Hello hello, and welcome to Episode 20 of Life On the Brink!
We’re (cautiously) entering the beautiful season of spring! The end of winter is never a sad parting, and I think many of us, myself included, are full of ideas and optimism as we say goodbye to the cold. Here in Virginia, we’re starting to see the sun quite a bit more as well, which never fails to fill me with energy.
We’re also coming up on ONE YEAR since the start of this global pandemic; it really started for me on March 15 (the Ides of March, ironically). It’s been a super weird and challenging time, but also a time of reflection, pivoting, and priority shifting. Personally, I have learned a lot about myself when it comes to ideas of success, contentment, and what I want my life and legacy to be. I thought I would share some of these thoughts with you today, as I know you also are full of creativity and hope and incredible potential.
Often when we reflect on a passage of our lives, we look for the things we’ve learned, accomplished, and completed. But this year, more than most, has the potential to feel stagnant in memory. It’s all about perspective, and my personal perspective, my idea of success and what it means to have a successful life, has drastically changed. In fact, it still continues to evolve.
I am an Enneagram 3, sometimes called “the achiever”. It’s very much in my nature to want to achieve things, to be “great”, to be seen as successful. Fortunately, once I learned that about myself a couple years ago, it became easier to spot, and I have definitely grown a lot in that.
The largest shift that has taken root in my mind over the last year is this: success in life is not something I can achieve, someone else I can become. It is the way my life is lived.
I don’t want to go through life feeling like I’m always working toward the next thing, never fully appreciating where I am. And while our society can sometimes praise this go-getting, overworking drive for “success”, I have been reframing my paradigm to see my life in smaller moments, in the simple things, in the love of my husband, family, and, above all,
Life is meant to be lived, enjoyed, and while it can and will include tons of goals throughout its length, I’m already here, I’ve arrived.
So where, then, does goal setting fit? If I am enough as is, shall I do nothing forever? Well that’s no fun, really, and doesn’t let you live your life in a full way, I think. It only took a few months of quarantine to show us that, in fact, we hate doing nothing.
Whereas before, I used to see my life, my future, as a series of goals, always leading toward some big thing, some purpose, now I see them as an opportunity to broaden my mind and heart.
In short, whatever goal you set is to increase your enjoyment of life, not to increase your value.
Once this framework is set in your mind, let’s look at a few ways we can set some healthy and helpful goals.
What's in my teacup? A blend of ginger-lemon green tea, fresh ginger, and lemon juice that I sweetened and chilled. I’m enjoying it over ice and it’s delicious.
WHY MAKE GOALS?
-Learn a new skill: practicing an instrument, learning a language, equipping yourself for something you want to do
-Change something about your current situation: getting more sleep, drinking more water, improving communication in relationships, saving money
-Personal achievement: earning a degree, submitting to a competition, overcoming a challenge
-You just need something to do: seasonal bucket lists, something you want to do but haven’t gotten around to it (these are fun during quarantine or slower months!)
**A note: Even though these goals should be set by you, it can also benefit others.
Perhaps your goal is to be the best parent you can be, or to show more kindness to someone in your life. When I say that goals ought to come from you and what you actually want, I know that you are kind and full of empathy, and that showing intentional love to others enriches your life.**
WHY NOT TO MAKE GOALS
-It will make you “better” or finally “good enough”
-You want to achieve success
(of course you can be successful in your goal, whatever it is, but I try to be careful not to set a goal just because it feeds into an idea of what success “should be”)
-To be seen
DIFFERENT KINDS OF GOALS (these are mine currently)
Short term, quantifiable goals:
-read 15 books in 2021 (I'm doing well so far!)
-Yoga With Adriene monthly calendar
Long term goals:
-expand my musical repertoire
-improve my Spanish/French
-continue to make the home more reflective of our style and life
-seasonal bucket lists
-plans for this podcast! (ooh la la)
Those are just the goals that I have currently. The important thing to keep in mind, I think, is that if you don't meet a certain goal within a certain timeframe, it's okay. You have time.
Trying is essentially winning already, that's the hardest part. You already know more than you did when you started, or you have more of that skill than before you set the goal.
Have I played as much music as I perhaps would like to since graduating from music school? No, but I definitely know more than I did when I graduated. I'm learning, I'm growing.
So now, I have simply laid out the way I would set (and enjoy) a goal for myself in five simple steps. Here we go...
HOW TO SET A GOAL
1. Think about why you’re setting this goal. Sometimes we do things without ever stopping to ask why. Is it because you want to, or because some outside pressure says you should want to? Is it so you can enjoy your life better, or because you want to “make yourself better”?
2. The smaller the better. If it’s a big thing like “Learn French”, break it down like “study for 5 min every day," or whatever works for you. Slowly, those 5 minutes a day really add up.
3. Remember that you’re already winning just by trying. “Failing” at a goal is still more than you did before.
4. Share it with someone who will get excited with you. Telling someone else is empowering and makes the thing more real, so find someone who is actually invested in you, and who will love you no matter the outcome.
(maybe think twice when thinking of sharing on social media. Of course, you ought to share things you're excited about, just know yourself. If it becomes a pressure and is about impressing people on the other end of your phone, I'd say your energy is better spent elsewhere)
5.Enjoy the fruit of this goal, whatever it is. Celebrate!
And voila, we are slowly but surely becoming more aware of who we are and enjoying life to its fullest. Without pressure, without having to reinvent ourselves, but growing effectively, and in a very fun way.
This might be a different approach to setting a goal. Or maybe this is the way you've been thinking about it the whole time (in which case, Bravo! because it's taken me a minute).
But as we enter the spring season that's full of new life and rebirth and lots of energizing thoughts, I hope that you and I can take some of these new goal setting techniques to enjoy it, and to learn a little bit more about ourselves and the people in the world around us.
This Week's Little Joy: For some reason, every spring, especially early spring, I find myself drawn again into all of my Francophile loves: French music, cooking, style, film, language, all of it. And this Youtube channel, Parisian Vibe, is just the kind of thing I love. There are videos on French style, skincare, BREAKFAST, etc. and it's just lovely. Also, their Instagram page is constantly updated with posts and reposts that are classic and beautiful, and such an inspiration to me at the moment.
What I'm Listening To: Inspired by a French album from one of my favorite groups, Pomplamoose, I've put together a little playlist that is happy and light, and filled with French words that one day I will understand. Most of the tunes are by that group, I've just added a few more here and there that are also wonderful and also sung by women. Bonne écoute!
Thanks so much for listening!
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Feel free to reach out with ideas for future episodes, and until next time, have a lovely week.