It’s that time of year again where everyone is planning and goal setting for 2018.
Yearly goals. Quarterly goals. Monthly goals. Daily goals. SMART goals. Financial goals. Personal goals.
I know. I know! Goals we set are goals we get. I’m an overachieving goal setter.
Every once in awhile, when the fog of goal setting clears, I get an image of a silly hamster running round and round…going nowhere fast. And it hits me. I’m the hamster.
There’s a couple of questions I asked myself this time last year:
1. What if my goals are a distraction?
2. What if my goals aren’t really *my*goals?
3. What would happen if I didn’t make any goals?
Trust me, I hear the sound of nails on a chalk board when I ask myself these questions. I also get slightly nauseous and a little bit anxious.
I’ve been taught so much about setting goals and why goals are so important to get ahead…to succeed.
Where exactly is ahead? What exactly do I need to be ahead of? What was I chasing? And why was it so elusive and vague?
I’ve spent the better part of this year answering my own questions.
I began 2017 without setting any particular goal. I decided to go with the flow and see where I ended up. Not haphazardly. It was a rather purposeful decision. And to be honest, probably the best and most productive decision I’ve made in a long time.
At the very end of 2016, Rick and I drove to Key West and spent 2 wonderful months there. We rented a house on Rockland Key (mile marker 9) and while we were there, we came to a profound, life altering conclusion…we did not miss our stuff.
We drove down with a small trailer that had our motorcycle, clothes, my yarn and art supplies, and a few kitchen items. We didn’t miss what we left behind.
About half way through our 2 month stay, we made the decision to get rid of our stuff and sell our home.
We put a plan in place. We decided when we wanted to put the house on the market and we worked the calendar backward from there. We had a very short window to make small repairs and clear out the crap that had been sitting in our basement and garage for years.
We also went to Ireland for 10 days and then to Utah for 6 days. When all was said and done, our house went on the market on the Friday before Memorial Day.
Our desire was an offer for full asking price and no contingencies.
2 1/2 days later, we had an offer for full asking price and no contingencies. We gratefully accepted.
Now it was our turn to find a place. Rick and I had what I call a “whiteboard session.” We met for 2 hours in front of my whiteboard wall and wrote down all our MUSTS. Or what we like to call our “non-negotiables.”
We wrote down everything our new place must have. We wrote down every town we’d be willing to relocate to. We wrote down the dollar value we were willing to expend each month. We also wrote down what we wanted to save. We wrote down that we were willing to take out a small mortgage if we *had* to. What we wanted, more than anything, was to be able to pay cash.
After we wrote it all down, we left it there for 2 days. And then I erased it. We didn’t share what we wrote down with anyone.
Within 48 hours of erasing the board, my father sent me a link for a home his agent was about to list. I had goose bumps all over. It was everything we wrote down that was a must, it was in our same town, and we could pay cash for it outright.
The only catch that both of us had to get over in a big hurry was that it’s a double wide in a “garden home” community.
We went from 1600 sq. feet to 1400 square feet. We went from 2 floors to 1. We went from no master bathroom to a gorgeous master bathroom. We went from closed off spaces to a wide open, cathedral ceiling, spacious living area. We went from having a basement and 2 garage (or as my husband says, a very expensive storage unit) to having a parking spot big enough for both our vehicles and right now, a covered motorcycle.
We went from $1710 a month in living expenses (mortgage + condo fee) to $510 in lot rent. We’re pocketing $1200 a month because we have no mortgage. We have a 6.5 year ROI on our home.
Part of our Key West plan also included buying an RV so we could spend the winter in 2018 at the naval base, where military retirees and active duty can stay for $14 per day. We’re pushing this part off a year so we can finish remodeling our new place.
We’ve been nesting in our new place since August 1, 2017.
I honestly don’t think we’d be here if I had set goals the way I have all my adult life. This is where going with the flow took us. Awareness, being present, noticing, witnessing without judgment led us to a life transforming change.
Goal setting, the way I had been goal setting my whole life, turned out to be my biggest distraction from my Heart’s deepest desires. Goal setting kept me trapped on the hamster wheel, chasing after success and tilting at windmills.
In fact, goal setting kept my long time desire for financial freedom just out of reach.
I got out of my own way long enough for the Universe to work her magic.
Nobody owns us anymore. Not my job. Not our mortgage lender. Nobody.
Going into 2018, I’m not setting any goals or making New Year’s resolutions. I’m going with the flow again and I’m excited to see what shows up.
What about you? How are you approaching the New Year?