Lori Welch Brown
Goin’ for the Goal
Hi, my name is Lori and I’m an addict. I’m addicted to achieving, accomplishing and producing. I’m a “goalaholic”. My days are besieged by a relentless desire to do do do! Who wants to just ‘be’ when there’s all this stuff to be done and tasks to accomplish. I came out of the womb multi-tasking. It’s a symptom of controlfreakitis. “Hey, Mom. Great to meet you. Is the nursery ready? Got the bassinet in place? How about milk? Are you stocked up? What’s my education plan? Any goals for saving for the future?” What can I say? I’m a product of the self-improvement generation. Personally, I blame Oprah, as well as the creators of Photoshop and Pinterest. I yearn to live my best life while looking like a Kardashian and cooking like the Barefoot Contessa while posting about it so everyone can share in my domestic bliss and covet my lean thighs.
Compulsive goal setting is my dirty little secret. I can spend days locked away, isolated from the world plotting out my strategy for making myself a better person and, like Oprah, creating my best life with the help of some Sharpies, my favorite planner and some artfully inspired notebooks. If I’m really in the zone, there may be magazines, foam board and glue sticks involved. Voila—vision board! For a seasoned “goalaholic” like myself, that’s about as good or better than a week at the beach. Of course, it’s not all azure crayolas and the smell of Elmer’s wafting across my desk. When you’re constantly seeking to achieve, there are bound to be upsets. Mostly, it’s due to poor planning and/or dried up glue sticks which can really throw a wrench into a fun evening.
Like a lot of resolution junkies, I’ve been known to throw some goals out there a bit willy nilly which is definitely not one of the 7 Habits of Successful People. Willy nilly goal setting is akin to waking up on New Year’s Day with a hangover the size of Trump’s toupee and vowing to become a teetotaler. While well intended, it is about as short lived as Kanye’s resolve to give up public rants. Giving up anything that we hold near and dear to our hearts and/or livers is never easy. Not to worry—if you screw up your New Year’s resolutions by January 5, there’s always Lenten season for making promises you can’t keep. Okay—so maybe years of failed resolutions have left me a little cynical and snarky. Next year I’ll resolve to be softer and kinder. Resolutions get a bad rap, but they really don’t rank up there with goals. Goals require planning and strategy. Resolutions are more like fleeting epiphanies to me. They’re this (in that moment) brilliant thought that pops into your head at 11:28 pm on December 31 after 7 glasses of flat, cheap champagne. They really don’t have staying power—even if you were sober enough to remember them on the 1st.
On the flip slide, achieving a well-planned goal is like a lab puppy rolling in a pile of freshly raked leaves. Hello, Nirvana! That feeling of accomplishment is euphoric. Runner’s high ain’t got nothing on a success high. Rolling up your sleeves and putting in some blood, sweat and tears to accomplish something meaningful is profoundly rewarding. It’s waking up with a purpose—doesn’t matter if it’s a career goal or a personal goal, a low-hanging fruit goal or a stretch goal. There’s so much happiness and joy to be found in the actual journey—even if you miss your intended target. The plotting and planning—as well as stretching your limits—is the essence of living passionately, at least to geeks like me. I guess you could say that ‘to do’ lists and check marks are my jam. Granted—there’s probably a dark side to my insatiable need for productivity and accomplishment. I was the consummate teacher’s pet. Is that so wrong? One (ie. my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Matt) might say it’s a healthy motivation. A therapist might say it’s filling a void and seeking external valuation for self-worth. To that I say, “pick me!” Anyhow—my “goalaholic” tendencies are about #33 on the list of things to discuss with a paid professional so it’s probably a safe bet that I’ll go to my grave with that as an unsolved mystery.
This year, however, I’ve decided to try a slightly different approach. Instead of a deep dive, self-improvement metamorphosis goalapolooza, I’m slow rolling my way into small, accomplishable intentions. Baby steps, people! At the beginning of each month I’ll set a new one. For January, my intention was to meditate every day for 15 minutes. For February, I’ll write for 30 minutes each morning. Regardless of your intention, every day represents a big, beautiful blank slate just waiting to be colored in with all your hopes and dreams. Time to Sharpie up!
Happy Valentine’s Day, XXL! Stay sweet, everyone.