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.
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.
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:
- Get ride of stuff: clarity, freedom, mobility, focus
- Learn Hootsuite: transferable skills, powerful, contribute, connection
- Surf vacation: relaxed, connection, powerful, mobile, focused
- Write/Blog: connection, contribute, powerful, relaxed, understanding, reflection, commitment
- 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
I recently read a short and sweet article on how to solve issues surrounding purpose and motivation by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits. His solution is simple: help other people. Since I am one of many who struggles with finding my purpose (actively struggling here), I believe I would benefit from this advice. Being in my mid-20’s, I can see how self-centered my life currently is and I would like to shift my focus from self-serving to providing a service. I am enjoying this phase and doing self-improvement has always been a passion of mine, but I definitely strive to create connections with my community and I feel powerful when I help others. Babauta explains that the most important element of this concept is the shift in focus, from being concerned about one’s own hurdles or blocks, to asking “where can I contribute?”
In order to shift from self-analyzation to community-contributor mode, Babauta lists some excellent questions. “What can I do to help people in need?” or “What problems are out there that strangers might have, that my particular skill set could solve?” I think that this is a brilliant way to reframe our approach to finding purpose in our daily lives. Though simple, this is tricky because it is a significant change in mindset.
I am experimenting with a 14-day challenge based on this article because getting into the habit of shifting focus is one I would like to cultivate. In my last Interchange weekend we engaged in a practice where we laughed for 20 minutes, cried for 20 minutes, and then sat in silence for 20 minutes. This is the ultra-mini version of the Osho Mystic Rose meditation. The goal of this practice is to “bring out all the poison of your being”. It calls upon us to fully engage in the practice of laughter, tears, and observation in order to clear away generations of pain. The connection for me here is that these things are not so easy, but with regular practice we can make monumental shifts within ourselves. Babauta’s suggestion of lending your focus to others requires you to become more aware of your thought processes and be committed to changing the way you pose questions. The 14 day challenge that I am currently engaged with is just a baby step: I am noticing where and how I contribute to others and my community everyday. I do not push myself to take it past observation, but sometimes it occurs to me “how can I help today?”
Babauta then adds a couple of other steps that are generally great rules to live by. They echo “have the courage to start small.” I have about 20 different 14 day challenges kicking around in my head, but I have to remind myself: Keep It Simple! It is best to focus on one thing. When Stevo and I are analyzing a goal or a task, he asks me what the likelyhood is that I will accomplish it, on a scale of 1-10. If my answer is not a confident 9 or a 10, we back up and come up with a smaller step. In reality, like here and now, of course we all have a bajillion things going on in our lives. But if you can come up with one 14 day challenge, or one intention for your day, your chance of success is much higher. And that’s what we want to do, we want to set ourselves up for success. Why? Because as Babauta writes:
“It’s quite nice.”
“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”
Yes, let us talk of many things! I am beginning the process of dismantling my 27×27. It is indeed time to dissect them in a bit more detail. Keep in mind (I’m saying this to myself), that this a process, and an emerging theme is to be patient, as well as forgiving with oneself. Ideally, with others, too. In an effort to dismantle this list, I’m going to explore each goal and reflect on which of my desired core feelings I hope to fulfill. First let me explain my core desired feelings. I did Danielle LaPorte’s worksheet from the Firestarter Sessions and currently have a list of 4 feelings that I seek in almost everything I do. They are as follows:
- Clarity: I want to feel confident and clear in all aspects of life.
- Connection: I want to feel connected in mind, body, and relationships (community).
- Creative: I want to think creatively, as well as engage in the act of creation.
- Powerful: I want to feel strong, influential, and as though I am utilizing my natural gifts.
OK, let’s tear it up.
1. Write my 12 commandments. Thanks to Gretchen Rubin and my good friend, Angie, I have 12 commandements that feel pretty amazing to me. Desired outcome: Clarity, Connection, Powerful. Wouldn’t mind framing these somewhere:
- Be Lara.
- Forgive, you do not have to forget.
- Embrace vulnerability.
- Express gratitude.
- Pursue opportunities wholeheartedly.
- Enjoy the process.
- Act how you want to feel.
- Be patient and compassionate.
- Be here now.
- If I can’t get out of it, I’ll get into it, and learn something.
- I am exactly where I need to be.
2. Take a vacation. I have not done this and it is definitely staying on the list. I read an article recently suggesting that it is best to plan vacations at the beginning of the year. That way you have something to look forward to and you make sure to set aside the time to make it happen. I am happy to say that I have a ticket to Washington booked for a friends wedding and am planning another friends bachelorette party in California. Desired outcome: Connection, Creative.
3. Express your feelings and record how it went. This is an effort to be honest and clear with myself and others. It’s a resolution that I am hoping will help me observe myself in difficult scenarios. I would like to have a deeper understanding of myself in conflict situations and of my reactions during sensitive conversations. I’ve only been partially successful. This is likely something that is going to come off my list and needs to be developed differently. I find I am fulfilling this is different ways, such as Interchange and writing regularly. Desired outcome: Clarity, Powerful, Connection.
4. Write 3 love letters. Valentine’s day has come and gone, thank God, but I would like to keep in the spirit of telling people that I love them and then elaborating on how incredibly awesome they are. This goal is going to be incorporated into my art projects and the desire to write more mail again. Desired outcome: Connection, Creative. When was the last time you write someone a love note? Go ahead, I dare you. Make it juicy. (#snailmail)
5. Read the Happiness Project. Done and done! Enjoyed it a lot! Desired outcome: Creative.
6. Job Applications/Interviews/New Work. Accomplished x3! Thanks to Debbie Steingesser and my guardian angel Maree, I am living and working in San Francisco. Desired outcome: Connection, Powerful.
7. Interchange. I have attended every weekend class so far, the program ends in June. Desired outcome: Clarity, Powerful, Connection.
9. Move. Did this twice. Check and check. Desired outcome: Connection.
10. Say “Yes” Day. I don’t think I need this. I’m such a “Yay”-sayer, out there, battling Nay-sayers all day long. What the hell is a say “yes” day anyway? I think I already hate this. Desired outcome: Creative.
11. Ride the 7 Hells, I mean Hills of SF. Angie and I were going to do this, I believe we ended up drinking and doing a joy-ride instead. There’s always next year! Desired outcome: Powerful.
12. Go to a Yoga class. After not doing any yoga for a full year, I finally did a 2 week intensive with an intro pass to Fluid Yoga in the Inner Sunset. Love it. Desired outcome: Connection, Powerful.
13. Make mail art. I already organized and hosted a mail art party and participated in the Snail Mail My Email Project. Always in the back of my mind, this goal is more based on documenting the process or finished project. Desired outcome: Connection, Creative.
14. Do 5 strict pull-ups. Well, shit. I guess I will have to count how many I can do already. I believe it’s 3. I’ve fallen in love with kipping pull-ups, but the goal is to do 5 strict. Hmm. Desired outcome: Connection, Powerful.
15. Do 20 consecutive awesome push-ups. Do we sense a theme here? I can’t remember if I was just trying to come up with ideas for 27 goals or what. I actually think that these two goals are important, basic movements that will be helpful in my breakdancing career. (!!) Desired outcome: Connection, Powerful.
16. Plan a bike trip. This can be anything from a one-nighter to something epic. We will see. This goal goes arm-in-arm with the vacation goal. It’s important for me to have some adventure in my life, get outside, get dirty, get hungry, and see the world. Desired outcome: Connection, Powerful.
17. Books. I want to read everything! I am not so stoked on book reviews, but I like to keep a running book list of things that I have read. I’m trying to get this online. It’s nice to be able to reflect on it. Desired outcome: Connection, Creative, Powerful.
18. Art project. I would like to complete a painting or a drawing. I would like to incorporate this with mail art. Sometimes it seems like too much pressure and then it isn’t any fun anymore. I remember talking to Angie about her goals. We came to the conclusion that if the goals aren’t fun or if we simply weren’t excited by them, then scratch that m-thr-f*cker off. Replace it with something awesome. Desired outcome: Connection, Creative.
19. Purge. Having moved twice, I have done a couple of rounds of getting rid of shit. There is so much more to be done. I’ve been throwing out old clothes, recycling crap papers, and generally trying to touch everything that I own and ask myself “do I need this?” Desired outcome: Clarity.
20. CrossFit and Mobility Gear. I have CrossFit Reebok Nano shoes, my new favs! I have also purchased 2 Voodoo Floss Bands, and some lacrosse balls. Next on the list? ROLLERS. Desired outcome: Connection, Powerful.
21. A new ritual or tradition. I am borrowing this one from other people. I’m not sure how I feel about it. It may not stick with me. This year I ran five miles on a beach in Oregon and swam in the ocean on my birthday. I would like to make it tradition to do some physical activity in a beautiful place and then go swimming on September 30th every year. Desired outcome: Connection.
22. Fix my knee. One of the main motivators for me to finally take CrossFit basics last year in February was because I screwed up my knee a bit training for a marathon. I am not experiencing any pain, but there is plenty of clicking that drives me nuts. Good thing I have the SFCF crew and my mobility tools. Desired outcome: Powerful, Connection.
23. Trained someone at work. I recently helped a friend get a job at Suppenkueche. Then I got to train her! I was honored that my boss asked me to. It was a major ego boost and has made me much more confident in my job and my ability to contribute to our team. Desired outcome: Connection, Powerful.
24. Blog my 27×27. That means at least 27 blog posts by my birthday. This is because I love working on goal setting and I love writing about it. It is becoming increasingly evident how important writing is to me and how much I value it as a tool. I do not think of myself as a strong writer, but I love the process and I love it as a form of communication. I think it’s beautiful and powerful. I figure the only way I’ll ever be even half decent is if I practice. A lot. So here I am. In the throes of my 14 day writing challenge. Desired outcome: Clarity, Connection, Creative, and Powerful.
25-27 are either none of your business or I’m simply too embarrassed and self conscious to write about them publicly at this time. In an effort to get completely out of my comfort zone this year, I am hoping that I will get drunk some night and post them regardless. Listening to BlogcastFM and attending Interchange, both lead me to think that perhaps facing those fears and sitting with intense discomfort is often the greatest learning experience you can have.
Here are a few other things that I am working on that will easily replace some of the things above (or simply be added to the list): CrossFit Open Games, CrossFit Level 1 Certification, eat a new flavor of ice cream, eat Paleo (LOVE that I thoughts of this after Ice Cream,HA!), frame some photos, fix my bicycle, watch a million mobility videos, listen to all 200 interviews on BlogcastFM, find a mentor, finish Live Your Legend packet, complete Firestarter Sessions, tour the Armory (kink.com), enjoy a classy beverage in the new kink.com bar, and get a massage.
In writing all of this, I find myself asking “what’s the point?” So I am looking up the word dismantle and here is the definition I found: to take to pieces; also: to destroy the integrity or functioning of, to strip of dress or covering.
After reading the definition,I feel like I am scrambling to piece my 27 goals together and have them all fit neatly into a box. Like a sweet package, little nugget goals. In order to push the dismantling further along I have to ask: what is the original function of my 27×27? The list is based purely on my age, so the number is a bit arbitrary. It is supposed to be a fun way for me to think of concrete things I would like to do and resolutions or habits that I would like to develop in my life. I would like to be an active and present participant in my life, I’m not interested in being passive or denying personal responsibility during my short time on Earth.
Does dismantling my list mean blowing it to smithereens? Does it mean destroying the structure? I want to strip this list naked and look at it differently. I think this means getting rid of the numbering, deciphering between goals and resolutions, and then organizing them into a sequential format where they can build on each other. Whew, this is making me sweat.
Stevo and I have discussed arranging goals into buckets. That’s cool, I like buckets. That’s what I am attempting to do with the desired outcomes, connecting each goal to a desired core feeling. This allows me to strip the numbering from the 27×27 and arrange them into categories of things that I would like to achieve in my life. How can I push this further?
“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
“You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?’
But answer came there none–
And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.