Resolutions Review #06: Dropping Internalized Goals, Developing Conviction

Recapping July’s Review

Last month I was very bored with my goals, and temporarily dropped them. Curious why I was feeling such boredom, I reviewed my current goals by drawing two maps of what I thought my life looked like, comparing them to the old map I’d drawn in 2009.

After quite a bit of thought, I had two takeaways:

  • I was disconnected from people, including myself. I am primarily driven by the feeling of connectedness between what I’m doing and other people’s aligned deep interests/needs. None of my current projects was really hitting home in that regard.
  • I wanted to try a different kind of productivity approach, which I called “gathering-style” productivity that would somehow avoid the need to manage my tasks and time. I knew that when I am in problem-solving mode, a lot of my motivational issues go away and “good stuff happened”; the trick is getting myself INTO that mode.

Though July initially seemed to be going poorly because not a lot of specific tasks were getting DONE, I think I’ve gained a new perspective on my need to express myself.

What Happened in July

I took about two weeks off, not really planning to but I needed the time to recuperate from the bigger June push on my paying project work. One of my cats also passed away, which had a depressing effect on my soul. I dropped daily planning and daily livestreams, instead just trying to focus on a handful of tasks for the day. It had been difficult to maintain a positive attitude toward work that seemed isolating and of little interest to anyone but myself.

There have been some positive developments, too.

  • I’ve been going to the gym regularly three times a week and doing 30-to-45 minute of cardio in the late evening.
  • I have found a kind of simple rhythm in just setting a few goals a day, and not worrying so much about when I do them. It seems my limit is around 9 tasks max for an entire day, and for once I am not comparing myself to a hypothetical super-productive person. I’m starting to get comfortable with the amount of work I can accomplish in a day instead of feeling slightly ashamed that it isn’t more.
  • I had started seeing a therapist, partly out of curiosity and partly out of the thought that maybe a professional could help me sort through how I perceived myself. An interesting breakthrough as a result of these sessions is that I’ve come to recognize “circles of identity” that have been part of my life since I was a small child. There’s five or six such circles, all layered under the general umbrella of who am I and where do I fit in. This has been sucking-up a lot of my mental processing over my lifetime, but I’ve started to adjust it toward defining and expressing who I want to be rather than letting external circumstances dictate how I should conform. It’s pretty interesting, actually.

It seems like I’m starting to gain a new sense of life balance that wasn’t there before, just from simplifying my daily routine and giving myself permission to do it. This has allowed me, I believe, to recover from a mental exhaustion that had been building up from having so many goals that I was not accomplishing. Perhaps a good way to summarize July would be that I’ve been learning how to accept my limits and be OK with that.

What I’m looking at for August

I’ve been feeling more positive, so let me review the GHDR goals that I set at the beginning of the year:

  1. SEARCH FOR MINDBLOWING PRODUCTIVE SYNERGY
  2. RUN A NEAT SIDE BUSINESS
  3. DEVELOP CREATIVE INTERDEPENDENCE
  4. PUSH ON THE 10-YEAR GOALS FOR 2024

I think these may no longer be goals, but they are instead reflective of my life principles and desires. They are deeply embedded in my psyche at this point, so I am going to stop itemizing them.

Likewise, the guiding metrics that I was using to prioritize the strategic value of a given task are as follows:

  • Do I Gain Mastery through the Work?
  • Do I Reduce Frustration & Increase Wellbeing?
  • Am I Not Bored / Less Isolated?
  • Does this help Develop the Cool Side Business?
  • Does this contribute to my Aspirational 2024 Goals?

As I had said before, these are all part of my theoretical equation for personal happiness, but I think I know them well enough now that I am also dropping them as strict guideline to follow because I’ve internalized all these metrics a long time ago.

So what takes the place of these old goals and principles in my theater of my attention? I think there are two new directives:

(1) REVIVE MY ABILITY TO SHARE THOUGHTS FREELY ON A WEB PLATFORM – That feeling of being disconnected comes, I think, from holding-in a lot of what I’ve been thinking. The nature of my thinking is changing from the carefree experimenter that blogs conversationally to something more hard-core and research oriented. In other words, I want to step up my writing and thinking game publicly.

(2) HAVE THE CONVICTION TO EXPRESS WHO I AM, WHAT I LIKE, AND WHY – This is about finding my leadership bone, and also relates to promoting the ideas that I think are worth sharing not as mere experiments that one can take or leave, but as refined ideas and processes that I have worked long hours to perfect. Some of this is also about finding a community of intelligent and emotionally-compatible comrades on this journey of self-empowerment that I’m on.

I think that these two directives are a result of feeling more confident that what I am doing is of value and interest to more than just me. Also, I am increasingly able to let go of the expectations of other people; this is something I thought I had already mastered, but I did it only half-way. While I was pretty comfortable with coming up with my own expectations for what works or didn’t work with regards to process, I was not comfortable with this emotionally. I did not want to upset people or be otherwise unrelatable, and I suppressed a lot of my own thoughts because I felt few people understand them. Moving forward, I think I need to try to amplify my thoughts rather than modulate them such that they appeal to the broadest common denominator. My hypothesis is that by being more intensely thoughtful, I may still gain increased connection with people even though I lose more of the general audience. The challenge i to be able to write accessibly for the specialist audience and (this is the hard part) at a world-class level of quality. I think it will come, but only if I set the bar high for myself.

With these thoughts in mind, here’s my action items for the month:

  • Action Item 1: Organically rebuild the website by any means necessary, piece-by-piece. This is not the kind of project that will ever be finished. Instead, it will be a process of continual refinemene. Applying the “gathering model” to this goal, it means doing regular passes at understanding the new web technologies I need to learn and applying them experimentally to my content building. I have a strong grasp of what needs to happen and how to approach it; I just need to focus on the reality of building something that I can hold in my head for fifteen minutes at a time.

  • Action Item 2: Meet my minimum sustainable requirements for the day. I’ve worked out that my minimum billable hours per day are 1.25 hours each day of the week, for an average of 10 hours per week. While that won’t make me rich, it will pay for my minimal expensives. Likewise, there’s the minium gym/cardio requirement and the daily maintenance chores that, all together, really don’t take that long. If I can get this minimum effort to fit into a few hours, that would potentially unlock a lot of time to work on OTHER projects.

Once I get both those action items turned into something resembling habit, I will then see about reviving my livestreaming, Patreon form design, and educational gme development activities.

So that’s the goal this month! See ya in September!



About this Article Series

For my 2017 Groundhog Day Resolutions, I'm challenging myself to pursue mindblowing productive synergy as a way to energize myself to do those boring (but necessary!) foundational projects like "making a living". All the related posts are gathered on the 2017 Groundhog Day Resolutions page.

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A message from Dave:

I believe we all benefit when we respectfully share our perspectives on common experiences. My house rules are "please be respectful of divergent views" and "enjoy the flow of ideas!"

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