We were warned a few days in advance, but even so, at 5:00 am, I tried to pretend it was just raining, that sleet wasn’t actually hitting the window. By the time Hannah and I finished our walk, we were both covered with snowflakes. Before long, I learned that the Governor had declared a state of emergency and my office had officially closed for the day. Fortunately (I think), I have the advantage of being able to work remotely from home so I was still able to care for all the stuff that needed to be done today and my team did a great job of making sure our Customer’s needs were met.
Even though I’ve had enough snow to last me a lifetime having spent much of my life in Michigan, it still brought a smile to my face when I saw the neighbor kids outside building a snowman. I don’t think they have much opportunity to do that here in Nashville as a rule. After work, I tried to convince my house mate to head outside with Hannah and me to tromp around in the snow, but she declined. Something about having moved from Michigan to Tenneessee to escape the snow . . .
Hannah had a great time running around in the snow – and I confess, I enjoyed it myself! I’m sure I’ll be over it tomorrow when I am wanting to run errands and the snow is still crippling the entire city, but for now, it’s pretty beautiful outside. And I get to say I lived in Nashville back in January of 2016 when they had that record snowfall!
View from the deck at lunchtime
The trees are so pretty!
Hannah checking out the woods to see what’s hiding under the snow
C’mon, let’s run around in the white stuff!
Back in 2000 or 2001, a group of co-workers and I spent our lunch hour listening to an audio book by Brian Tracy about setting goals. So much of what I heard in those sessions resonated with me and with my co-workers that even though we all went on to different jobs and different states, we got together for years to check in with each other on how we were doing with our goals. We were continuously amazed at how much we accomplished, sometimes just because we’d taken the time to write the goal down.
This statistic on Brian Tracy’s blog fascinates me, “Only 3% of adults have clear, written, specific, measurable, time-bounded goals, and by every statistic, they accomplish ten times as much as people with no goals at all. Why is it then that most people have no goals?” It seems so easy to go through the exercise of writing goals down and then assigning them a timetable, yet almost no one does it.
Even though the template I use has changed a few times over the last fifteen years, I still get a lot of satisfaction from looking at the past year and seeing whether I accomplished what I set out to do and whether I was realistic with my timelines. There are also things that I look at and think, “Why in the world did I ever want to do that?” Sometimes I realize that I actually adopted someone else’s goal or apparently I was just going through some kind of phase.
As I look at what I’ve got slated for 2016, I realize that I don’t have any BHAGs. Now, I don’t much care for the term BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal), but it seems that I should have at least one or two. Maybe it’s my age, maybe I peaked early and am petering out, but my goals seem to be a little lackluster this year. What I should be saying is Achieve a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 20 or Lower or Hit Target Heart Rate of 140 Beats per Minute when I’m more like Try Not to Get Too Fat. Instead of Earn my Master’s Degree it’s Take that last Course so you can get your Bachelors Degree and Call it Good. Instead of Visit Exotic Locations it’s Stay Home as Much as Possible. Instead of Create a Pinterest Worthy Home it’s Purge Everything That’s Not Beautiful or Useful.
Clearly I need to work on my 2016 goals a little more – I should probably come up with at least one BHAG and perhaps be a little more ambitious with what I’d like to accomplish. Or maybe not. Do you write down your goals? What BHAG is on your list?
This year I struggled a lot with buying gifts for Christmas. Since I’ve spent so much of last year purging or helping other people purge, it seemed somewhat ludicrous to go out and buy more things. Yes, I understand that experiential and consumable gifts are a good alternative for people who don’t want or need more things, but I’m struggling even with that. In the past, I’ve tried to pitch things like the gift catalog from Heifer International or other worthy charitable organizations, and while people were open to doing that, they wanted to do it in addition to all the normal gift buying when I wanted to forgo gift giving all together.
The trouble is that we American’s have so much. Even though we protest that we certainly aren’t rich, we are when you consider that eighty percent of the world lives on less than $10 a day. The statistics on poverty make me struggle with the choices I make when I do my personal shopping, let alone Christmas shopping. Is it okay for me to buy chocolate (free trade and organic, of course) when some people don’t have enough to eat? Should I splurge on a bottle of my favorite Riesling when some people don’t have clean water to drink? I’m all grass fed this and free range that, but what about the people who live on rice and a handful of vegetables for their daily meals?
Mahatma Gandhi said, “Live simply so that others may simply live.” How do I interpret that in light of my American lifestyle? Do I change what I eat, what I drive (or bike instead of drive), what I do for entertainment (cancel the cable and the internet!), what I wear, and how much I travel? The fact that I can ask those kinds of questions pretty much illustrates that my life is far from simple.
How far am I willing to go, how much am I willing to give, how much am I willing to give up? This year I’d like to figure a lot of this stuff out, to determine what this simple life looks like and what I want and need to do differently. If you think about this stuff (and already have it figured out!), please leave a comment on Facebook or click the comment link at the top of the page.