Happy New Year

Goal setting for 2021 included a trip to Mount Assiniboine Park. I nailed it and went twice!

2022 Here we Come!
Ready or Not!

(picture above is me at Mount Assiniboine Park in British Columbia in September – with Mount Assiniboine in the background, a rare sight of a clear summit). This was one of my goals for 2021, and I ended up visiting it twice. It’s a miraculous place.

No, I didn’t actually climb the mountain. It’s really hard and dangerous.

This week I have been goal setting for 2022. It has been hard. How the heck is anyone supposed to make any plans these days?

I started with gratitude and time to pause. I’m not so good at looking backwards. Sometimes that’s a good thing, but when you add that to a dash of driven Type A achiever, it can be hard to recognize success. Does that sound familiar?

Are you making goals?

I’m also trying to focus more on a smaller number of goals instead of an exhaustive to-do list. I’m learning to trust the process, but trust in a shorter list.

The other habit I’ve done since I started out as an entrepreneur in 2007 with starting my first “real” business is choosing a word of the year. I never remember what it is by the end of the year, which maybe defeats the purpose. This year is Refresh.

Do you have a word of the year? Is it helpful?

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take – Wayne Gretzky

I would add you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take if you have too many pucks to chase on the ice (which is a reference to making too many goals and chasing them all rather ineffectually, like a gaggle of toddlers in TimBits Hockey. If you don’t know what that is you might want to set the goal to brush up on obscure Canadiana).

Okay, if you want to steal my process, go ahead. Don’t worry, I stole it from Natalie MacNeil (the leader of Conquer Club, the first business coaching online network I ever joined) and adapted it thanks to Michael Hyatt, Stan Peake and Lorraine Hamilton (two of my great business coaches along the way) and probably more who I’ve forgotten.

It seems that I’ve used creativity to build my goal system using Blending – one of the 3 creative mechanisms mentioned by David Eagleman and Anthony Brandt in The Time Magazine special Creativity issue a few years back. The other two are Breaking and Bending. I always forget Bending.

Here are the answers I contemplate at the end of every year

  1. Things I did that I said I would do
  2. Things I didn’t do that I said I woudl do
  3. Defining moments and what each taught me
  4. Something that brought me joy
  5. Something that stressed me out
  6. New things I tried
  7. A risk I took that paid off
  8. Biggest challenges and what they taught me
  9. What I know about myself now
  10. I spent too much time on…
  11. I didn’t spend enough time on….
  12. I’m most proud of
  13. I’m still hiding in this area

Then I review my goal setting from the prior year and check off what I did, and reflect on the ones I accomplished and the ones I didn’t. It helps me take a frank look at what excuses I’m making for not achieving my goals. But it also highlights things I did that I completely passed over and forgot to celebrate.

I used to have about 10 goals each year. After attending a Michael Hyatt webinar this year I have painfully trimmed my goals down to 3. Then, I have to try to create a new habit to get there. This is the hardest part for me, and the part I know that I need the most. The daily drudgery of the monotonous tasks that add up to success in the long term. Sigh.

A trick I learned from Lorraine is to make sure that my goals are aligned with my values. My values include Zest for Life, Lifelong Learning and Achievement. I think. (Note to self: revisit values for 2022)

Also, if I’m feeling chippy or chipper, I might revisit goal setting for 5 or 10 years. Mainly because I think it will be fun to read them someday. Kind of like finding my high school journal and reading about the teen angst over a crush and a radio dedication to him.

Stop overanalyzing happiness

One interesting fact I learned while listening to Hidden Brain on the treadmill today was an interview with Dr.
Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The Myths of Happiness. She states that journaling about negative experiences helps with meaning making, and putting things in perspective. So, I guess it’s about avoiding making mountains out of molehills. Interestingly, she also said that journaling about happy experiences and trying to figure them out makes the experience less pleasurable. I’m going to dwell on that one this year, since I’ve already done my 2022 homework. I’m not sure how that correlates to a gratitude practice of writing things down. I think it’s more about spoiling the experience by overanalyzing vs. cataloging what we are grateful for. Conclusion pending on that one.

Happier Days street art
Photo by Jacqueline Munguía

Blending, Breaking and Bending

Maybe you’ve adapted your own special recipe for productivity, morning routine, or beef bourgignon. These are examples of everyday creativity, and despite being a stickler for CITING YOUR SOURCES, sometimes you cannot even name your source of inspiration, it was drawn from the ether of your Default Mode Network unbeknownst to your thinking brain.

I’ve been embarrassed to claim an idea, then belatedly realize I had probably read about it in a book, or failed to remember the quote that a friend told me years ago that I somehow claimed as my own.

I hope you can blend, break or bend some great ideas into fruition this year to make your life a bit happier, a bit more oomph-ey or generally more pleasant. How can you be creative with goal setting?

See you on the other side!


And now for something completely different – a plug for my book!

Cover of Book Everyone is Creative

My proudest achievement in 2022 is writing a book!
The Reluctant Creative: Five habits to effortlessly expand your comfort zone.

It’s a literary mullet: Fun in the front, and data in the back.

If you think you aren’t creative, or if you are feeling stuck at work, unfulfilled or generally blah, I hope this book will give you some new perspectives on the role of creativity in your life.

Everyone is creative. It’s like poop. You’re full of it.

Please check it out at thereluctantcreative.com.

Coming soon. Like, literally any day. As soon as I can upload it to Amazon and IngramSparks.
So it could be tomorrow or Valentine’s Day. Somewhere in there. I’ll embrace the uncertainty and go with it.