The Lazy Man’s Guide to Goal Setting for the New Year

3 01 2019

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Did you wake up an hour earlier to do that run or forgo that cookie after dinner?

Yeah, me either.

The excitement and prospect of starting anew is so intoxicating…until it comes time to do it.

I went to the gym today – not because it was January 2nd, but because it was Wednesday. The parking lot was full. By now, we are all familiar with the peaks of gym memberships in January and then the nosedive for each subsequent month after that (with the exception of April/May when thoughts of summer give some of us a second wind).

I can’t speak for you but I know that history has taught me the hard way that the self-loathing associated with NOT following through with something far surpasses the excitement of “a new start”.

The good news is that this is where being present in the moment can really pay off. Rather than focusing on how much progress you are making toward your goals for a long period of time, this is a good way to give you a daily dose of encouragement and if it turns out to be a failure for the day (and there will always be days like that), you always have another one.

The question is how to do this without feeling like it’s half-assed and there’s no real commitment. Here’s a suggestion that seems to work for me: I have a list of 5 things with a goal of making sure I hit at least three of them each day. Truth is, I may only get to two of them but this way, it assures me that I am always keeping important things front and center.

So, I may have exercise, meditate, write, stretch and work on music as my 5 items. Each day, I try to work on at least 3. As I mentioned above, this can be challenging – especially with kids, work and other responsibilities (not to mention the unexpected water leak or blown tire) that can take priority. What it does for me, however, is ease up on the end goal (run a marathon, complete 15 pages of a script, finish recording the song) while not deflecting from the actions that will ultimately get me there.

It’s not ideal and I’ll probably never make it onto a Tim Ferris podcast but it works for me. Maybe because it is too discouraging to see how slow progress is any other way.

So, on this 2nd day of the New Year, if you’re already wondering if any of those ideas ruminating around your head may ever come to fruition – welcome to the lazy man’s goal setting for 2019. Good luck and let me know how it works out.

Until next time,

Marc





A Most Significant February

13 02 2016

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I don’t even know where to start. This is the shortest month of the year and it’s not even over and it has been one for the books.

This has been quite the month – divorce final on the 3rd, confirmed my job will be ending this year on the 11th and very possibly selling  my house (for a loss) somewhere in the remaining 16 days.

At the same time, my mother is doing great after having had heart surgery, my dad is doing equally well, the kids are well and I have had terrific feedback with both comedy and my songwriting. Perhaps the internal forces that were waiting to finally be listened to could not be heard in light of the life that had to be left behind. It’s the yin and yang, the pleasure and pain, I guess.

There’s no grand plan to leave it all behind and start over – finally enter that creative universe that I long for. Two kids, college savings and a now badly dented retirement savings requires the practicalities of a “real job” and I am just grateful for those who may be able to help me in that capacity, as well.

What has surprised me, however, is just the wave of almost eery calm that seems to accompany what might be considered “bad news.” The fact is, for me, and I suppose many others, I am much better off with knowing than not knowing, even if the knowing is not good. The in-between stage of waiting, wondering, hoping, fearing, surmising and assuming is a purgatory that is not relegated for the faint of heart. At least with knowing, there can be action – or, in my case, more definitive action.

The same day that I learned about my work situation, I also viewed both my kids’ report cards – straight A’s with the exception of high Bs in honors math for both of them. They are doing amazingly – both academically and socially. I have nothing to complain about. I am convinced that, however difficult this period is for them (and for me), it is where we are all supposed to be in this journey. If I never receive a promotion, check off the items on the bucket list or “make it”, it is of no consequence because I am sure that my purpose in life was to make sure that these two kids were here at this time. I don’t know why….yet. But I am sure.

It makes me happy to finally get toward some resolution. By the summer, I will be in a new place with a new job (hopefully) and a new tax filing status. On a recent TED Talk podcast, the subject was about resiliency from people who had to exhibit tremendous fortitude – much greater than I had to. It was mentioned, as it often is, that we don’t really know what we are made of until we are put in situations that really test us. I agree with this fully. I also think that we don’t know why we are here sometimes until we are put in these situations. The truth is that the steps that continue to forward my path to wherever it is meant to go are the exact ones that I may never have ever followed were it not for some very, very tough times, decisions and truths.

I hope that we all have the resiliency we need to call upon the strongest parts of our being when we are called to do so and that we are supported along the way.

Until next time,

Marc








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