Goals and dreams and planning and my kids and our team

I thought I'd check in about how it's going with the 2013 Your Incredible Year Life Workbook that I talked about getting and using back in December. This is not that linear, but bear with me.

It's been an interesting experience, and totally worth it. First of all, I finally finished fillling out all the sections in the Life workbook (except the tarot thing at the end because I'm not into tarot) Monday, January 28. (I'm going to start the Business version of the workbook tomorrow, and take it slow and easy like I did the Life version.) The way it's structured, I don't feel like I'm behind at all.

Even with only a few sections "complete" (and I put that in quotes because I've left a lot of room in all the sections for me to add things if they come up later), I've still started seeing results. I posted this in the Facebook group I started for Ask Moxie readers who are doing the workbooks:

feel like some progress toward my goals is happening almost as if by
magic. But I've figured out what's really going on:

1. When I wrote
out the steps in my little to-do book, that put them in my brain. Not
in the front part, but sort of hanging off to the side quietly.
2. When I come to a thought or decision or possible action that relates to one of those steps, I notice.
3. Then I can make the decision or write down or develop the thought or
whatever. And it's not a big deal, because I was going to take SOME
kind of action right that minute anyway, right? Only now I know which
thing to do because it hits on a goal step.
4. I'm not expending more energy than I would have, but I'm making progress on my goals.

Then someone else in the group said:

5. Making progress on your goals gives a shot of additional energy which fuels the process over and over again.

YES. It's cool, because I'm feeling like this is much less effort than I thought it was going to be, but stuff is cooking anyway. Before I just had these vague thoughts of what I wanted to do, but only the things that were truly survival mode ever got operationalized. Now, I've stepped out all the steps for the stuff on my list, even the seemingly frivolous stuff. Evidence of that is that I'm going to Punxsatawney on Friday to see Groundhog Day on Saturday morning. Also, I'm more than 10% of the way to my goal of going to 100 barre classes this year, and we're not even out of January. I'm just having an easier time prioritizing, even when the things I'm prioritizing are "optional."

Also, I printed out another copy of the Life workbook to do with my kids. I thought it would help us be a team, to close out what we accomplished last year and make some Goals and a list of Things To Do in 2013. They were so intrigued by the idea of assessing what happened last year and then making lists of what we wanted to have happen this year, what we wanted to learn, what we wanted more of and less of in our lives together.

One of the things we decided was that we wanted to take advantage of living so close to Detroit by going in once a month. So we used our day off school yesterday (it was an inservice day for teachers) to go into the city. We planned to tour the Renaissance Center and ride the People Mover and eat lunch downtown. Part of that was going to be going up to the 72nd floor of the Ren Cen to see all of Detroit and Windsor, Canada. But the weather yesterday was crazy foggy, like a big cloud over all the region, so the Ren Cen wasn't going to be so much fun. We called an audible and went to the Detroit Institute of Arts instead, and it was fantastic. The kids loved the hall with the suits of armor (and discussed the logistics of groin protection in suits of armor), we spent a lot of time looking at the Diego Rivera murals, my older one spent a ton of time in the Greek and Roman room, we watched a freaky video about a combustable Rube Goldberg contraption, I saw the excellent photography exhibit of Detroit "then and now," and we pretended we were 18th century French aristocrats up on the third floor. It was an easy, fun trip (although I did get completely lost in Detroit on the way home for a bit), and now the kids know how close we are to Detroit. We're trying to decide what to see in February.

But back to the just-me aspect of the workbook. One of the ideas that we're exploring in the Facebook group is giving
ourselves permission to have goals that are outside our usual spheres of
influence, and noticing when we hit stuck spots that feel like too much
resistance. One of the things I've noticed is that now, if I'm feeling resistance in one area I can flip the page and work on another area until it untangles itself in my mind.

So, my assessment: It's not magic, and it requires solid thought, but there's a real structure there that sets the stage for action. And it's not too late to work on 2013 at all (see my plan to start the Business workbook this week). A bargain at $10. What do you have to lose?

Link to buy and download the workbook(s)

Link to the FB group for people working on the workbook(s).

Links to my Goals and Mottos boards on Pinterest.

If anyone who's been doing the workbooks wants to report in on how it's going for you (like, say, Julie), please do!

9 thoughts on “Goals and dreams and planning and my kids and our team”

  1. Recently, I read somewhere, “Where your mind wanders to when you should be working is what you are meant to be doing in your life” (or something like that) and I wondered, “Where does my mind go when I’m not thinking about work or my kids?” Mostly, I imagine what-if scenarios. What if that guy jumps into my car at this red light? What if those two people over there, who look like they are fighting, are on their way to their grandmother’s funeral? Or to a doctor’s appointment, where they will decide whether to keep the baby or not? I’ve always wanted to write, but it’s not like you can graduate from college and get a job doing that (well, actually you can, but not the kind of writing I wanted to do). Reading that quote happened to coincide with Magda’s introduction of the Incredible Life Workbook and I thought, “eh, why not?”Part of the workbook asks you to describe your dreamiest day, and I wrote down something really predictable: I’d love to sleep in, exercise uninterrupted, meet a friend for lunch, do a little shopping, have some alone-time to read or write in my journal….have the kids come home and be perfectly cooperative and go to bed easily…and it just felt uninspired. And not really what my dreamiest day would be because if I were to live this particular day, it would have a beginning and an ending and then it would be business as usual, which truth be told isn’t dreamy at all. So I re-wrote it, and described a scenario that would make every day my dreamiest day. And I was surprised to discover that my dreamiest day didn’t involve me doing the job I have right now – a job I’m pretty good at, but which bores me to tears a lot of the time. And my dreamiest day involved walking my kids to school and then walking home and sitting in front of a computer, writing. And I think figuring out a way to make my dreamiest day become my everyday is what Leonie is trying to get us to do. So I began visualizing that. How would that feel? What would it look like? And then she sort of walks you through the steps of how you get there. What needs to happen first? And then after that? So I wrote out all the steps that would get me to that place – no longer working in my current job, but doing what my mind often wanders into on its own – telling stories. Writing them down and getting paid to do it.
    It feels unrealistic if I look at it as a whole. It sounds unrealistic if I talk about it too much with other people (I’m not sure yet if I will even post this). Which is always what has stopped me until now. “Everyone wants to write a book.” (insert eye roll) – “very few people actually get to do it for a living.” In 2009 I was stuck in an incredibly miserable marriage with two little kids, and I wanted out. Un-sticking myself from that seemed almost impossible (the finances, the insurance, the multiple properties we owned and would have to sell, custody, visitation, etc). But I figured out what the first thing I needed to do was, and then did just that. From there, I moved onto the next thing. And then the thing after that. With any big dream (or big life change) if you look at it as a whole, the enormity of it overwhelms you into inaction. But if you look at it one piece at a time, just the next piece on your to-do list, then suddenly you are moving forward without feeling like it’s too hard or too much.
    So after finishing Leonie’s workbook, after visualizing what I want my life to look like, and making my peace with the fact that it looks nothing like what my current life looks like, and then releasing the stress and worry over how in the world I will ever get from here to there, I sat down and did just the first thing on my list: Write a book. Even that sounded impossible, so I broke the list down even more: Make a list of 5 ideas for a book. Then: Pick one idea I like and grow it into 10 pages. And then: Write 10 pages a day. And then: Just get to 100 pages. Finally: 300 pages is a good number to shoot for. I wrote in the morning before the kids got up, I wrote after the kids went to bed, and yesterday I finished it. And while it’s rough (very rough), I think it’s pretty good. And I’m ready to move onto the next thing on my list, revision, to make it really good (which of course, I’ve broken down into smaller steps starting with: Read the book – does it even make sense?) I feel funny writing about this, since “write a book” is only the beginning of realizing my dreamiest day…but I did it. Which is more than I’ve been able to do in the past, so if I can accomplish that, what’s to stop me from doing the next thing on my list?

  2. WOW! Both of you have motivated me! I just bought both books. Writing a children’s book has been on my mind for WAY too long and I just can’t seem to get started. I’ll have to join the FB group to get even more inspired! Thanks Moxie!

  3. I’ve been doing the workbook, and completed everything that called to me a couple of weeks ago. Once I’d finished I felt a bit overwhelmed with all the lists I had made, and the impossibility or doing it all. So I just let it sit. And in the weeks since, the huge list of things I wanted to do sifted themselves very neatly into a few categories that I want to focus on. They are: be healthy, simplify our home and routines, and make room for the future. I have to say that in a very short time I have made progress in all three areas. I can see that there is a great amount of work to be done, but am very happy to have begun on it with the help of the workbooks. I can see myself revisiting my lists and goals throughout the year and shifting and tweaking as I evolve.That said, there are still parts of the workbook that I find overwhelming and so I have put them aside. I don’t think that it is necessary to complete every exercise to receive some benefit. I also think that being a part of Moxie’s Facebook group has also been a big inspiration. Just reading other people’s posts keeps my own progress and goals in the front of my mind.

  4. Ah, the hubby and I lived in Ann Arbor and then Novi after we graduated and we totally did NOT take advantage of living near Detroit. I genuinely regret it now, and thinking of our lives there is kind of bittersweet (pre kids, disposable income, free time!). I’d broaden your scope beyond the city too. Detroit has some awesome things we didn’t see, but don’t neglect the suburbs. (Unless you are already exploring those, in which case never mind!) For instance, I wish we had spent more exploring the ethnic enclaves like Dearborn and Hamtramck. (Oh, for February Paczcki Day might be fun in Hamtramck!) Those are communities that you can’t find everywhere and are a genuine treasure of the area.

  5. I’ve only made it maybe 1/4 through the workbook. And while my progress is NOWHERE near that of Julie’s, I love what it’s made me think about. I feel like it’s made me a little more brave… or at least made me put myself in places where I act on the bravery that already exists. Like, one of the things I listed that I wanted to do this year was to go see live music by myself. And I did just that tonight – saw a band I really like that doesn’t play Maine very often. None of my friends wanted to go, so I just showed up, bought a ticket and a glass of wine and really enjoyed it. There’s something mysterious about the power of having written it down, rather than merely thought it…. I am really looking forward to diving into the next sections.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *