Goal Setting Resources for 2013

Alright guys, goal setting time is upon us!

Resist the urge to go all hipster/ironic, or emo/anti everything, when it comes to goals. Yes, I know that only capitalistic robots who have been brainwashed by corporate America would even dream of doing something so cliche as setting goals that begin on January 1st (heaven forbid). But stop trying to be unique for just one second so you can realize that, guess what? You need to do it SOMETIME, and since most of us don’t remember the rest of the year, now is a perfect time!

To help you with your 2013 goal setting, I’ve come up with a list of resources to give you some direction!

 

Goal Setting Resources:

Discovering who you are…

Rare Existence Posts:
1. Finding a valuable identity
2. Give them something (good) to remember you by
3. Discovering who you are

Outside Resources:
1. Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath
2. Myers Briggs Personality Test

 

Dreaming about what you want to do…

Rare Existence Posts:
1. The Discipline of Dreaming
2. Your ideal life
3. Your entire life in one word.

Outside Resources:
1. 5: Where Will You Be 5 Years from Today? by Dan Zadra

 

Setting goals and making a plan…

Rare Existence Posts:
1. Baby Steps… yes that’s a real thing.

Outside Resources:
1. Your Best Year Yet  by Jinny S. Ditzler (I apologize, it’s a little boring, but it’s the only one I know of that gets the job done!)

 

Encouragement…

Rare Existence Posts:
1. John Mayer is a Liar and Peter Pan is a hero
2. Do Epic Shit
3. Remember why it’s worth it
4. Patience Grasshopper
5. You can do it my dear
6. Manifesting your manifest friend

Outside Resources
1. The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson *
2. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller *
*FYI: Both of these are Christian books, but still very encouraging even if you don’t agree with everything in them.
December is going to fly by, so I want to hear sounds of goal setting screaming from your computers now! Go, go, gadget goals!!!!

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Baby steps… yes, that’s a real thing (A Project).

Have you ever found yourself avoiding checking out Rare Existence or some other source of inspiration for personal growth because you’re just like, “SHUT UP! I’m so tired!!!!” Do you ever feel like I’m asking you to change your industry, solve world hunger, win the first ever best parent of the universe award, and lose 15 pounds all at the same time?  Yeah I know, I make myself feel like that sometimes too. I recently had one person comment on the blog about how overwhelmed she is. She’s trying so hard to live extraordinarily and she’s finding it so crazy difficult because she’s barely above water in 95% of the “maintenance areas” that are a part of every life whether ordinary or extraordinary.

Ah the cycle of maintaining.
It’s one of the worst places to be. It’s when you feel like you’re living a reactionary life. It’s when you finally get the money you need to pay off your credit card debt, right when you car breaks. Or when you finally feel like you have a little extra time to start that business you’ve been dreaming about, right when you find out your son is failing school and needs tons of attention from you. Or even worse, it’s when you never ever get to that place where you finally have the extra money, time, etc., etc. and yet your list of things you need to do, accomplish, accumulate, fix, etc., etc. is never ending and feels so hopeless.
Yes my dears, I’ve been there. Often. And in many ways, I still am there. So what do we do, how do we move past this or at the very least survive it?! One baby step at a time.
I know, I know that sounds so cliche but that’s because it’s a God honest, undeniable truth. You have to start somewhere and baby steps is some of that “where” that you need to be starting at.

Before you list the areas that need some work, why don’t you start by listing the areas in your life that HAVE been progressing in the past year.
I recently made that list and it totally changed my perspective for the better. Once I had a list of all the things (big and little) that have been going somewhere I realized there are enough on the list to officially say that I’M going somewhere. That’s what really convinced me that the “one step at a time” rule was more than just an excuse for lazy people. I have been doing one step at a time in lots of small ways and they are now coming together to form some big movement.

After you make the list of the areas that you’ve seen positive changes in, it’s time to go back to the sucky side.
Now list the areas in your life that need a serious, reality makeover show kind of intervention. Once you’ve done that, just sit in your sadness and be depressed with no one but cookie dough to be your friend.
No, not really. Once you’ve made the list of areas that need to be changed, it’s time to choose the top 3 you want to start working on first and formulate a plan for each. In other words, list out all the tiny baby steps for each of the 3 areas to work on that would put Bill Murray to shame. Once you’ve done that for all three, pick the one area that has the steps that are most doable for you to start with today and then guess what…start doing them! My very official not at all qualified prescription for you is to start working on baby step number one in the most important category within the next week. If that step is too complex to do all in one week, then you need to babyfie it a little more and break it down further so that all your steps are just one small thing at a time… in one small area at a time… that will add up to lots of small life changes… that will create major life change in the end.

And that’s how we roll….

….Forward.

Finding a Valuable Identity (a project)

Who you are, who you want to be like, and what you want… all that kind of info was on the tag sewn into your shirt when the stork dropped you off, right? That’s not how it worked for me, I was born into this world naked as a baby so I’ve been forced to do some figuring for myself.

It’s no secret that the stork with the glasses dropped me off and I was born a nerd. If you didn’t already know that, one look at this rhetorical analysis system I’ve worked out to help me figure out who I am will sear the image of a pocket-protector wearing bird into your mind forever.

This system is not actually as scary as it sounds and you don’t need a PhD to do it, you just need some time and space to do some writing with your thinking cap on (by the way, did you hear they sell those in leopard print now!?).

If you want to try it, here’s what you do…

1. Make a list of people in the world who you believe are doing something valuable with their lives.

2. Next to each name, list out single words or phrases that represent what stands out to you the most about what they’re doing that makes you see it as valuable.

3. Go through and underline the words/phrases that you see repeated.

4. Count up how many times each word/phrase was used.

5. List the words/phrases in order of how many times you used them (words used the most go at the top and the ones used the least go at the bottom).

6. Construct a short paragraph (one or two sentences) incorporating these words in order to find out what’s important to you.

7. If you want to simplify it further, summarize that paragraph into a short statement.

Here’s a small excerpt from my personal Valuable Identity project to give you an example…

People who I believe are doing something valuable with their lives….

1. Abby Tracy– helping children, helping the poor, helping orphans, wholistic approach to helping the whole person, self-sacrifice, defending the innocent
2. Doctors and Nurses- self-sacrifice, hard work, caring, facing hard stuff
3. Good school teachers- helping children, teaching life skills, hard work, self-sacrifice, passionate, teaching others
4. Kelli Freeman– hard work, helping children, helping orphans, caring, wholistic approach to helping the whole person, teaching life skills

In the end (my full project consisted of a list of 15 people) the words/phrases that I repeated the most went like this…

Passionate- used 15 times
Caring- 15
Hard work- 14
Facing hard stuff- 12
Helps people through emotional healing- 11
Life skills- 10
Teaches others- 10
Helps children- 8
Wholistic approach to helping the whole person- 8
Self-sacrificing- 8
Defend the innocent- 7
Generous with giving money- 6

In the end, the sentence I came up with to squeeze those words into sort of a missions statement went like this….

I need to use my passion to care about others. I need to work hard and work with hard issues. I need to help others with their emotional healing while teaching them life skills. I need to sacrifice myself to help children through a wholistic approach. I need to defend the innocent when necessary and give money when appropriate.

In a simpler version that has the ability to encompass all the words…
Help children wholistically.

I’ll be the first to admit that this is a flawed system… but at least it will get you started in thinking about what’s important to you!

I’m not sure that helping children wholistically is what I’m meant to dedicate my life to, but I did learn things about what I value that I didn’t expect. For example, I had no idea that I thought hard work was all that important! When I first met my husband to be, my mom tried to tell me that one of his best character traits was that he was a hard worker, but I thought that sounded boring so I decided that my favorite thing about him was that he was tall. Apparently in my heart of hearts, I really did have a soft spot for that work ethic of his that he applies to more than just his career, but to all areas of his life.

So give it a shot and see what you think! Even if you don’t follow my literature geek model exactly, it will at least give you a place to start from that might just bunny trail you off into Wonderland or some other magical place that will help you find out who you really are and what exactly you believe is important in life.

** At this point you are well on your way to completing Step 2 in finding your extraordinary life which is “Identifying Who You Are and What You Are Meant To Do”. (In case you missed it, Step 1 was “The Discipline of Dreaming“). Of course since uncovering your identity is an ongoing quest, we’ll keep talking about it here… but we’ll also continue on and eventually we’ll head straight into Step 3: “Face the Fears”.

And one more thing… if you do this Valuable Identity project, leave a comment to share what you came up with, I’d love to hear it!

(if you liked this project and want to learn more about Extraordinary Living join the  Rare Existence Facebook community)!

 

Work on your character and a good life will come to you.

Discovering who you are (a project)

Alright, enough rambling from me about the concept of identity, it’s time for you to do some muttering to yourself as well (so maybe you shouldn’t do this while sitting at your desk at work or in the middle of Starbucks).  You know how we talked about the importance of writing down your thoughts during this process? Well this is one of those times. This will be GREAT material to build from in the future, so make sure you have it down somewhere so you can reference it later.
The answers to these questions aren’t as important as the in-depth thinking process involved in getting the answers. These are meant to give you a springboard to start thinking from. Internal reflection is way important for this journey and this is just the beginning of your practice!

And away we go!!!!!!!

Talents and skills
1. What have people in your life told you that you are good at (both in the past and recently)?
2. What do you think you are good at?
3. Is there anything you feel exhilarated when doing?
4. What things do you want to learn more about or get better at?

Passions and favorites
1. What is your favorite things to work with out of the following: people, animals, nature, technology, your hands.
2. What things are the most likely to make you cry from sadness?
3. Does anything make you cry from happiness?  What is it?
4. What makes you the angriest?
5. What are your pet peeves?
6. List 10 small things that make you happy (not that hard: my list includes coffee, hot pink nail polish, and Pinterest! I’m sure many of you have a profile on some site that already has a list like this.).

Experiences
1.  What was the best day of your life?
2.  What’s one thing that made you feel exhilarated the first time you tried it?
3.  What time period in your life do you remember being the happiest?
4.  List 5 things that were the basis for why you were so happy during the period listed in #3.
5.  List 3 things you’ve done in your life that you were proud of.

Bringing it all together
1.  Are there any words or phrases you repeated a lot?
2.  Are there any similar locations?
3.  Are there any similar types of people? (i.e. kids, elderly, handicapped, injured, etc., etc).
4.  Any other trends you notice in your previous answers?
5.  From what you know about yourself currently, sum up your personality, style, and character in one paragraph.

This is a small taste of a self identification exercise! I have many more to come for you later!  If you need more right now, there are all kinds of personality tests you can take out there!  The only one I’ve done myself that I liked much was the Myers-Briggs test but look for one you think you’d like yourself if you need more help!

What do you think? Did these questions help get your thinking juices flowing?

The Discipline Of Dreaming (a project)

Most people don’t spend their days thinking about “what could be”.  And if they do, they are most likely thinking pretty small like “if I only I had enough money to get my car detailed instead of just hosed down”, or “I wish I had the time to go shopping this weekend”, or even smaller, “too bad this isn’t a white mocha with whipped cream instead of a non-fat latte”.  Yes my friends, this is what American dreaming has become!  These are the things we spend our days pining for…with a little “I wish I could go on a week long dream vacation” mixed in on particularly long Mondays.  But the kind of dreaming we’re going to start doing is the “3 wishes, genie in a lamp” kind.  I don’t care if you’re picturing a silly blonde genie who hangs out with Major Nelson, or a big blue guy that sounds an awful lot like Robin Williams… as long as your 3rd wish is to cheat and wish for more wishes, because this time you get as many as you want!

Ever since I began the “discipline of dreaming” I’ve been amazed by how incredibly hard it is! 

You’d think it’d be easy to figure out what you want in life if you could have/do/be anything!  But it’s not!  Most people can’t figure it out without putting a lot of time into it, myself included. We’re overwhelmed… either by the amount of options,  by the challenges in making them happen, or by our lack of knowledge about ourselves.  But dreaming is a necessary beginning for extraordinary living because in order to find the life you are meant to live, you need at least some idea of what’s important to you.

Your “pre-project” project.

It’s time to stop believing that the good life is for everyone else. It’s time to start finding your own good/extraordinary life. So I’m giving you a project today. But before we start I have to tell you about one of the main things that I believe will make the difference between people who will read this blog and then forget about it, versus people who will read this blog as a guide while they actually change their life. The difference?  WRITING ABOUT IT. I don’t care if you are the “writing type” or not. If you are the “person type” then when it comes to changing your life, unraveling your identity, or anything that requires any self-reflection at all (so basically everything in this blog), you will only make it so far if you don’t commit to spending a good amount of time and thought investing yourself in it.  Writing it down will help you clarify your thoughts and give you something to build on as you go. So your “pre-project” project is: Designate a place to write down everything you learn about yourself, think deeper on, or complete as a project while following Rare Existence.

Your Project.

Since (you guessed it) your project assignment is going to be to start dreaming (dream as individuals first, then together with your spouse/partner), I’m going to give you an example of what my dreaming looked like in stage 1. I think this will also make you feel better if you think you might be too lame, weird, shallow, or… sort of retarded,  to live an extraordinary life- since as you are about to see… I too am all those things.

Breanna’s dreams:
Be on Chelsea Lately (I’m not a comedian or an actress- the 2 main requirements for the show- but I’ll find a way).
Become a published author.
Have a house with a fancy guest room where people can come to feel rested.
Travel to all the major world cities (New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Rome).
Only work 1-2 days a week for the rest of my life.
Continually audit college classes for enrichment.
Have a long-term community of people around me that I love and live life with.
Spend one day like a millionaire.
Learn to be a great multi-media artist.
Swim with dolphins (yes, even after watching “The Cove”- call me heartless, but I REALLY want to do this!).
Change someone’s life 180 degrees for the better.
Spend a day in the most beautiful garden in the world.
Own a smart fridge (if it plans recipes and grocery shops for me).
Have a good enough budget that I’ll never be in debt and always have extra to give.
Go to Disneyland at Christmas time.
Go on a romantic date in New York at Christmas time.
Raise extremely healthy (physically, emotionally, spiritually) kids.
Have a home that is seen as the “community hang out” for our friends.
Often be an “anonymous donor” when I hear of a major financial need.
Have my own art room.
Spend 1 month with my friends in Malaysia.
Learn what “healthy eating” is and stick to it for the rest of my life.
Learn fluent Spanish (8 semesters of Spanish with no memory of any of it, says this is a bigger dream than it sounds).
Be taken on surprise trips by my husband with all the details worked out ahead of time.
Host a beautiful garden party
Host an awesome rooftop party on a high rise in the middle of a downtown somewhere.
Do some public speaking from time to time.
Get my old ’66 Mustang back and keep it in good condition as a “fun weekend car”.
Stay under 130 lbs for the rest of my life (not counting pregnancy of course!)
Be a terrific influence on my grandkids and very active/involved in their lives.
Have the time to volunteer for any organization I really believe in.
Find ways of exercising that I really enjoy and stick to a regular workout schedule for life.
Make a movie with my husband.
Always have my own pretty outdoor space where I can go to find relaxation and peace.

So Your project is: Write down your dreams. If it helps, go buy that coffee mug at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf that says, “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” to drink your inspiration juice out of while working on this project (it actually did help me to think of some of this as an answer to that question).  Just write…no matter what you discover about yourself, no matter how petty you feel, and no matter how scared it makes you. If it frees you up to write the truth, I give you permission to sign someone else’s name on your list (as long as it’s not mine).