i believe in goals

September 7, 2011

in which i argue with leo babauta
i LOVE the blog zen habits. leo’s posts are often beautiful and always make me think. but yesterday he posted something that just made me cringe a little, and i wanted to respond:

here are his suggestions, and my thoughts . . .

forget about getting organized. according to leo, you should choose to simplify instead so that your world doesn’t require any true ‘organization’. ie: a near-empty closet; a spare desk; a day without appointments [or with only one or two]. i’m so glad that this works for him, but i think that choosing to be busy and active is an equally valid option. choosing to have enough shoes to put into a rainbow has its merits, too, at least for me. finally, there are [important! valuable!] careers where having “1 or 2 appointments” in one’s day just isn’t an option — we’ll just take medicine as an example. perhaps this is great advice for a freelance writer or someone who need to spend much of the day in deep concentration, but i’ll hold on to my planner, thanks.

don’t keep an idea list, because if it’s a REALLY great idea, you’ll act on it immmediately! again, this may be possible in the lifestyle of a freelance writer. but for those of us with more structured jobs, i don’t believe it to be necessarily true. furthermore, some of the ideas that i like to list AREN’T big ideas — they’re little ones. day trips to take, books i want to read, restaurants to try, movies to watch. not only do they come in handy, but for me keeping lists like this is actually FUN. why stop?

hey, i’ve gotten to 2/4!
minimize your goals leo suggests that instead of 10 that 1 or even none* [shudder] is preferable. i actually think he has a point here, despite my predilection for numerous new years resolutions. but i believe that what actually works best for me in practice is dividing larger goals up into smaller ones to make things feel more manageable. and this sometimes means more of them!

*and don’t even get me started on this ‘no goal’ business. for me, setting, working towards, and meeting goals truly does contribute to my happiness. caveat: those goals must come from within [ie: not a construct of society or what someone else wants for me]

don’t bother with tracking yourself quote: “If I focus on tracking the running (mileage, speed, VO2 max, intervals, etc), that takes the enjoyment away from the activity (running) and focuses on the results.” interesting, because for me tracking absolutely makes things MORE fun. i love to create and follow training plans and it’s so much fun to watch myself improve. i don’t think that i would enjoy running an UNTIMED marathon.

i can’t believe i used to be able to do this
to-do lists are overkill. choose one or two things you’d like to get done, instead. again, i am happy that this works for some but if i don’t have the motivation of a check-box there are certain things i am NEVER going to make myself do. i fervently stand by my lists!

super old super-list!
there’s no need to give yourself breaks from ‘work’ because you should only be working on things you love. i’m going to use medical training as an example again, since that is what i know.

perhaps one’s goal is to become a surgeon, or say . . . a pediatric endocrinologist. there are days that are incredibly rewarding, and the light at the end of the tunnel shines bright: the ability to practice medicine competently and independently in a way that is rewarding for both the practitioner and the patients.

but the road is long. it involves a million [or so] tests to study for, rotations in the ICU that perhaps DO NOT align with your ultimate goals [but are required!], sleep deprivation [never fun], and then years in a research lab [perhaps not your cup of tea]. is leo really saying that every day i am supposed to get up and LOVE what i do 100% of the time? if everyone followed this tenet, i am pretty sure there would be NO physicians-in-training left. and i consider myself one of the lucky ones, often heading to work with a smile.

so in conclusion, while i love reading leo babauta’s thoughts and ideas, i do not always agree with him [and in this case, disagree pretty much 100%]. what are your thoughts?

as promised
i did end up trying this tracey mallett workout dvd yesterday.

when i first started it, i was worried. tracey was bright and cheery and . . . well, more than a little bit cheesy to start out with. we were marching in place to begin and even josh turned away from his computer screen for a second to send me a dubious look. but 35 minutes later, i had worked up a mild sweat, definitely got my heart rate elevated, and worked my upper body without killing myself à la the shred. the ‘cardio’ moves are low impact, so think about grapevines and box steps instead of jumping jacks.

i’d say this dvd was at the level of intensity of a brisk walk, with a bit more action for the butt/thighs [good amount of plie squats]. but it was more interesting than going for a walk [at least it was the first time] and there was some upper body work with light weights that was at least SOMETHING more than i have been doing recently! and — i’m sore today, for whatever reason. so, i will definitely be doing it again!

are there better DVDs out there? probably. this is the only one i’ve tried! i’m thinking of also checking out the summer sanders workout, as well — and will report back. i also have a prenatal yoga dvd on its way to me [jennifer wolfe] that i can’t wait to try!

comfort dinner
ezekiel english muffin. salmon salad [with celery!]. melty provolone. DINNER.

oh yeah, and some pickles too
gratuitous melted-cheese shot!