Back in the last days of 2019 (OH HOW NAIVE A LOT OF US WHITE PEOPLE WERE!) I set myself a word for the year, with some intentions/feelings goals around it. I have not done any purposeful work on this word over the past few months, but September got me thinking (as it always does) and I wanted to share some thoughts about where I am, where I want to be, and how I adjust to the final months of a Word Year.
First off, let’s go back to those halcyon days (ha ha ha) of 2019. Everything was still mostly shit in the world, but a lot of us were privileged enough to have blinders on to the reality of it. I wrote more about choosing my 2020 word here, and I never hide the fact that my word often finds me instead of the other way around.
I started with four “feelings” goals:
I want to feel BELONGING
I want to feel CUTE
I want to feel ACTIVATED
I want to feel SPACE
These feelings goals allow me to craft actions and intentions to help me feel those feelings throughout the year. Actions and intentions don’t have to be BIG. In fact, I have always found it better to make them small. Small stuff adds up to big stuff! (Good morning Captain Obvious). One of my actions is to wash my hair more. Yes, it may be small, but this action packs a big punch in helping me feel cute.
MY GOAL SETTING IS NOT STATIC
I have continued to look at and refine my goals & actions through the year. I am not afraid to “give up” a thing if it is not working for me, or if it has outlived itself. One of the actions I set to feel Space was to wake up early. Well, I clearly forgot that this has never worked for me long term. Once I recognized (remembered) that, I was able to let it go without shame. I have found other ways over the past 9 months to give myself space. For example, I am getting better at napping, and I recently quit a volunteer Board position that was taking up too much negative space in my brain and life.
I am currently learning from my Office Goals Guru aka Sales Coach aka Lauren about setting intentions instead of goals. These two unique ways of looking at goal setting have transformed my outlook on personal growth. This is a lifelong journey, and I look forward to incorporating some of her tips into future feelings goals setting sessions!
I DO NOT NORMALLY FEEL “BELONGING” IN SPACES! Work, personal, public, communal, activist spaces…all the spaces. I theoretically know that: a) it’s probably not just me who feels this way (imposter syndrome is well documented especially in artist spaces), b) it’s all in my head. But those thoughts and feelings have been with me my whole life, and even though they make me sad, they are familiar. And so I feel stuck with them. I probably need to see a therapist to work out that stuff, but for now, I am finding ways to use my Word, my intentions, and my community space to manifest belonging in my own way.
There have been parties I didn’t get invited to, folks I thought I was friendly with that didn’t quite pan out the way I thought...this isn’t a new feeling or occurrence and I am trying really hard to be okay with it (with the full understanding that I will never be 100% okay with it). That’s part of the intentions behind my word as well. IT’S ALL CONNECTED BABY! The next steps I am working on are how to invite people to the events I run, how to get more people in general to these events, and being okay with a slow uptake.
GOALS AND WHITE SUPREMACY
This year especially has brought to light how I have internalized white supremacy, and the deeply personal work it takes to root it out. One characteristic of white supremacy that I am currently focused on exploring is immediacy and a sense of urgency. (source)
This manifests in goal setting in general, and my “big ideas” specifically. I don’t have any conclusions to state at this time, but knowing this is a huge trap for me has helped me immensely. Another lifelong learning state.
S.M.A.R.T. GOALS ARE NOT SMART
This line in this Medium article hit me right in the feels! When I first started planning for my Accountability Club at the beginning of the year, the S.M.A.R.T. formula was on the top of all the tips lists for effective goal setting. So I tried to incorporate it into the Club. And every time we brought it up, it felt forced and irrelevant. I ignored my intuition, and spent all that energy on something that wasn’t worth it. This old way of looking at goals and goal setting is letting so many people down, me included! Moving past this expectation of what goal setting "should" look like is something I have been working on for a long time. It's so ingrained in our (white supremacist, capitalist) culture that it can be very hard to disengage from.
PLAN FOR THE LAST QUARTER
Keeping all of the above in mind, I did a little recalibration on the goals. Most of the current actions associated with my Feelings Goals are staying put. They still feel good. I have two “new” intentions that I am still refining, but the crux of the matter is:
I want to spend less time scrolling mindlessly on Instagram and more time Commenting (and Connecting) with people
I want to intentionally read books that align with my personal values and goals
Both of these intentions fit into previous goals I’ve set - Space & my regular annual Reading Goal - but they seemed to be flapping all around for most of the year. I see great potential in these areas of my life, so it made sense to set some intentions around them. I’ll let you know how it goes!
Y’all! How do you stay accountable to your goal setting or intentions? I started an Accountability Club back in March out of very selfish reasons! I wanted to talk to other people about their goals, keep myself accountable to mine and help them stay accountable to theirs. It’s been a wild ride in self awareness, let me tell you.
I learned A LOT about running an Accountability Club this year, and am so grateful for the three ladies who stuck it out with me. I am planning on opening up new spots in the Club later in the year to “Start Fresh ™” (barf) in 2021. Click here to learn more about Accountability Club and see if it's right for you.
HAPPY SEPTEMBER NEW YEAR
So many folks in my Accountability Club - and just in life in general - talk about how September feels like a new year. I feel like a broken record on this, but it’s never too late to set goals or intentions. It’s never too late to start a new habit or break a bad one. Today is a great day to start, to let go, to take a break.
Happy New Year.
Remixing Tools for Embodied Goal Setting by Erika Harano (on Medium)
White Supremacy Culture: Characteristics from Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups by Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun, ChangeWork, 2001 (republished on Showing up For Racial Justice)