As I gear up for this year, one of the things I wanted to think about differently than last year was the way in which the colours interact with my overall goals. I thought last year about “blue” vs. “red” vs. “yellow” vs. “green”, but all I really did was use those colours to group a lot of sub-categories. Ultimately, although I was telling myself I had “four” categories, in truth, my list wasn’t a lot different from four years ago when I had 12 categories, three years ago when I still had 10, or two years ago when I got it down to 8. All I was really doing was grouping them. And a lot of the time, the sub-categories were a bit of a force fit because the overall categories weren’t really “speaking” to me.
About six weeks ago, I was reading some articles about personal branding that were dealing with the “storylines, themes” you share about yourself with others, such as how you present yourself in interviews or business or online to ensure a consistent, coherent message. And about the second or third article in, a light bulb came on — because what I really needed to be thinking about were the storylines and themes that I was using to market me to myself. What an interesting concept — if you were presenting yourself to yourself, what would you say? If you were recruiting someone to live your life for you, would you hire you?
It particularly resonated with me, building on an article I had read last year that talked about transformation through goal-setting, mind-mapping, etc. The article was rather ho-hum, except for a small concept buried deep within it. It asked you to think about goal-setting from a different perspective than the one most people use. Usually, when people are thinking about goals and improvements, they take this radical perspective that suggests if they just do X or Y, their life will suddenly get “back on track”. It’s a popular concept, the basis in fact for most diet programs where it tends to work to motivate people if their problem is willpower. But in other areas of their life, what if your life isn’t actually off-track? What if you are already the you that you should be? Maybe not necessarily the you that you want to be, but the you that you should be, the you that you were somehow destined to become? Taken from that perspective, goal-setting starts to be less about radical transformation and more about self-acceptance, less about jettisoning everything and more about polishing some of the edges. Taking into account of course that sometimes polishing only on one side will eventually wear that side down quite a bit…self-acceptance doesn’t mean you’re not aggressive in some areas, but it does help to stop you from feeling like you’re not making progress, losing motivation, or throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.
In my case, I have been aggressively setting goals and making progress towards them for the last 12 years. Not always huge progress, not always linear progression, not always even in the directions I thought I would go. To become the me that I am now…and, when push comes to shove, I have to admit that my life is pretty dang good. My mind still functions, I’m gainfully employed, I have family and friends that I care about, I am generally connected to my inner spirit, and even if my body isn’t running marathons, it isn’t racked with debilitating illness either. My past efforts and progress, not to mention a dose of pretty good luck, have all combined to make me the me that I am. Sure, I’m going to try and polish some stuff. But I’m not going for radical change or even innovation necessarily.
However, I do need to tell my story to myself differently. And this year, I’m going to try and really use the four colours along with internal proxies.
My Goals for 2012
I’ve managed to limit the number of priorities for my MIND category (blue) to just ten items for this coming year:
- Revise planning guide, including themes, bucket list, goals layout
- Setup backyard (deck, play area)
- Organize office closet
- Redo powder room
- Redo kitchen island
- Exchange traded funds
- Review insurance
- French profile update
- Book collection — paper and e-books
- New areas for website (MRs, Photos, Trivia)
The “storyline” here is about being organized (planning guide, website, books, some finances) and getting our house set up. In addition, I’ll finalize my reading list (bucket list #67) and continue towards my career goal of presenting on HR to more than a 1000 people (bucket list #77). And, just by way of validation, these are elements that maintain momentum on my successes of last year (a new house, financial planning, finished my website, started reading on my Kindle, and updated this planning guide for the colour wheel).
For the HEART category (green), I can hold myself to just six priorities:
- Career support: M.Ed.
- Lunchtime outings with Andrea
- Jacob’s nighttime routine
- Astro Pontiac initiative
- House party — Remembrance Day? Corn roast?
- Question about charitable giving
The storyline here is about a better connection to Jacob and Andrea, increasing my involvement with friends (emerging from hermit stage), and answering a long-standing question of mine about what’s the best form for charitable giving within a community. While I probably won’t make any more progress on bucket list items for this category, I am building on regular success in the last year as I learned to be a better father, supported Andrea on her educational efforts, and began early involvement in Stephan’s astro-park idea.
For the SOUL category (yellow), I have ten priorities:
- Complete my HR guide (from my bucket list)
- Outline my business model for self-publishing
- Develop 12 big questions that define my spirituality
- Expand book reviews
- Reboot movie reviews
- Read some of the books on the Top 600 list (also on my bucket list)
- Read some of my to be read pile from my bedside table
- Restart the monthly cooking night
- Create a dinosaur book for Jacob
The storyline here is about expressing myself through writing and cooking, reading the creative endeavours of others, and figuring out the true nature of the universe (or at least what I believe in). I am building on some success from the last year, namely some of my work on the HR guide, researching the self-publishing industry, blogging, uploading my past book reviews, and answering the first two questions of my “12 big questions guide to the universe”.
For the BODY category (red), I have six priorities:
- Follow-up on some outstanding health issues with doctor
- Do something about my weight
- Increase exercising @ home, golfing, walking, bicycles, basketball hoop, swimming
- Adjust sleeping times to go to bed earlier
- Find a new dentist
- Give blood (also from bucket list)
If there’s time, I’d also like to explore meditation (from my bucket list), but probably not a huge priority. The storyline here is about overall health and getting more fit. Not a lot of success from the past year, although I did get set up with a new doctor, grabbed new glasses, and got my blood pressure under control.
Onward to 2012!