Sunday, January 2, 2011

Goal Dichotomies & Opposites

As mentioned, I've been taking yesterday and today as a personal retreat to work on my intentions and goals for 2011.  Something interesting that has been coming up a lot for me this weekend is that my goals are occurring as dichotomies or opposites.  As you may notice (I certainly did as I was writing this!), one side of each dichotomy comes more easily to me, while the other side tends to be a bit harder for me - it takes more effort or conscious thought to really integrate it into my life.

Movement vs. Stillness
I have quite a few 2011 goals that revolve around movement.  I want to do a little bit of moving every morning/evening to stretch and strengthen my body (another dichotomy!) as well as taking movement breaks throughout the day.  I also want to have at least five physart adventures every month, where physart = my all-encompassing word for physical art forms, aka dancing (ballet, belly, tango, everything!), acroyoga, cirque (acrobatics, aerial work, etc), parkour, rock climbing, capoeira, etc.  Through my physart adventures, I want to learn new physical skills as well as experience being in the flow - being mentally, emotionally, and physically present and flowing in the movement (good blues dancing is great for that!)
As much as I want to move in 2011, I also want to take time daily to breathe and meditate, to be in stillness.  Being truly still is much harder for me than being in motion.  I used to get annoyed trying to do yoga videos because they would stay in the same pose forever, and I wanted to be moving (I have since found more ashtanga style yoga videos that come a lot more easily to me). I might be physically still a good part of the day because of working & being at my computer, but to be really mentally, emotionally, and physically still is a skill that I would like to cultivate in 2011.

Introspection vs. Interaction
These past two days have been wonderful - I'm so glad that I'm taking the time to read, think, journal, and introspect about myself, my life, where I've been, where I'm going, etc.  One of my New Year resolutions / goals / intentions / whatever you want to call them is to continue with the introspection, both by journaling on a daily basis (even if it's just a sentence or two) and by setting aside time throughout the year to review my path and my processes, to see if what I've been doing is really getting me closer to where I want to be, and to alter my course if my actions have not been moving me forward or if my goals and my direction has changed.
While I love to introspect, I also want to interact!  I am an introvert and I do enjoy being by myself, but I also need to remember that I enjoy interaction too!  I have a tendency to hermit myself away when I'm stressed or overwhelmed.  So one of my 2011 goals is to interact more!  I'm not quite sure yet how that will manifest exactly - although I am getting clearer on how one-on-one or very small group interactions enliven me, as well as teaching to small-medium size groups.  I do sometimes enjoy larger parties where I can see more friends all at the same time, but I often leave those parties feeling socially & emotionally tired and wishing that I had had more time to really talk with each person.

Input vs. Output
I love input!  Learning new information, reading books, watching online courses (yay for MIT OCW and AcademicEarth)!  I am a perpetual student, whether I'm in school or not.  My main strength from Now, Discover Your Strengths and StrengthsFinder2.0 is input - "You are inquisitive.  Whatever you collect, you collect it because it interests you.  And yours is the kind of mind that finds so many things interesting."  Because I like learning about so many different areas and I'm always finding new things that I want to learn, I'm not going to make goals such as "Learn French (and Spanish, and Chinese, and...)" or "Study algorithms (and artificial intelligence, and discrete math, and...)".  Instead my input goals include reading & learning every day - and then every day, I can choose what I want to read and learn about!
Input is like air for me - necessary and vital.  Output, on the other hand, is not something that I need on a daily basis, but I still think that it is necessary for my life.  I'm working on figuring out how to incorporate output more regularly in my life.  I have so much knowledge inside of me, and I love helping people so gotta get it to come out!  Possible ways to output that I've thought of: writing, teaching in person, making videos.  Writing is something that does not come all that easily to me - while what eventually comes out is usually good, the process of getting it out of my head and onto paper/screen can be long and stressful.  However, I feel like the more I write, the easier it will be - so in 2011, my plan is to journal daily (as mentioned under introspection) and to write blog posts/articles both for my store and for various other side businesses I want to start.  I also plan to share my knowledge about pregnancy/breastfeeding/babies in videos for the store as well as possibly incorporating videos into my side business ideas.  The other key way that I output (which I'm not doing in my life now) is tutoring, teaching, and coaching - sharing my knowledge in one-on-one or small group situations (as mentioned under interaction).  Still pondering how to get more of that in my life...

Dreams vs. Actions
In 2011, I want to dream big and play big!  I want to take the time to focus on my dreams and my goals.  Moving without direction will get you some place, but probably not the place you want to go!  I have big dreams to help more people, both with my store (helping moms & babies) and through other means (working on side businesses, helping friends, etc).  I also want to move closer to my main dream of becoming a mom myself.  Each month this year, I will take time to refocus on my vision for my life and my business(es) - through vision boarding, journaling, and the like.  I will also share my vision with my employees (for my store) and with my friends (for personal dreams).  (I already had a great meeting last week with my employees to refocus on our greater purpose for the store - and I'm making plans to have a few friend meetings soon to share personal visions!)
As great as dreams and visions are, they don't happen magically with a snap of your fingers.  You have to take action to get where you want to go.  Dreaming and thinking up ideas is easy for me - putting them into action is a little bit more difficult.  However, the dreaming and the acting go together for me - when I'm 'high' on an idea, I'm ready to take massive action to make it happen.  So taking time to dream will mean more energy to take action - I just have to make sure that I start taking action early on in the dreaming so I don't just get stuck in thinking and wishing.

Intensity vs. Consistency
Over my personal retreat this weekend, I've been watching videos and webinars about goal-setting.  One that I really liked was by Brian Johnson from Philosopher's Notes (  However, I have one big personal disagreement with the video.  Brian places consistency over intensity.  I, on the other hand, like intensity over consistency (although not to the exclusion of consistency).  Maybe because I'm a scanner, I prefer to delve into different interests and have variety throughout my week (as well as my months and years!).  I don't like having a set routine every day, and having to do something every day, even if it's something that I enjoy, makes me feel confined and stressed.  So rather than having daily goals that I know I'm not going to do consistently such as "Write one article or blog post every day" or "Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day", my goals have more action items with a longer time frame.  By saying "I will write over 350 articles / blog posts in 2011", I allow myself to go intense when I get into the right mood, writing a few (or ten) articles at a time, while still averaging about one per day.  Same thing with setting a goal of "going on at least five physart adventures every month" - one month, I may do all of my adventures in one week, and the next month, I might do one per week.  In the YouTube video, Brian Johnson mentions that when he studied fitness, consistency won out over intensity - however, newer ideas like Timothy Ferriss's The 4-Hour Body are challenging that idea.  Moderation in everything, especially moderation! :-)
In spite of all I just said about intensity before consistency, I actually do really like consistency in some areas of my life, specifically my home life and my relationships.  The comfort of knowing that nothing is changing at home and with my family and friends (no drama, no intensity) allows me the freedom to go out and be intense in the world!  So while they aren't goals per se, I want to continue that consistency in my life of having supportive friends and family.  I'm also making some daily goals, as I've mentioned above.  But all of my daily goals are either short enough or vague enough that I can actually accomplish them every day without feeling trapped.  Every day, I will move and be still.  Every day, I will introspect and interact.  Every day, I will input and output.  Every day, I will dream and act.  Every day, I will be intense and consistent.

I have a few other dichotomies that I've been thinking about, and that I might write more about later (parts of myself vs my whole self, technology vs. nature, flexibility vs. strength, status quo vs. experimenting), but for now, it's time to go out and get some input, motion, and interaction.  :-)

No comments:

Post a Comment