My 6 Areas of Reflection from 2016 (with My Humorous Wisecracks), My Oath for 2017, and My Goal Setting Technique
“If I speak of myself in different ways, that is because I look at myself in different ways.” Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays
My 2016 experience was a mixture of good and bad habits plus good and bad events. Here’s the summation in my quirky quips.
- Bad habit: “My money is funny.”
- Good habit: “As a matter of fact, my meal game is ‘tight’”
- Good habit & Bad experience: “A body in motion, stays in motion — unless that body has been in an accident.”
- Bad habit: “My messy mind.”
- Bad habit: “I need to move from stalemate (no one wins) to checkmate (I got the king)”
- Good experience: “My mission is to lay bricks and to build bridges for a changed life, for you and me.”
“Learning without reflection is a waste. Reflection without learning is dangerous.”
A Look Back to The Start of 2016
I kicked-off 2016, using the technique below with my accountability allies (aka the “Goal Digging Gals”) to strive for victory in achieving my goals. The overarching aim of our technique — is to size the goals into small tangible chunks for success in a three-month period.
The “Goal Digging Gals” Technique
- Write down three goals to accomplish in the quarter
- Share goals with accountability allies
- Review goals, repeatedly
- Report out periodic updates
- Receive feedback
- Revise as necessary
- Repeat = Missed goals + New goals
2016 Midyear Assessment
During my 2016 midyear assessment, I was frustrated with the characteristics of my goals, yielding small personal results. My successes were resulting from my goals being anchored in the safe place of certainty. My low-grade achievement was in effect, maintaining a sustainable life. My goals were primarily a maintenance plan for my ego. Thus, I was sabotaging my soul and maintaining an ecosystem for sustainable living.
My 2016 goals started off narrow in scope (sustainable goals), and consequently, my goals did not encourage the expanded vision that my soul was conjuring up. I decided it was time to “level up” (stretch) my quarterly goals to enrich my life in meaningful ways.
The lesson. My goals should consist of:
- Sustainable Goals support the state of “what is”
- On the Edge Goals support a hybrid state of “what is” and “what is possible”
- Stretch goals support the state of “what is possible”
Ecosystem, Sustainable, Mummies Are Uncommon Words Used for Goal Setting
Let’s talk about the words sustainable for a moment. The definition of sustainable is to support “what is.” Previously, I mentioned my goals were “maintaining an ecosystem for sustainable living,” which refers to the perseveration of my existing state. How can this be bad — you ask? I’ll answer that question with an analogy. When a dead body is mummified; the body is preserved in its current state, to keep it intact and to prevent further deterioration from occurring. However, in this state, life expansion ceases to happen. Similarly, sustainable goals will keep the “what is” intact and not facilitate life expansion. Sustainable goals, doesn’t change a life — it maintains your current life state. Now let’s add a layer to this thinking. The process of achieving goals should be sustainable. That is, the technique used to reach our goals should be viable and be easily continued. (Refer to the ‘Goal Digging Gals’ technique cited earlier in this story)
My 6 Areas of Reflection from 2016
My 2016 reflection story explores my habits and experiences in six areas: Money, Meals, Motion, Mind, Mate, and Mission.
“Do not be obsessed with expensive things. Instead, be obsessed with excellence. Things don’t make you excellent. However, excellence will make you expensive.” Janna Cachola
At the start of 2016, I met with my financial planner to get a handle on my finances. Keep in mind; this was a carryover 2015 goal (quarter-over-quarter). After meeting with him, I reluctantly changed my approach and thinking to improve my financial health. Instead of maximizing my savings, the goal was to annihilate, yes destroy my consumer debt. I had some sustainable successes in 2015 and 2016 with paying down my consumer debt lines. However, I always fell short with the annihilation of my entire consumer debt portfolio.
“Hell is full of good meanings, but Heaven is full of good works.”
Ok, I am not blameless. I cheated on my finances. I snuck around spending on my debit cards to avoid purchasing on my credit cards. Smart, right? (rhetorical) The effect. I had little to no money left over to be aggressive with paying down my outstanding consumer credit balances. Now, I want a divorce from my consumer debt (it’s been many years in the making). And because of my bad money habits, I finished 2016, not like a budget pro, but as a defeated debtor, a busted borrower, a credit chump (let me have my moment of self-pity). What does this mean for 2017? I am carrying, an unsuitable bag of debt into 2017. I must stop playing budget bingo with my dollar bills and resist this down payment democracy fueled by credit’s capitalism. The Struggle. Some lessons take longer to learn.
Consuming green leafy matter in abundance is a priority for me. Especially, as I am approaching, a half of century walking the grounds of mother earth. I have been green juicing since 2006, and in the year of 2016, I leveled up my commitment to juicing to 5 days a week — Monday through Friday.
Let me take you through my progression. I began 2016, juicing two days a week, mid-year I increased it to 3.5 days per week and during the summer, I upped my weekly ante to 5 green juice days. I’ve also modified what I eat during that period, which pairs nicely for my clean eating lifestyle (for most of the time — continue reading).
I’ve implemented a standardized meal system which consists of, mainly: raw broccoli, cauliflower, tortilla chips, a dip of my choice and seasonal fruits. Not to be left out, eggs, when I can get to the Union Square Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings. The effect. My five day a week clean eating habit has got me on a healthy high. Because ‘on a regular,’ I ingest (& eliminate) some ‘real-good’ green shrubbery. (Gulp. Gulp. Pass. Most people, respectfully pass on my green juice generosity. I don’t take it too personally.) In other related news, my Kangaroo pouch is shrinking because of my healthy meal habits. What does this mean for 2017? My formed and fortified routines are building a body of work; I continue to be proud of. The Struggle: Remember, you read, I eat clean five days a week. What about Saturdays & Sundays? The remaining two days, I reward myself, by eating, whatever the hell I like. Which means, in most cases, I squander my health currency on my sugar cravings. No Bueno.
“Commitment is a promise to a cause. Being non-committal is a promise to catastrophe.” Craig D. Lounsbrough
Since 2012, I’ve worked out on a consistent basis. In 2014, I tumbled into a new routine and integrated strength training into my movement mix. Before that, I was a Cardio Chica. Engaging in long cardio routines. After experiencing the benefits of High-intensity interval training (HIIT), my philosophy has moved to quality over quantity, and lengthy cardio routines are for Henrietta, the hamster.
In unfortunate news, my four days a week fitness routine was stopped due to a car accident I was in, July 2016. Up until the car accident — I did not fully understand how monumental exercise and movement were to my overall existence. Initially, I thought of exercise on a monochromatic spectrum; benefitting only my body. Following the crash, I now think of exercise on a mosaic spectrum; benefitting not only my body but my mind, too. The effect. I was in a funk because I couldn’t move the way I was accustomed to and I was experiencing intermittent pain. And morsels of my mind were slowly chipping away, because of my motionlessness state. What does this mean for 2017? My treatment plan concluded right before Thanksgiving 2016 and I am back to my ‘badassery’ behavior in the gym. My body and mind are better because of my pivot back to my formed and fortified fitness routine. The Struggle: I am weak. However, I continue to push through my physical and mental states of discomfort to complete my entire fitness routines.
“Don’t worry. You’ll find your message in your mess.” Richie Norton
Mastering my thoughts has been a series of sporadic starts and stops to create stillness in my inner and outer ecosystems. In other words, it’s been a struggle. I constantly retreat in the unsafe space of mind during times of confusion, challenges, conflicts, and chaos. Warning label. My mind is unsafe because I lack control over it. The parroted fables and fairy tales I tell myself are just not true. These repetitive tales my mind peddles, I labor to resist. My mind yearns for constant stimulation — fact, or fiction. The effect. These fear-based mind patterns I harbor are buried deep within. Resulting in, a mind maze of messiness. My previous, avoidance tactics and “do-nothing attitude” are not the behaviors that support a changed life. What does this mean for 2017? I am dealing with my head issues, head on (pun intended). I need to crack the code to my cranium patterns. The thoughts that no longer serve me or others must be flushed out (like sh*t in a toilet bowl). I will no longer carry this weight. To that end, I have a yearly subscription to Headspace, to form and fortify the routine of daily meditation and train my mind for better life outcomes. Getting my mind right is the goal. I must create new circuitry currents in my cranium. The Struggle. I must stop the behavior of brushing dirt under the rug. All this does is hide the mucky brain buildup. I need to deal and feel my way to freeing my mind from fear. Yup, agency over my mind is a challenge.
Ever since I can remember, my dreams have been filled with desires of experiencing life with a mate. The Effect. My mate mishaps are surely connected to my messy mind. What does this mean for 2017? I am tidying up my mind to let go of fear-based fables to free up space for faith-based thinking and living. Hence, my prince charming is on a chariot coming my way. My heart’s ode to the universe of love.
Mirror, mirror on the wall
Why is my prince charming coming at the speed of a crawl?
Is it due to his high cholesterol?
As I work through my muck,
I believe my fairy godmother will send me a hunk
Thank you, in advance,
For the chance to dance with romance.
Faithfully yours, Rochelle
The Struggle: Letting go of years of stinking thinking ain’t easy.
This is the part of the story, where I leveled up my goals. The summer of 2016, I embarked on a journey in pursuit of my mission to create content comprising of my experiences, my self-discovery, and my behavioral experiments to share with the world, in hopes that you and I may be inspired informed and entertained. The decision to be a consistent creator of content has cleared the way for my changed life.
“Your greatest self has been waiting your whole life; don’t make it wait any longer.” Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
What does this look like in 2017?
I am co-creating with one of my allies (Lisa Deveaux) from the famous ‘Goal Digging Gals’ group (you’ve heard of us by now). We will chronicle our stories to be shared in the following formats:
- A podcast program
- A book
The Lesson: Sustainable goals, doesn’t change a life — it maintains a life. The Struggle: What I know to be true, every grand idea and grand intention are not without the perils of disappoint, setbacks and failures. The key. (I am preaching to myself)
Master the art of consistency.
In other words, during confusion, challenges, conflicts and chaos, the production process of creation should continue and not cease. (Self-responds) This is easier said than done.
My commitment is to give, my all, and my best efforts to the integrated segments of my life as I have shared in this story, my story. So, that, when the bell strikes 2018, I would not have misused the gift of 365 days of my life in 2017 by staying the same, I would have created a changed life.
Join me in creating a changed life. Share with me, how you plan to change in 2017.
Please read my other written work.
Originally published at rochelleaross.com on January 4, 2017.