10 February, 2010

Evaluating our Actions Based on Goals

As you can see, I haven’t been very effective at keeping my blogs up-to-date in the last few months. But since I turned another year older today, I felt it a great reason to log on and blog. I am now celebrating my 40th year on this great planet of ours and I feel freer, healthier, and happier than I have ever been in my life. And I believe that each year will only get that much better for me.

Now I don’t normally make New Year’s Resolutions. I have nothing against them. They’re just not my personal style. I’m not saying that I never have nor ever will. But at this point in my life they just don’t do it for me. However, I am continuously re-evaluating my life and creating intentions for where I want to be in 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, and 10 years. I do this periodically as well as just checking in with myself from time-to-time to see what’s missing in my life, what I would like more of, what I would like less of…like that.
It’s a kind of, checking my course type of thing - in the same way that the captains of ships and pilots of planes need to periodically re-evaluate their headings to determine if they are still on course or if adjustments need to be made. If we wait too long to re-evaluate our direction, and we find that we have veered off course, the adjustments we have to make end up being bigger ones that are more time-consuming and require more effort. Smaller adjustments are easier and less invasive.

But regardless of when you have made resolutions, or set intentions or goals for your life, there is a really simple method we can use to re-evaluate where we are in life and to determine if we’re on course. This is a simple exercise that requires a pen or pencil and a piece of paper. But I promise you it will be worth the whole 3 minutes of time invested for you to do this exercise. My guarantee is that this exercise may be very eye-opening for you but only if you do it as designed. If you just read through the exercise and try to do it in your mind, I can positively guarantee that you will not get the same value out of the exercise. So, are you ready?

     1. Make a list of the things that consume the majority of your time.

     2. Next, make a list of the things which you are committed to pursuing (in the present) for your life.

     3. Finally, make a list of the things to which you really are committed. Consider that if being committed were a function of how we give of ourselves in time and money, to what things are your time &  money being given? These things, then, represent that to which you are really committed.

After completing the above exercise, look over your answers. Do the items in your 3rd list look the same as those in your 2nd list? Do the items in your 1st list prohibit you from working towards things listed in your 2nd list?

Are there things you listed in step 1 that you want to alter or altogether stop? Are there things you listed in step 3 that you want to alter or discontinue?

If there were a lot of variances for you (and many times there are), don’t make it an opportunity to get down on yourself. The opportunity here is to look at your relationship to commitment.
Do you esteem your commitments as worthy of pursuit? Do you seem to continuously experience difficulty following through on your commitments?

Now, look over the items you listed in step 3 again. Are there any things on there that have a particular hold on you? Maybe you want to not spend so much time or money in an area listed there but you find that you continue doing it over and over again.

If you were to consider the definition of addiction as “having the need for anything outside of yourself to make you feel whole or complete,” would you consider any of the items you listed on step 3 to be addictions? As humans, we’re very good at having addictions in all sorts of areas. Of course we hear about people who are addicted to alcohol, nicotine, drugs, or even sex. But what we really don’t talk about is that there are so many other addictions less graphic in nature. For instance, you could be addicted to shoplifting, addicted to watching television, or addicted to needing a boyfriend/girlfriend. These three addictions are no different from any other classification of addiction. Every addiction is initially driven by a closely-related unmet need within yourself. Looking for something, or someone, outside of yourself to give you a sense of meaning and fulfillment will always fall short of providing you what you desire. This is because your ultimate desire is to be at one with yourself – to be at peace. The idea of atonement is the concept of being at one-ment. External things used to try and fill these unmet needs will always fall short and will always reappear – either in the same form or possibly with a new pattern of addiction.

Take this opportunity as a stepping stone to recommit to what’s important to you. Use this opportunity to discontinue engaging in activities that take you away from achieving those things to which you are committed and to use that time, energy, and money towards what it is you want to accomplish in life.
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