Monday, January 05, 2009

Yeah, Yeah, Goals, Yada, Yada, Yada

My outlook on goals has been rather dismal over the past couple years of my life. I got tired of hearing how goals must be this or that - specific and measurable, etc., etc., etc.

First of all, I have created a problem with the word must. It implies that there is only one way to do a thing, and this is it. That used to bug me. So many people use that word, and when I hear it, little bells go off in my head that warn me that ego is raising its ugly head. And I suppose that is my ego wanting to say, You are wrong, buddy. That is not the only way it can be done.

And for everyone who says a thing must be done in a certain way, I can find at least one other person that accomplished the same thing in another way. Just because you have found a way that works, doesn't make it the way. We must humble ourselves and quit telling everybody else how things must be done. Just kidding! You must not do a damn thing you don't want to do. *wicked grin*

Anyway, I am rethinking goals right now, and I realize that what I react to is mostly semantics. They are just words, and as a good friend recently pointed out, it is our attachment of some meaning to the words that causes our adverse reactions.

And I realize that I have always had my own approach to goals that worked for me. Being fairly balanced between my analytical mind and my creative mind helped with this.

For instance, when all the "expert" advice failed me, I developed my own approach to guiding my children. You can't exactly attach metrics to the goal of bringing up healthy, happy children. The approach for me was similar to Michelangelo's approach to carving David. He saw the David in the chunk of marble and chipped away anything that wasn't part of the David. I saw certain behaviors for my children that I knew would help them in life, and I chipped away at behaviors that I knew would be hurtful. I didn't try to change their personalities, and my approach was not harsh. I was merely more persistent than they were, and I often mirrored for them what their behavior looked like.

So, not all goals are measurable, in the sense that they can be evaluated based on systems of metrics. But that doesn't mean you can't see their effects.

Not only that, they are not all specific. I didn't have a list of things I wanted my children to practice. I merely followed my intuition and noticed when they were moving into behaviors that could be harmful to them, and guided them to make course corrections when needed.

The other issue I have had with goals is that I have experienced them mentally as limitations. If I go after this, I eliminate other possibilities. At least, that's the way I was thinking. I am an explorer by nature, and I would rather go on a trip and discover what's out there than have an agenda.

Now, I am thinking of goals more like ports of call on my cruise through this life experience. Just because I set a goal doesn't mean I am married to it for life. I can stop off there and enjoy it for a while, then sail off to another destination of my choice. I can even change course if I so choose and scrap any destination I have set for another, more appealing one.

However, I am still totally unsure of any five year plans. Looking at the rate at which change is happening in our world today, I think three months is long enough to look ahead. We only have today, anyway, and we may not even have later today. This moment is all we have for sure, so let's not put off enjoying our lives for when some goal or other is reached. Tomorrow never comes. Neither does later.

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