#Reverb10 offers a month of reflection and prompts for each day.
December 28 is achieve: Tara Sophia, the author, prompts us to look beyond the goals and the lists that we create - and instead, imagine the feeling that each of these achievements creates. When we reach a certain goal, we have attained more than a paper or certificate or acknowledgment - we certainly don't work hard just for the kudos alone. We achieve our goals because through sustained effort, we grow. Our goals change us, in some way. Looking forward, for 2011, rather than just creating a list of goals, this question asks us what feelings we want to achieve in the next year.
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These are some of the feelings I want to achieve in 2011:
Strong. I want to be physically strong, stronger and more flexible in ways that I haven't shaped my body just yet. I want to say yes to new physical challenges, try more difficult yoga poses, and sign up for longer, more diligent practices. I want to spend more time dancing, rock climbing, doing martial arts, and trying any other physically-enabling task that lets me stretch, strengthen, and re-shape my body in different ways. The tangible, check-able items on my goals list range from being able to do the splits, to doing handstands on my own, to increasing to a 5.10 level at the climbing gym. The long-range goals include yoga teacher training, teaching my own yoga classes, swimming across the SF bay solo, and learning how to salsa dance well enough to shake my tush at a mixer without an instructor.
Inspired. I want to feel the rush of inspiration that comes from long, sustained thinking about a certain topic. I want to write. I want to think, to ponder, to speculate, to question, and to continue to feed my unending curiosity about the world and what it has to offer. On the tangible list of things I'd like to achieve: write 2 blog posts per week for the next year. Write 12 short stories for a collection of short fiction. Write my first fiction book. Write my first e-book. Outline and research my first non-fiction book. (Okay, all those goals collectively might take longer than a year).
Alive. The things that make me feel alive are simple. The weather. Changing temperatures. Colors. Light. Contrast. Exertion. Hard work. Being outside. Hugs. Family. Camaraderie. On a daily basis I try to engage with these things that make me feel alive - this is one of the reasons I love running, swimming, walking, being in the rain, toasty fires, and exploring new places. For 2011, my goals are to travel to at least 1 new state, travel to at least 1 new country, swim across the San Francisco Bay solo, run a full marathon, and continue on my goal of running, walking, or biking every street in San Francisco.
Exhilarated-Exhausted. Challenged. Frustrated. Tired. Alive. I like projects that leave me feeling BOTH exhilarated AND exhausted. I love working hard, when the hard work is for something that's huge. Something I'm completely, utterly, totally passionate about. The thrill of publishing a book after a year of endless nights of hard work is something I dream about -- and I know will make me feel both exhilarated and exhausted. Running a marathon would be the same.
Accomplished. I like trying new things. I like checking off lists. I like feeling like I've grown, stretched, matured, reached. This sense of accomplishment comes not from early success, but from the dips and double-dips in confidence that occur when you realize how vast the world is and how much there is to learn and study, and then slowly, you relegate yourself to the long and arduous task of accomplishing or conquering, in baby steps, the skill you set out to acquire. Mastering a concept, or contributing a thought towards it, is accomplishment. For 2011: I'd like to put my thoughts on paper, put my ideas out there, and be not afraid of failing. I'd rather try, fail, and try again than never try at all. (Well, perhaps I'd like just to succeed, but in the absence of pure success I'll take repeated efforts that teach and lead me to success).
Surprised. My most remarkable days happen when my calendar flies out the car window and I end up talking to strangers on the street and making friends on buses. I meet new people every day, and their agility, talent, wisdom and friendship just surprises me to no end. I hope to never stop being surprised and amazed by the people around me. For 2011, I'd like to surprise someone, perhaps do things that surprise even myself, and continue to let people around me surprise me and fill me with genuine wonder. (To the South Africans I met on the bus yesterday: YES, I'd LOVE to come to Cape Town and swim with you... Just get me a shark cage, okay?)
Exposed. The greatest growth potential comes not from living within safety, but living on the edge. I don't particularly love the feeling of fear that comes from unknowing, but I've lived just long enough to realize that not-knowing and being exposed is one of the best teachers. So, to putting myself out there. To trying new things. To leaping, unconditionally, when your soul tells you to leap and try something new. To building new ideas, projects, businesses, and friendships.
Loved. Appreciation, friendship, admiration, respect, love, caring: these are all words that people bestow on other people. The power of tribes, the amazing-ness of community, the awesomeness that is family: these are things that I cannot ever imagine my life without. I feel loved on a daily basis, and it is from this platform that I feel lucky enough to do what I do and try what I try. I hope that EVERYONE has the opportunity to feel this way. For 2011: I don't ask for more love for me from anyone, although I love love and I believe it's an element that comes in abundance. :) Instead, I hope that something I do, somehow, can help other people achieve more love in their lives.
Me. In 2011, I don't want to be anyone but ME. I hope that the person I am rings through and the things that I do are in line with my beliefs and my unique talents. I can't be you, and you can't be me. The most important thing is to use this limited time that we have and use our talents to the best extent possible.
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Merry Christmas and Happy New Years, Everyone! What do you want to achieve in 2011? Who do you want to be, and what do you want to do?
Photography from Flickr - Billsophoto