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Well, MOJO Mob, believe it or not, we’ve rounded the corner in our 2015 Year by Design race: it’s time to turn on the afterburners and make the sprint to the finish. In other words, it’s time to check in with our goals progress thus far and redouble our efforts for the rest of the year. So crack your knuckles and sharpen your pencils, folks. It’s about to get real around here.
In case you’re wondering why we bother with setting goals for ourselves and planning the actionable steps it will take to get us there, I’ll just let a couple of master teachers remind you right quick. First, Mr. Iyengar (because a blog wouldn’t be complete without him these days) said in his magnificent Light on Life:
The moment you say, ‘I have got it,’ you have lost everything you had. As soon as something comes, you have to go one step further. Then there is evolution. The moment you say, ‘I am satisfied with that,’ that means stagnation has come. That is the end of your learning; you have closed the windows of your intellect. So let me do what I cannot do, not what I can do. You have always to do a little bit more than you think you can, in quality and in quantity. This is what leads ultimately to beauty and greatness. (59)
Second, we hear from a master of a different sort, don Juan Matus, the Yaqui Indian sorcerer featured in Carlos Castaneda’s Journey to Ixtlan. I’ll bet you weren’t expecting that… Anyhow, don Juan smacks us all upside the head in a conversation with Mr. Castaneda that goes thusly:
‘You don’t know what well-being is, because you have never experienced it,’ he said.
I disagreed with him. But he continued arguing that well-being was an achievement one had to deliberately seek. He said that the only thing I knew how to seek was a sense of disorientation, ill-being, and confusion.
He laughed mockingly and assured me that in order to accomplish the feat of making myself miserable I had to work in a most intense fashion, and that it was absurd I had never realized I could work just the same in making myself complete and strong.
‘The trick is in what one emphasizes,’ he said. ‘We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.’ (221)
So there we have it. Do you want to evolve or stagnate? Do you want misery or well-being? The work involved is the same no matter which way you answer. But I bet I know which answers most of you chose, and if they’re what I’m thinking, we can do our work together.
We started off our final stretch of the year last week by cleaning our houses, literally and metaphorically. Cleaning house, in every sense of the phrase, is a vital reset step in staying true to our broad visions for our lives, setting clear goals, and mapping out the attainable actions it will take to bring it all to fruition. In last week’s MOJO Show we mentioned “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo (from our Summer Reading List), and she puts it so well:
When your [house] is clean and uncluttered, you have no choice but to examine your inner state. You can see any issues you have been avoiding and are forced to deal with them. From the moment you start tidying, you will be compelled to reset your life. As a result your life will start to change…It allows you to confront the issues that are really important. Tidying is just a tool, not the final destination. The true goal should be to establish the lifestyle you want most once your house has been put in order. (21)
So, if you missed that post and podcast, be sure to check it out here. Now, that we’ve cleaned our lenses, we can see clearly the path that lies ahead!
But first, if you’ve never downloaded our Year by Design Workbooks (or perhaps you lost track of yours somewhere along the way this year), we’ve made them free for you to download here. You’re welcome.
If you’re just getting started with these, the Year by Design Workbook is where the money’s at for our purposes here in the last quarter of the year. Don’t get me wrong, the Quarterly View is highly useful, but more so at this stage of the year for those of you who’ve kept some track of your goals and accomplishments through the year thus far.
Step 1: Clear Up The Vision
So, first and most importantly, we want to check in with our big visions for our lives. We can’t create accurate and navigable maps for our lives if we don’t have a view of the landscape at large. Moreover, just as the lay of the land is ever evolving on the blue marble of our Earth, so too does the topography of our lives shift constantly. Therefore, we must regularly check in with our big visions and ensure that our journey is still pointed in the direction in which we really and truly want to go. Not only is it okay to revise your big vision, it’s vital and, frankly, inevitable.
So, take some time right now to review your vision, whether you’ve written it down, done a big ‘ole vision board, or merely daydreamed it from time to time. If you’re in that last category, I strongly recommend you take some time to put your big vision down on paper to make it more clear, tangible, and ready for regular review.
Step 2: Review Your Goals Progress
Now that we’ve reviewed our vision and revised it where needed, let’s look at our progress through the year thus far. This is where we get to reward ourselves for what we did, and realize where we’re falling off track. If you’ve done some tracking of your goals, this will be fairly easy to do. If you haven’t tracked anything, just take some time now to think back through your year so far and recall a) the goals you may have set for yourself at any point and b) all of the accomplishments you’ve achieved through the year, whether you set a goal to make each one happen or not.
As you do this, write them down! Just like our vision, when we put our goals and accomplishments in some written form, be it words on page or painting on canvas, two things happen. First, they become more real and we’re held accountable to them because there is physical evidence to which our attention can be drawn. Second, we can more easily review our goals on a consistent basis when they’re somewhere in front of our faces. For instance, I keep my vision worksheet and the current month’s goals and action plans tacked to the wall beside my computer so I can see them every day, prevent my forgetfulness, and hold myself at least minimally accountable to the literal writing on the wall.
Step 3: Revise The Plan
Okay, so we have a spruced up vision and we’ve looked back to check our progress so far. Whether that leaves you throwing some big Shakas or shooting some major Stink Eye in the mirror (or a healthy mix of both), it’s time to keep moving forward. We’ve got just over 2 months left in the year and I’m guessing you have a lot you still want to get done before we cross the finish of 2015 into the start of 2016. At least I know I do!
So, now is the optimal time to lay out your goals for the rest of the year and work out the actionable steps you’ll need to take to bring those goals to life. That means we do the rest of October, November, and December’s plans now. Remember when doing this that what we measure, we move! So make sure your goals are as quantifiable as possible (i.e. rather than “do more yoga” set a goal to “do yoga at least 5 days per week”). Then, ensure that you translate that measurability into your action plans, too. This makes it easier to review your progress, and harder to cheat yourself.
Step 4: Sprint To The Finish!
Take those goals and actionable steps you’ve laid out for yourself and do them with zest and gusto! 3 tips for a more effective sprint that I can offer you here:
- Review your goals and action plans every morning to incorporate them into your day.
- Put your goals and action plans by your bed, on your bathroom mirror, by your desk, in the fridge, and anywhere else you will be forced to see them throughout the day and remember that you have shit to do!
- Do at least one item on your plan every day. Check it off or at least mark the progress made at night before you go to sleep. Then have shaka-filled dreams!
Alright, folks. That’s a whole lot of sprinting to do, so I’ll leave you to it. Let’s pick up our feet and boogie on down to the end of this, our best and most productive year yet! We’ll see you at the finish line…and back here next week.
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