To start something new, we need a plan. It is one thing to talk about lofty life plans – something I do with what some might call alarming frequency – but it is another thing entirely to actually do something about it. Moving from thought into action can be trickier than it sounds though, even on things I want to do.
Part of my own problem is that I’m quite comfortable doing nothing. I’m not someone that gets bored very easily. Don’t get me wrong, I can be ADD and move haphazardly from project to project to project (as I write this I’m thinking about a project at work, looking up tax law for married couples, and scanning some old photos into the computer). So maybe I could word it in a more positive light, that I am very skilled at filling my time. I don’t look at a free day and go, boy, how am I possibly going to keep busy all that time? For me, that part comes naturally.
But using that time to actually accomplish something is quite different, and I’m not always good on that end. One of my favorite words is productivity. Doesn’t that word just give you shivers of satisfaction? I know I feel amazing when I get things done. We take an (almost) nightly walk around the neighborhood, and if during that I can say “I had a productive day today” I feel really good about that. Simple pleasures.
Yet I can’t seem to shake the habit of procrastination. I’m always getting things done, but I tend to let things hang about for a bit before I can find the motivation to finish them off. I wouldn’t say this is a huge problem, because I do get things done when they need to be done, but it is definitely an area of improvement I could work on.
This becomes more of an issue when your goals are vague. Whenever I list my goals, I always write useless crap like “Eat better”. What does that mean? How do I reach that goal, and how do I know it when I do? Did I eat more veggies than usual? Did I cut back on dressing? Did I eat two fewer cookies? But just because I ate better at one moment in time, does that mean I can cross it off my list?
The other day, I publicly gave myself what you might dub a “Super Goal”. Be Awesome. It is sort of a goal, sort of a guiding philosophy, sort of a theme to base all my other goals on. Though I hope to have moments where I can honestly say that in that moment, I am truly living Awesomely, I don’t anticipate I’ll ever cross that goal off my list. I just don’t think it is likely to reach a steady state of Awesome, unless you are truly an exceptional person.
What I need to do is look at my life and figure out all the things I need to change. What is working and can be enhanced; what is a mess and needs to be completely rethought. So, homework time. For me, I’m going to sit down and come up with a plan. Steps to take from beginning to end of the goal making/achieving process. For you: wait, did you totally just freak out that I said the word homework? I know, that is another word that has a lot of bad connotations around it, doesn’t it? But let’s be honest. If you want to live a life that is more extraordinary than it is right now, you’re going to have to do something about it, right? Don’t worry, this particular homework assignment can be as easy as you want to make it. No ten page essays that you have to turn in. Cause I’m not your teacher. I’m not grading you. I’m living this experiment right along with you, and I want you to join me, not follow me. Let’s do it together.
Just start thinking about your life. Are you happy? What are the things that make you happy? Are you proud of your choices? Have you accomplished the things you meant to? Where do you want to be in five years? In ten? Don’t feel you need to take this exercise too far. While these are all great questions to really examine, at this point just take a poll to get the general flavor of what your satisfaction level is. Then I’ll be back with a plan to make it better.
This is part of a six part series.
Continue here: Step 1: Choose