Monday, December 21, 2009

The Mother of All Goals

We are rapidly approaching the time for New Year's Resolutions.  I don't go all out and resolve to loose fifty pounds or workout everyday or read Kafka or apply to medical school.  Been there, done that.  All those are good things, but now I use the New Year time more as an opportunity to recheck and realign my plan.  What worked this year? What didn't work this year?  Is my plan getting me closer to the Mother of All Goals.

What, you ask, is the MAG?  I'm so glad you asked.  It is to be the Captain of My Day.  Or Major.  Or Rear Admiral.  What-have-you.  I want the financial freedom to spend my day drinking spiced rum and watching Battlestar Galactica reruns.  Or spend five hours a day training for the synchronized knitting trials (I'll beat those damn Kenyans).  Or learning to speak proper English.  You get the picture. 

Hopefully, I will use my freedom for something worthwhile.  Maybe not.  Either way, I will be the one who decides.  Now, pass me the rum and frak off.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Love the Goal You’re With

A major factor in goal-setting success is the suppression of competing activities. I had a major Competing Activity flare up this last week. I got into my head that I was going to learn how to design websites. That is all fine and good. Only thing is, I have a Major test on Wednesday. This test is an integral part of a critical goal. It is, however, the middle. The most boring part of any goal arc. The middle miles, ick.

The beginning is so full of promise and planning. The end is blooming with victory. The middle is, well, the middle. If I am going to drop the ball, this is the place. I become obsessed with some new fangled idea. It is the best idea I've ever had. It is all I can think about. And then I'm off in another direction, my original goal left high and dry. Or, I get engrossed in novel after novel. I start reading like a starving man eats. Luckily, I've learned to catch myself. When I start spending an unusual amount of time thinking about something unrelated to my goals, I ask myself what I am avoiding. I'm getting better and better at catching my self-sabotage in the early stages.

Moral of the story - If you can't be with the goal you love, love the goal you're with.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Epic Win

On a lighter note, this is a fine example of setting a goal and achieving it. These two guys wanted to make an epic commercial about this mobile home liquidator in Cullman, AL. I say they did.

Just remember, walking and pointing is epic.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hell or High Water

The Hell or High Water Goal: a planned course of action that is adhered to, with complete commitment, no matter what the circumstances.

I began to employ my first Hell or High Water Goal seven years ago. That is when I was dark, moody, quick to anger, and sharp-tongued every day. I didn't like myself very much. I read somewhere that you should find someone that acts like they feel like you want to feel, and act like they do. The author (I can't remember who it was now) said that at first you will feel stupid and phony and people will probably make fun of you. Then something magical happens. Somewhere along the line, you actually begin feeling the way you act.

There was a manager where I worked that acted like he felt like a million bucks every day. Every day he came to work, he had a giant smile on his face. He would slap people on the back and tell them how glad he was to see them. He gave his very best effort at every single thing he did. He was always saying things like, "I'm taking it up a notch, baby." On a scale of 1 to 10 on the cheery scale, he was an 11. My coworkers would roll their eyes at his corniness, but whenever he walked into the room, the mood was elevated significantly.

I thought to myself, I want to feel like a million bucks. So, I tried an experiment. I decided to act just like my manager. I was very theatrical. I walked in all smiles the next day. I complimented every single person I encountered and told them how happy I was to see them. I also did the best job I could do. At first, he thought I was making fun of him. He cocked an eyebrow at me. "I'm upping my game, baby!" I shouted and then high-fived him. I continued to grin like an idiot for the rest of my shift.

Then I went home and got drunk. I was exhausted from the sheer effort of being cheery. I, grudgingly, admitted, though, that it had been kind of fun. So, I tried it again the next day. I got the same weird looks from my coworkers. However, the second day was easier than the first. When I got home, I didn't put my smile away with my uniform. I kept it on for a while and said some nice things to my roommate. By the third day, I realized that while this new attitude still wasn't coming naturally to me, I was enjoying it. I made a decision then and there. Come hell or high water, I was going to have a great attitude at work. Even if it killed me.

Some amazing things started to happen. I went from being a background employee to one that the managers looked to for input. My customers started responding to me in a new way. I began to make friends with some of them and seeing them after work. One of my coworkers, whose bright demeanor clashed with my earlier dark sarcasm, invited me to go with her to a poetry workshop. I found that I enjoyed it immeasurably. I stopped having to work so hard at my cheeriness and found that I wasn't just acting happy anymore. I was starting to actually BE happy.

Now, that's successful goal-setting.