I love goals. I love goal lists. And, I especially love checking things off my lists. It’s so satisfying.
I have journals stacked up in my home from years ago and occasionally I come across an old to do list. I’m so tickled to see that parts of my someday lists have been completed. I laugh (or roll my eyes depending on the task I did or wish I did) when I see a particular item that I thought was so darn important—and now, years later I just shake my head at the irrelevance of it. Never even attempting to finish it shows evolution.
I’m not cool
On a trip a friend watched me journal my little heart out. She vocalized that she was impressed with my commitment to the daily page. She added that she wished she could journal but she just—couldn’t. “Why not?” I poked. She hesitated. I could see she was really thinking about her words. “Well, what if, in three years, I pick up a journal from today and I think ‘ug! I was such a loser!‘ I belted out a laugh. “Dude! You’re not cool!” She looked offended so I got right to the point. “We’re supposed to evolve. I mean what if you picked up that journal from three years ago and thought, whoa I was so cool and I’m a dud now?” She frowned and I continued.
“I want to evolve. I want to know that in the future, when I look back at me and my life through my journals I can appreciate a lot of good stuff but I also want to know that I am always growing and becoming a better person, more balanced and happier. I never want to look back and think about how happy I was. I also don’t live so critically. Even if I was a bit of a dingus I can smile at foolish younger me and not scowl critically at what I was. Love, man. Only love.” Her frown turned to a smile.
I still don’t think she journals. It doesn’t matter. I appreciate the idea she prompted.
Back to the lists
This post was prompted by a list I found recently. Old goal lists fall into one of three categories:
a) Didn’t get done and wish I had. Not too late. I still can.
b) Didn’t get done but I realize I don’t care enough to complete them. They are not “done worthy.”
c) Got done! Yeah me.
Didn’t but still can:
- Get a sketch book from the the Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbook Project
- Enlarge photos I have taken for the walls of my home.
- Bake a soufflé. It can’t be that hard, can it?
- Learn all the functions on my camera.
- Stay in an Earth Sphere in British Columbia.
- Get my boat license.
Didn’t do and don’t care:
- Write myself a letter to open at the end of the year. I realized I sort of do this every day in my journal. So why be redundant.
- Throw an epic party. Covid-19 put a halt to that. But, it doesn’t bother me much.
- Travel to places (it’s a list) Covid-19 also put a halt to that however the list still exists.
- Send a letter to my favorite author. I didn’t do it and I think they have changed as my favorite. *Shrug.
- Create a mission statement. Yeah, that was on my list. Why? I’m living my mission statement.
Done! Yeah me!
- I started exercising on the regular.
- I drove to Winnipeg and ate Bronuts.
- Attended an NHL game—twice now.
- Read a book a month this year.
- I learned to ride a bike!
- Started my own blog (you’re reading it).
- Went ice fishing!! I didn’t catch anything, but I did it. It was cold. Surprise-surprise.
- Saw the Cochin Light House
- I was invited to and participated in an Indigenous Sweat. So grateful.
- Made bread from scratch
- Consciously drank more water
More to come
I will continue to make lists and as the years roll on I hope that I get enjoyment from seeing what I have done in my life and what I hope to do.
From all of these goals, I learned what matters and what doesn’t. I learned to push forward with things I really want and to lighten up if I wasn’t able to check something off the list. Ultimately my lists are not a matter of life and death but more about life and pleasure, making it a full and satisfying one. And the big takeaway—I learned to get more focused and to be nicer to myself.
I don’t think the lists will ever end for me. It’s just too satisfying getting them done. I also love the process of making lists, upping the ante and exploring ideas. Completing the goals isn’t what feels actually feels like success. Living more fully does.