Monday, December 19, 2011

Just a thought....

Hello Everyone! Hope you enjoyed the weekend. I have a full house now, and we are in the Christmas spirit. The quietness is replaced with a buzz and even though my boys are older, everyone is still excited for Christmas. I'm all through shopping and most of the gifts are wrapped. I just set up my dining room tables yesterday. It took me all afternnoon, but it involves, setting up long folding tables, figuring out the seating, decorating the table and getting out all the stuff I'll need. My notes really help me remember, and I always refer to the photos taken the year before, to remind me what goes where. I'll set the tables later in the week, but I feel good getting that out of the way. I was supposed to do some baking, but I was just too pooped! I have a full list this week, with work stuff and getting ready for Christmas Eve dinner and then my big dinner for 24 on Christmas Day. Today I have some baking on the schedule and a few errands
Eight more sit here. Somehow we all fit in!Disregard the dogs ball!

I can seat 16 at this table. This is last years photo

Christmas Eve dinner last year, with my parents.

I took a few minutes break yesterday to catch up with everyone. I read Dawn's post and felt her frustration at not meeting her goals. It made me think of this recent post I received in my email. It's from a blog that I subscribe to, and recommend, called Zen habits. I realized how fixated I am, and maybe you are too, on setting goals constantly. I'm not saying that you shouldn't, but read this post and let me know what you think. It might be something to try in the new year.

As someone who has not had much success in meeting my goals, I think as I continue on my journey that I am going to do what I know I should, take each day as it comes and do my best each day. It might take some of the performance pressure off of me! Big hugs to all of you!
Thought for the day: "Goals are dreams with deadlines" - unknown

 Reprinted from Zen Habits. This is a guest post from Joshua Fields Millburn of The Minimalists.

I have lived the last 100 days with no goals. And I have never been happier or more content in my life.

When I met Leo four months ago — two-thousand miles from my home in Dayton, Ohio — he said there were three things that significantly changed his life: establishing habits he enjoyed, simplifying his life, and living with no goals.

I was already living the first two: I had established my pleasurable habits, I had simplified my life. But it was difficult for me to grasp the “no goals” thing. The thought of living a life with no goals sounded insane to me — it was counterintuitive, it was scary, it went against almost everything I had ever learned about productivity.

In my corporate life of yesteryear, I managed hundreds of people for a large corporation, an organization in which I was often considered the productivity guy, the goal guy: I met deadlines, overproduced, exceeded expectations, got results. That’s why they paid me the big bucks.

I regularly had umpteen goals in various stages of completion: short-term goals, long-term goals, personal goals, business goals, health goals, financial goals, vacation goals, consumer-purchasing goals, you name it. I thought if I crossed enough goals off my to-do list, I’d eventually be content. So I worked harder and harder, focusing on every new goal with lapidary precision.

But I was stressed out of my mind with all those goals. My hauntingly perpetual to-do list was just that — perpetual, never-ending. And it was ever-growing. Plus, I was continuously disappointed when I didn’t achieve a goal, or when I missed a deadline. Hell, I was even disappointed when I attained a goal but didn’t overachieve. It was a self-consuming cocaine high — it was never enough.

I needed a way to quit my goals cold turkey, so I did two things after speaking with Leo.

First, I asked myself, “why do I have these goals?” I had goals so I could tell if I was “accomplishing” what I was “supposed” to accomplish. If I met a goal, I was allowed to be happy — right? Then I thought: Wait a minute, why must I achieve a specific result towards an arbitrary goal to be happy? Why don’t I just allow myself to be happy now?

Second, I decided to live with no goals for a while. I didn’t know how long, because I didn’t make it a goal. I figured I’d give it a shot for a month or so, maybe longer, to see what happened. If it affected me negatively, I could return to my rigid life of “achieving” and “producing results” with my color-coded spreadsheets containing scads of goals.

What happened? Breaking free from goals changed my life.

Three Ways Living with No Goals Changed My Life

1. I am less stressed. I have virtually no stress now. Sure, there are brief moments in which I feel vexed or bothered — but I feel so much less stress these days. People I’ve known for years comment on how calm I am. With no goals, they say I’m a different person — a better person.

2. I am more productive. I didn’t anticipate this one. I thought getting rid of goals meant I was going to sacrifice results and productivity. But the opposite has been true. I tossed productivity and became more productive. I’ve written the best fiction of my life, I’ve watched our website’s readership increase significantly, I’ve met remarkable new people, and I’ve been able to contribute to other people like never before. The last 100 days have been the most productive days of my life.

3. I am happier and more content. During my 30 years on this earth, I’ve never been this consistently happy or content. It is an incredible feeling, even surreal at times. With the decreased stress and increased productivity resulting from no goals, I am able to enjoy my life, I am able to live in the moment. And thus I am appreciably happier and more content.

Three Misconceptions About No Goals

Three arguments against the no-goal lifestyle presented themselves to me in the last 100 days, all three of which I’d like to address.

1. Complacency: Doesn’t a life with no goals make you complacent? Well, if by “complacent” you mean “content,” then yes. But, otherwise, no it didn’t make me complacent. In fact, the opposite was true: after removing the stress from my life, I partook in new, exciting endeavors, while living a passionate, meaningful life.

2. Growth: Doesn’t a life with no goals prevent you from growing? No. I’ve grown considerably in the last 100 days. I’ve gotten into the best shape of my life, strengthened my personal relationships, established new relationships, and written more than ever before. I’ve grown more in the last 100 days than any other 100-day period in my life.

3. You still have goals: You say you have no goals, but don’t you still have some goals, like finishing your new novel or “being happy” or “living in the moment”? It’s important to make a distinction here: yes, I want to “be happy” and “live in the moment” and “live a healthy life,” but these are choices, not goals. I choose to be happy. I choose to live in the moment. I choose to live a healthy life. I don’t need to measure these events, I simply live this way. As for my new novel, I intend to finish writing it — I’ve never worked harder on anything in my life — but I’m enjoying the process of writing it, and if I never finish, that’s okay too. I’m not stressed about it anymore.

Living with no goals has changed my life. It has added layers of happiness and contentment I didn’t realize were possible. It has allowed me to contribute to other people in meaningful ways. I’m not going back to a goal-oriented life. No goals. None at all. Life is outstanding without them.


  1. Gee, I don't know if I can give up making goals! My goals are really more of a "to do" list I guess. I can see that it would de-stress us if we could manage it.
    I wanted to tell you how beautiful your house looks for Christmas! I can see the work and energy you put into making such a wonderful Christmas for everyone. I'm sure everyone appreciates what you do. I for one would LOVE to have a relative like you that goes all out like you do to make things so nice for everyone else!! I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday! Merry Christmas to you!

  2. First let me say that your home is stunning! Definitely out of a magazine! The love of entertaining shows in the details:) Secondly, I agree with the word "goals". I loved what the gentleman had to say about his new way of life. In a lot of ways it is like the "when I have enough money" goal, and we never really have "enough", but we usually have what everyone else would consider "enough".
    Another beautiful post from a beautiful woman. I hope you find some time for "Zen" so that you can wake up Monday with a smile and a sigh and a THANK GOD, for a beautiful, happy, joyful life!
    Blessings my friend!

  3. Love your tables Pattie! I don't think I could do no goals. When I don't set goals I get into trouble. Merry Christmas!

  4. Pattie you are such a beautiful decorator I want to come spend Christmas at your house :) Have a wonderful week :)

  5. Hi Pattie, Your pictures are great, I know everyone will appreciate and love all your hard work.
    I think the no goals thing is great. I always thought that by setting a weight loss goal, we are setting ourselves up for failure. If we don't hit that goal we think its the end of the world.

    Make a goal of where you want to end up at but not the in-between ones, like next month I want to lose this much.

    Have a great day. :-)