One of my pet peeves is that there is so little accountability anymore. Alternate facts, fake news, lies, etc. But I don’t wanna address global accountability because I have no solutions. Except that we have to hold ourselves accountable first. And that’s where I am today with my lottery winnings.

At two months in I have achieved some things but struggle with others. A month or more of that time I dedicated to house projects and finishing up our move. But I rarely let myself see those victories. Instead I see how little I have achieved. I don’t yet blog everyday, or practice mandolin daily, or meditate seven days a week. Sure, I’ve made improvements but I set my goals too high. Instead of setting realistic goals I aimed too high. So I see that but now need to stop beating myself up for not meeting the unrealistic goals I set. Round and round I go. . . . . .

I boiled down my ‘what would I do if I won a million bucks’ into a nice abbreviation:

E -> M -> J -> M -> B – > W

Or, Exercise, Meditate, Journal, Mandolin, Blog, and Write

Those are the things I want to spend my time doing, in the time I previously spent at my job.

I even developed specific goals related to each item.

Exercise: I do this already. Four days a week I do weight training at home. 45-60 minutes. I don’t really have to work at this as it is already a habit, but I would like to add a little cardio in the future if I can achieve all my other goals.

Meditate: I started meditating using Headspace a few months ago and have been good at doing it a few times a week. My goal is get up to 4 times a week, then a 15-day streak, and ultimately nearly every day (or 5-7 times a week). I am working toward this. I do better during the weekdays and have trouble meditating on the weekends when I am more surrounded by family and am ‘not working’ or dedicating ‘me time’.

Journal: Related to blogging and writing I am prioritizing journaling. Similar to meditation, I would like to do this every day, am getting better, and can comfortably knock out 3-4 days journaling in a week. My goals are to increase frequency toward daily and to link my journaling topics to meditating, blogging, and writing. Of course, some journaling is free-form and has no goals, but overall I do well linking my tasks together under a common theme-of-the-day.

Mandolin: I want to play more and try to squeeze it in where I can. It’s hard because it’s loud-ish and I don’t necessarily want other people in the house to hear my practicing. A struggle when not alone (which is almost never). I have two lines of goals with respect to mandolin: 1) learn new songs and explore jazz particularly and 2) work up some solo singing songs toward doing a set at open mic night and developing a solo mandolin ‘act’. Again, I do fairly well but have trouble prioritizing over the long run. I would like to practice at least 5 minutes a day, but 4-5 days a week of 30 minutes would be great.

Blog: I set up this blog to help maintain regularity and accountability. I have missed a week or so and see how it could slip away entirely. Like everything else, it’s hard to create new habits, it’s easy to slip up, and easier still to let it slide away into oblivion – falling back on old habits. I would like to either blog or post to Medium 4-5 days a week.

Write: My ultimate professional goal is to get out all of the ideas I have inside in written form. First task is to finish editing my beer book and publish an ebook. Then I can move on. This is the slowest process of all and the hardest to show progress. I set a new goal today of editing 2-3 chapters a week so that I can finish in a month.

I don’t think those goals are unrealistic, but I have trouble sticking to it. Just like anything. It took me a long time to make exercise a habit, and it is still hard sometimes, but I rarely miss a week without it. And, when I do, I forgive myself. I will continue to stalk these other new habits and try to improve. But I need to figure out how to not blow them off. My typical bailing procedure is to say to myself, “it’s ok, it’s no big deal, these are silly things, anyway” to reflect the low importance I place on my needs. It’s not like I’m getting paid for any of this. It’s not like a job I can justify by saying I have to pay the bills. The only justification I can come up with is ‘I want to’ or ‘I need to’ and those sentiments just don’t carry the same weight.

My wife is cool with it and does not enforce my lack-of-importance. She sees these things as important and supports my quest to build new habits. My limiting factors here are my old beliefs that I don’t deserve what I want, my needs aren’t important, or I’m not worthy.

Those are the things I must get passed, and the way to do that, I think, is to trick myself by building the habits. I’m convinced that I JUST NEED TO DO IT and the rest will fall into place. But it is hard to JUST DO IT. It’s so easy to find excuses like I listed above.

I would do E, J, M, M, B, W BUT . . .

I’m ignoring my family

I want to be a good husband/father

My needs aren’t important as others’

I have to do X, Y, Z related to my roles as father or husband

Those things are silly

But I’m not earning money doing those things so they aren’t valuable

Ultimately I need to change those responses, and maybe in addition to building the habits by JUST DOING IT I need to replace the negative thoughts with more appropriate ones.

I DO deserve it

I have needs that must be met

My needs are important

I am a good father/husband AND can do my things

In truth, not getting my needs me is COMPROMISING my ability to be a good father/husband and, THEORETICALLY, by doing ‘my things’ I may actually IMPROVE at the very things I value.

I want to be a good father and husband but I also want to be the best ME I can be. And I have spent years figuring out what makes me the best ME and now I just need to do it. In fact, I need to recognize and value my efforts by creating the best life I can. It is the time for ACTION!

One thought on “Progress reporting, setting goals, and accountability

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