.A.R.T.) goals to feast on:
- Write 2 blog posts every month until September.
- Write at least 20 minutes everyday in April.
- Mobilize for 20 minutes everyday in April.
- Finish Loving What Is and start a new book. (Achieved! April 14, 2013)
- Have at least 1 Interchange counseling session. (Achieved! April 13, 2013)
- Workout at CrossFit at least 3 times each week.
Wild Success! Things that were not on the goal list but make me feel ON FIRE:
- Getting hired at San Francisco CrossFit! I will be working as the part-time Office Manager for 25-30 hours a week. I’m pumped! (Victory dance.)
- Leo Babauta sharing a link to one of my blog posts! I wrote about attending the Mindful + Entrepreneur event Leo hosted with Jesse Jacobs of Samovar Tea Lounge. I sent him the link and he shared it on Tumblr. Feeling pretty awesome about that.
Thanks to Maneesh Sethi for pushing my thoughts about goals a little further.