Goals and Spontaneity

We just got back from a week visiting family in Oklahoma. It was filled with conversations, cousins meeting and playing (and occasionally fighting), and lots of delicious, unhealthy holiday food.

Cousins!
Cousins!

We stayed at a hotel and had the room next to the lobby. This worked out perfectly, since we could put Bea down for naps and bedtime, bring the monitor out with us, and hang out with the others staying there. We took over the lobby and made it our temporary living room, which was great for catching up with the adults.

One night, Frank, two of his sisters, and I were talking about goals and visions. His youngest sister is embarking on a journey to become a motivational speaker. She is an amazing sales person and has an incredible life story, which seems like a very successful combination. She has created a vision board to help keep her focused and believes in the law of attraction. She has accomplished many of her goals already and is well on her way to successfully launching this new career. We talked about how creating specific, visual goals increases the likelihood for success.

Frank’s other sister views success and goal setting in a more inward, spiritual way. She is a very visual person, as well, but believes more in the power of meditation. She visualizes her goals, but also is aware that “success” can disrupt the peace and quality of life she has worked hard for. (One could argue that she has achieved success in this realization alone.)

Frank is of the opinion that writing out goals every day is how they are achieved. Before Bea, when time seemed less at a premium, he would take time to rewrite his goals in his journal nearly every day. This discipline kept the goals in his mind and helped him fulfill the steps to achieving those goals. By keeping the goals at the forefront of your consciousness, you become more aware of opportunities as they arise. It also allows for opportunity to reflect on where life’s journey is leading.

I am a goal-oriented person, as well. But, the past couple years I’ve been trying to live life more open-handed. While I always have an idea of what I’d like to accomplish in the future, I’ve found that embracing spontaneity and the unknown often leads to experiences and opportunities I wouldn’t have necessarily thought to envision for myself. (The flip side is that some of my worst experiences are ones that I thought “met” my goals, rather than listening to my intuition.) When I cling too tightly to a vision, I find myself frustrated or disappointed when it doesn’t turn out the way I imagined. And, while I keep ideas and goals at the back of my mind, I also try to look for unexpected and new opportunities, which seem to fulfill a dream in completely different ways.

In ten days, we are moving into a new house. We have been talking about the need to move for quite a while, and suddenly we felt that now was the time. The weekend after making our decision, we found the house we loved and a week later, someone offered to buy our house. It’s all happened so quickly! While we had researched over the past year neighborhoods we like and had talked about our dream home, we hadn’t ever mapped it out in minute detail. I think the combination of dreaming together and the spontaneity of the moment helped us find our new home.

Looking back on the conversation about goals, I see that each of us does believe in goal-setting, but the ways in which we find success is very reflective of our individual personalities. I look at how differently Frank and I go about the practice of setting goals, and in many ways those differences compliment each other. It made me think, as we enter the last month of the year, how I may change the way I set goals and how to balance having a focus and vision and enjoying the unexpected journey.

What about you? Are you a goal setter? What is the most successful way for you to work toward a goal?

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4 thoughts on “Goals and Spontaneity

  1. Great post, Annie! I hadn’t considered that goal setting techniques might vary by personality. I loved what you wrote: “When I cling too tightly to a vision, I find myself frustrated or disappointed when it doesn’t turn out the way I imagined.” I’ve been on the frustrated side of that equation. 🙂 I’m learning to set goals and leave the timeline in God’s hands.

    I hope your move goes smoothly!

  2. Hmmm….the whole goals thing has been in my thoughts lately along with the realization I have so few articulated ones. Felling I need to work on that but not finding the motivation. Maybe I’m more like your husbands second sister. Good thoughts here Annie.

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