Anti-Goals, Part Deux

Comedy and Tragedy, Which is Which?

Ya know, I think I really got me onto something with those Anti-Goals from my last post. I wrote mostly in jest, but then again, not really, as those are behaviors and thoughts that I struggle with and it was good to name them with high irony. And while I don’t think I’m alone in my difficulties, I must work through them alone in person in realtime in this life.


What’s that quote about happy and unhappy families? Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy, first line…. Being “unhappy” in one’s own way, even if it seems mundane, means needing singularly specific “happiness apps” as remedies, which requires close and personal attentiveness.

Point is, once one knows one’s devil-enemies, the playing field and/or battleground cannot help but change as well. And that, too, demands a tricky and confusing mobility of soul, not to mention of thought and behavior.

No wonder it’s so hard to attempt to change for the better! Everything is changing anyway, my mind, my mood, my give-a-shit…what the hell does it take? How, oh how, to sustain Positive Change through All Change? I loosely quote the insightful potter Annie Chrietzberg, “What don’t you get about the change-yness of change?” Exactly.

Well, I get that I am a Contrarian. I get that I need to take on both sides – the Either/Or – before I resolve to the Both/And or The Third….which brings actual change to sticky places. Once The Third is perceived, duality crumbles and all manner of 4ths, 5ths, 6ths…..Infinite-ths arise. It gets juicyfun again, too.

Continuing in the vein I started last post, I need to counter those snarky S.M.A.R.T. goals, whose very left-brain linear clarity propels me smack into petulant inaction.

I tried making my Anti-Goals S.M.A.R.T. by identifying their Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound components. That led to Action Items like this one: Raise FreeCell Win Percentage from 34% to 35% by end of the week. What a beautifully written goal, but just as unmotivating as any.

Instead, I found it edifying, even cleansing, to propose S.T.U.P.I.D. goal criteria and here they are:

S.T.U.P.I.D. Criteria

S = Self-Sabotaging
T = Time-wasting
U = Unhealthy
P = Punitive
I = Impossible
D = Diffuse

This is my happiness app, doing things like this – though it is ultimately about the liberation of getting out by going through.

I pretty much find both the S.M.A.R.T. and S.T.U.P.I.D. criteria examples of the Either/Or camp and now that they’re resolved a tad – because I am more aware of what I want and of what I don’t want to aim for – I get to boogie around in the Both/And arena hopefully discovering what I truly need to do, be, attract, attain and what discipline and order I need to bring to those practices and tasks. If that’s what I get out of this, great, but if I get something else, I’ll deal.

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Anti-Goals 2011

You can't have one without the other!

It’s January. It’s time to light a candle and seek resolved renewal in the cold, dark and wet. Time to aim the mind’s sextant out into the chill, clear soulnight at one’s personal North Star and set a course. Time to clear away, focus and make lists of goals. Timeframes. Working Plans. Mission Statements. Tasks. All that. Or not.

I’m workin’ on it, sorta. I belong to a few formal and informal circles where this is a daily discussion item. Some of the participants have pages and pages of S.M.A.R.T. goals. Some wish they did too. I’m not convinced.

I think I want Goals. I think I hate them because they’re too constricting and ultimately I become mulish or openly rebel or I change them drastically, so what’s the use of getting so officially worked up in the first place? I’m not the Boss of Me!

Even when I actually craft a juicy, heartfelt, authentic list of things to do and be, I notice I’m good at mistaking Goal Setting for actual achievement. Like walking through a stage set flat of a house and not a real house.

Still I feel the need to periodically choose a few directions and some supporting behaviors, both personal and professional. I think it was Yogi Berra who said, “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going because you might not get there.” Be afraid of that! That way lies the abyss, the labyrinth, the black hole of meaninglessness. Honest. Or maybe it’s a Zen thing.

So, this January, to help me call my own bluff…to harness my Inner Mule and and amuse my Wild Child: Anti-Goals.

Just think of things you think, do, and are that seem to prevent you from living that Best Life. Write ’em down. Start seeing the What Not To Wear version of your Goals. What gets revealed might just be the very thing you needed to know to start wearing your true colors.

Anti-Goals for 2011

1. Wake up daily with a sense of overwhelming dread.

2. Let perfectionism and fear of success lead to entrenched procrastination.

3. Say Yes to nearly all requests from others.

4. Remain sedentary.

5. Eat and drink nervously and unconsciously.

6. Discount all money matters; spend anyway.

7. Believe that gathering lots of artistic ideas is just as good as making art.

8. Wait to be discovered.

9. Lurk online.

10. When discouraged, do nothing. OK, whine about it and let The Voice berate your spinelessness.

11. Harbor professional jealousy and keep score.

12. Bemoan how far behind you’ve gotten.

So, there’s a dozen for you. They come easier and easier and they humor, soothe and direct me in ways my Good-Girl-You-Get-An-A+ Puritan Workaholic Get ‘er Done Checklist Self never knew. Auspicious…

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