Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Plans, Goals and Just Being

This morning has been like most recent mornings with breakfast, news, music and before you can ask what time is it? A couple of hours have whisked by. Today was different, however, because I had decided I needed to get back on track and start blogging. What I was going to write about wasn't clear but I was optimistic that something would occur that would inspire me and dear reader it did. 

The idea came from one of the numerous quotes that pop up on my twitter time line and resulted in me reflecting on how in our current society goal setting seems de rigueur. The tweet was roughly 'the only goal you need is to have a goal'. I mulled over the idea that things get done and achieved for most people without them ever considering they're setting goals or making plans. Now I don't  want the coaches and trainers among you to think I'm disrespecting you because I'm not. I've used planning techniques with clients and in a personal sense and have found them very useful. It's just that sometimes I get fed up with the idea that happiness lies in success and the only way to be successful is to have a goal and a plan. Because in truth some of the best things that have happened to me have been a case of serendipity?

I think plans and goals come into there own if you want a particular job, or say in a personal sense if you feel dissatisfied, or unhappy, because if you know what makes you feel that way you can take a pragmatic approach and sort it. Even if the answer is 'I feel there's something more to life'. There are the questions you can ask yourself to promote clarity for example (1) what makes me feel that? (2) What constitutes more? (3) What can I do to resolve it?  After asking these questions it may be that one of the the answers you come up with is to seek counselling or to put more enjoyment into your life and both are achievable goals. However, both of them could cost money so unless you already have the funds you would be off making another plan on how to get the money which now becomes a goal in itself.

So plans are good, goals are good it's just that they're not in my opinion the whole shebang. What seems far more important to me at this point in my life is acquiring the ability of acceptance and to just be. This isn't a new idea for me. I've been talking about acceptance and just being in a professional sense for years. Recently, however, I've been exploring the idea  in a very personal sense and it is pretty good. I am enjoying the desultory nature of my days and the freedom that retirement has brought. However, when I mentioned just being I meant something more than reacting to whatever the day brings. What I really mean by just being is acquiring a level of self acceptance which says, this is who I am, this is where I am, and it's OK. 

So what do I know at the moment? I know I like being retired, I know I am happy in my relationship, I know I am loving, I know I am funny, I know I am irascible, I know I get angry, I know I am kind, I know I am unfit, I know I am overweight, I know I am scared of losing my edge, I know I need to trust in the universe. 

So you could ask is just being accepting all of that? In a sense yes. It's accepting that this is where I am and this is how it is now. Will it always be like that? It could be but it probably won't be. For example it's a fair bet that I'll still have a tendency to irascibility but that matters less because it's offset by kindness. Will I remain overweight and unfit definitely not and for that I have a plan! 


  1. Two comments. Management guru Tom Peters quotes an entrepreneur as saying "We don't plan, we just do. Whenever we get into trouble it's because someone's been thinking'. There's something to be said for just getting on with it, and John harvey-Jones said 'Speed is more important than direction'.

    Secondly, I heard a very good speaker saying that life-changing achievements aren't driven by SMART objectives, they are the product of dreams. He cited Whoopee Goldberg and the Williams sisters, with dreams that no-one would ever have described as 'realistic' or 'achievable'.

    I'm not knocking planning, but it can sometimes become a substitute for action, rather than a driver.

  2. Accepting who you are and what you are is the way to contentment. We can all aim to lose weight, but not be driven by it - just adjust your life to be comfortable with the idea of weight loss - I know I've got to lose weight - too much sugar in the blood. But accept what comes your weigh and decide what you want to do with it - if its to your advantage then grab it - if it's not then discard it.
    Your choice, your life now enjoy it x

  3. Thanks for commenting Robert. I do think it depends on the circumstances but as you say planning is only useful if you act on it.

  4. I think what will work for me is just trusting to the universe. I've surprised myself - not working is much easier than I thought x

  5. Plans & goals are not necessary for happiness, dreams and a sense of purpose are. Lose your dreams and you lose your mind - I find that applies in so many cases, not knowing what you want or where you're going can cause a great malaise.

    That said, if you've already got what you want that's fabulous - unfortunately few people ever realise that. Counting our blessings is so much more important than looking over our neighbour's shoulder and envying theirs.

  6. I’m so glad to see you blogging! I agree with everything you’ve said. I have let my own weight creep up slowly. I seem to spend my off time writing novels, blogging, and using social media. What I’m not doing is hitting my exercise room. It has everything I love; an incline treadmill, speed bag, body bag and weights. I just can’t seem to get up the ambition to workout. It’s what I used to relieve stress from my job and now I write. I must find a medium ground so I don’t need to buy new uniforms. You’ve given me a reason to think about my waistline but I’m not sure if I should thank you, yet:-)

  7. I do so agree. In my working life I have come across lots of people who have no experience of contentment or what they would need in order to feel contentment. One goal succeeds another but those good feelings elude them.

  8. let's just encourage each other to exercise our butts and our minds - deal?

  9. I do so agree - sometimes it seems to me that there is a lot of activity just for the sake of doing something, or being seen to do something.  I have to know who I am and how I am before I can begin to decide whither or what next.  Self-acceptance and understanding that NOW is what we actually have are crucial, in my opinion.  A non-judgemental awareness of 'what is' is Step One in any process I can think of - whether that is deciding that this is fine, thanks, or that something needs to change.
    As ever, Babs, the nail has been hit squarely on the head by you!