A Few Thoughts on Goal Setting and Achieving
When I examine my history with goals, I realize a couple of things…
Turns out, I have had very few intentionally stated goals.
Mr. Basketball…check. Open a youth center in East Timor…check. Publish a book…check.
I wonder if this is because I – like most people – prefer to avoid putting them down onto paper, or otherwise out into the world because I would rather not be held accountable for them?
Once you tell one person that you intend to do something, it starts to take on a reality that seems to build its own momentum. Being ‘on the hook’ comes with the responsibility of taking steps, after all…
In self-help terminology, this is called ‘enrolling other people in your success’.
At Outlaw Yoga we call it ‘positive peer pressure’.
If even one person knows we are striving towards some specific aim, then they might very well hold us accountable by one day innocently asking, ‘Hey, did you ever hike the Colorado Trail?’
And you either get to triumphantly say, ‘yes’! Or, as I still do with this particular goal, have to somewhat shamefully admit, ‘no’.
The other thing that struck me as significant when it comes to goals (and it did so as I ‘smeared’ my second Bob Ross style oil landscape painting in the same day – ‘smearing’ being where I am so utterly dissatisfied at my day’s attempt at painting that I load my 2” brush with paint thinner and smear the ‘painting’ using long horizontal and vertical strokes into one cohesive blob of color, leave it to dry, and – perhaps one day – revive it as a background for an as yet to be painted masterpiece) is that the only time I have achieved my desired aim is when I have elevated my pursuit of a ‘goal’ into something of an ‘obsession’.
Calvin Klein reference intended.
If you’ve practiced with me in the last month or so you’ve noticed that ol’ Bob – and my study of him – has crept into my yoga teaching…’no mistakes, only happy accidents’ and ‘needing dark to appreciate the light’ are universal lessons, even if ‘a thin paint will stick to a thick paint’ isn’t…
What you maybe haven’t seen is my pursuit of landscape perfection (@outlawyogi if you’re at all interested).
As I was washing my brushes for the second time today, priming a canvas, and cleaning my easel for tomorrow it hit me – I am becoming obsessed…
Simply stated – if what you want to be is a ‘painter’ then, ‘when the light’s not right’, you better be washing brushes, priming canvases, drawing, or cleaning your fucking easel. Otherwise you don’t really want it bad enough, do you?
‘If the desire to write is not accompanied by actual writing,’ said Hugh Prather, ‘then the desire must be not to write.’
As a yoga teacher I was somewhat taken aback…the question, ‘should I allow myself to be obsessed with anything immediately offering itself in mind?’
‘Shut the fuck up,’ I kindly told my mind.
In the space created I gave it some thought…
The oxymoronic nature of goals to a ‘must be present at all times or be a bad yogi’ yogi not withstanding, goals can be useful at helping us productively fill our time and, ultimately, making that time spent more fulfilling as it helps to inform the base nature of our very lives.
‘Nothing in this life happens without work,’ Che Guevara once said.
Turns out, the only way to get better at anything is to practice again and again and again over time.
So I guess what I’m getting at is, if you have a goal don’t forget to make them ‘SMART’.
‘All talent is, is an applied interest,’ I heard Bob Ross say the other day. (Yes I’ve quoted Hugh Prather, Che Guevara, and Bob Ross all in one article…make sure to check in next time for quotes from Jack Handey, Joe Stalin, and Donald Trump!) So, while you’re setting goals, go ahead and let the ‘g’ in goal stand for ‘go ahead and get obsessed about it’.
Bob Ross also says, ‘you need a firm, dry paint like we make for this technique to work otherwise you’ll be in agony city’. It’s not just his way of hawking more Bob Ross brand oil paint…if what you want is a strong yoga practice, then invest up to $80 in a good yoga mat – some of them really are better, and you really are worth it.
(Feel empowered to comment your favorite mat below to help inform someone’s consideration).
When the time comes to push through obstacles on your path try tricking yourself – I didn’t ‘have to smear my last 3 paintings of 2019’…’I set myself up for 2020 by doing 3 great underpaintings’.
I hope these tips have helped to inform your pursuits for the coming year…I’ll leave you with this – why not work your ass off, yogis?! If it comes to it, we’ll tell you when your obsession has gone too far…
Good luck – I look forward to being inspired by you as you get after it in the New Year!! Follow me at @outlawyogi to help keep me accountable too!
Justin “Jud” Kaliszewski is an artist, author, and the renowned creator of OUTLAW Yoga. Author of “The Outlaw Protocol – how to live as an outlaw without becoming a criminal”, and the children’s picture book “The Adventures of Babu – from there to here”, he creates connection by delivering transformational yoga-experiences across the country, and at the Outlaw Yoga Littleton studio. Take his class NOW at www.outlawyogaclub.com and find his writing and art at www.justinkaliszewski.com. His new novel “The Adventures of Larry Wampler – The Case of the Koreatown Car-Jumper” comes out February 29th.