Goooooooals! Thinking About the Process…

Yesterday, I was reading a post on the ESPN Major League baseball site about what goals the writer thought each team should have going into this season. Goals. That prompted me to start thinking about my own goals, and how to apply those to what I work on daily. And I started segmenting my life into various areas. My Professional life. My Spiritual life. My Educational direction. My physical workout direction. As I did this, the goals all started to pile up, and I realized I didn’t have enough time in the day to reach everything I wanted to get to. That felt paralyzing. However, I didn’t want things to stop there. So, I took the evening to think a bit more on all of it.

Segmenting Life

Early in all the thinking, I realized that segmenting my life might not be the best thing in the world. I have heard it referred to as compartmentalizing, where one takes certain things and separates them from others. Lately, I have begun to realize that doing this is not workable for me. While I work in data and statistics, I cannot separate that from my Druidry. My Druidry provides me insight into my analysis and finding trends in the data I work on. How everything fits together and operates together is part of how I view the entire world around me. To divorce my Druidry from my Professional life would require me to not utilize my approach to everything around me. I just cannot do that. The same holds true for my approach to my own education or my approach to being more physically fit. All of which fits together to make a more complete picture. Separating each of these into individual component parts to be approached and worked on individually would, in essence, be ignoring everything I understand about myself.

Setting My Goals

I used to keep these elaborate lists of everything that needed to be accomplished. I would even graph out specified time frames in my calendar to bracket time for completing things. A few months back, I realized that this approach was just not really working for me. I do keep lists, particularly when I am packing for a trip, but I found that this process was not really working for handling my goals. So, I turned towards a different approach. I started to set smaller, more realistic goals that I could work towards without building these elaborate lists.

As an example, my Ovate grade work has many aspects to it. There is a lot of things that need to be accomplished, a lot of approaches to be thought through. I used to mark on a calendar a time frame that I would work on each Gwers. Each time I set up this goal-oriented structure, it failed. I would find myself off-track after a short period of time. So, I altered the approach to not be so list or task structured. I work with each Gwers as I can. Sometimes, one lesson is worked through and absorbed quickly. Sometimes its not. However, I have no worries or anxiety because I no longer place time limits on my time with each one. This stuff is not a race. Now, with work related things, it’s a little different. I am not the one setting the deadlines. But I do try to approach my work in a similar vein. I do my best not to hurry.

Working (and Rocking) My Goals

I do have long-term goals. I have a desire to finish my Ovate grade and move on to the Druid grade. Its not a given that it will happen, but it is my goal and desire to do so. I am seeing a need for more education in my Professional life. I am already looking into prospects for another master’s degree, which will assist me in improving my ability to do my work. There is always a chance to better yourself. I am headed in that direction. My physical self during this time of COVID has been diminished, thanks to being held inside (mostly). I am looking at ways to improve my physical strength, as well as my diminished health. No heavy goals here, except to get healthier. I am not looking to make a certain weight or be able to ride a stationary bike at a certain speed for a certain distance. Just a desire to get healthier.

One thing I have learned is that when you set unreachable goals for yourself, your failure to reach those unattainable heights can influence your mental health. Sometimes, its far better to walk away from those unattainable goals than to continue to reach for what is constantly just out of your grasp. Believe me, that is a hard lesson to learn. Plus, it is a real head-slam when you finally understand it. The difficult part is to not beat yourself up over it. Yes, you failed. But you can always alter your approach and try again. But there are also goals that will never be attainable. Those, you need to realize for yourself, and walk away without trying again. Those are the hardest moments that you can have.

Now, I will end this with stuff that I usually say. This is a process and a set of thinking that works for me. This is not going to work for everyone. Everyone is their own individual. Everyone will have their own way of motivating themselves towards their goals. Everyone will have their own way of analyzing things. I am not writing this as an ultimate manifesto of how to do things. I write this as a potential kick-starter for others to examine their own personal processes. I am not the ultimate authority of anything, except where it pertains to myself. I do suggest that if you find yourself getting paralyzed over trying to move forward with your own personal goals…start small. Those small successes will help. For me, it provided a way of seeing that I could accomplish things. That I was able to do it. Just a thought. Your mileage will vary.

–T /|\

Photo by Ashley Williams on

Everyone Needs Goals

Talking About Goals
One of the toughest lessons I have ever had to learn – aside from writing in my journal daily – was setting goals for myself. There the short-term goals that we set constantly – when to do laundry, when to mow the yard. Then there’s the medium-term goals we make: going to an event, as an example. But its the long-term goals that seem to be the most mystical, and elusive ones that I tend to have. One long-range goal that I have – finishing my Bardic Grade material, has proven to be more of a series of short-term, and medium-term goals that can be covered over with a long-term perspective. Before I started to manage it more on a short-term and medium-term perspective, just as a long-term goal, it became too difficult to manage.
The Southern GateBut now I have a new long-term goal — to climb the 7000 steps to the top of Mount Tai. Its not really about climbing a mountain, I can easily do that here in the United States. Its literally about the entire journey. The process of getting there. Booking the airline flight, packing for the journey. What to take. What to wear. All of that figures into the planning. The cost. The itinerary. And eventually, the experience of walking the stairs. Opening my senses to everything around me. Knowing the experiences that others have had in this same journey. Being able to compare my journey to theirs. Comparing. Contrasting. Learning from the similarities and the differences. All of that will be part of that entire experience.
Over the past few years, I have made the comment that I would eventually climb Mount Tai at some point in my life. In retrospect, its merely wishful thinking. I always commented that the trip would be made when I was “ready”. That’s pure bullshit on my part. I am already ready. I was ready before, I was just never committed enough to make the trip. Not willing to endure placing this above other things in my life. In other words, it was just talk. But that’s all different now. This year, I made the commitment to be at the first OBOD Gulf Coast Gathering, an experience I will always treasure. Here in the latter part of the year, I made the commitment to be at the OBOD East Coast Gathering. Getting there was not a pleasant experience, but looking over it all – it was worth every second of that time. Not only did I experience marvelous rituals at each – I was able to meet really awesome people as well. And each of those experiences changed me in small, subtle ways. If I had not committed to going, and followed through on it – I would have missed out on so much. I would have missed those experiences.
So here I sit, on the edge of the abyss, looking down and wondering if I should. And my answer back is that, yes, I should. So I am committing to going to climb Mount Tai in 2020 or 2021. My preference is 2020, but if that somehow does not work out – all the preparation can be held over for another calendar year. There’s a lot of things to consider. Packing, clothing, finances, time off. But it will happen, that much I am sure of. I have no idea how my life will look at that point in time – but I will be climbing the stairs to the summit. The next morning I will watch the sun rise from that summit before headed back down the same stairs.
Its good to have goals…things that I can pick out of haze down in the abyss,  as I start to move towards doing what I should, and not dreaming about what I could….