Going without goals an update in the Year of the Dragon

As of January 23, we officially entered the  Chinese New Year of the Dragon.

The Chinese Fortune Calendar website describes the year of the dragon this way,”The Chinese consider the dragon to be unpredictable, untouchable and, people cannot see its head and tail at the same time. Therefore, we might see something unexpected happening in 2012.”

I don’t know a thing about Chinese Astrology but, the Year of the Dragon is fitting for my decision to “go without goals” in 2012. I chose to follow my intuition or what some people refer to as their “bliss,” instead of making resolutions this year.

Following your intuition is known to attract “fortunate coincidences” such as synchronicity and serendipity into one’s life. So, the year of the Dragon is a perfect time to be following intuition.

Setting numerous goals as I always had, was no longer working for me. While I was very productive in 2011 having written three books,  I was also much too stressed out most of the time. I came upon the idea of “going without goals” after reading several of Leo Babauta’s articles on Zen Habits about his experience of letting go of goal setting. Leo had been a proponent of goal setting and productivity but, delving more deeply into Zen Buddhist principles and reading Lao Tzu, a Chinese philosopher, changed his outlook.

I had a wonderful conversation about “letting go of goals” with Leo Babauta where he clarified things for me that I was having trouble grasping. My main concern was that I wouldn’t accomplish a thing if didn’t set goals. Leo assured me that wouldn’t happen if I allowed my bliss to lead me each day to do what gave me the greatest joy. When he aptly described this as, “Going back to a childlike state of wonder,” it all became clear. (Listen to the recorded interview here)

“That I can do,” I thought. I can allow my bliss or that “childlike wonder” to lead me from project to project without setting goals.

I realized that if there were something I felt drawn to do, that made feel joyous, full of enthusiasm and excitement that it was my intuition or bliss telling me to “go for it!” Whether I called that pull a “goal” or not it really didn’t matter. All that mattered was that I allow that “feeling” of enthusiasm and joy to direct me from one project to the next.

Leo made yet another excellent point that convinced me that following my intuition rather that goal setting was right for me. He pointed out that if we are too rigid we might miss out on other opportunities because we are so focused on completing this narrow set of goals. Having experienced this in the past I knew it to be true. I would zero in doing X, Y and Z but, if A arose I would turn it down because I was so committed to these other goals. Who knows where these other opportunities might have led had I not turned them down? I am determined not to let that happen again.

So how has the process been working so far?

Relaxed

I feel so much less stress. The idea that every day I am doing what I’m led to do rather than what I “must” do has changed my reaction. I may be doing the very same things I was doing last year but, I feel much more relaxed about them.

Creativity

I used to open my in box and go through my email first thing in the morning. I thought that if I got the job of responding to emails out of the way it would leave me time to focus on creating/writing new articles. This never happened though. Instead one email led me to the next thing and the next thing and, before I knew it half a day had gone by without my having written one word.

Now I write first thing in the morning – no matter how many emails I have. This is always what I wanted to do in the first place but, I became to rigid. Having this list of things to do: “Go through in-box” totally messed with my creative output. I write best in the mornings and I’ve always known this. My mind is clear and full of ideas. Waiting until later in the day was making it feel like a grind to write.

Happiness

I’m happier! I feel so excited about what I’m doing. The fun is back. I don’t approach my work as a “chore.” And that has made all the difference. I’m confident that my happier frame of mind is due to being free of goals.

Time

I find the day goes farther. I don’t feel stressed and rushed like I did in the past. This makes me feel that I have “enough” time to complete everything I’m working on whereas in the past I felt that I never had enough time.

Productivity

My fears of being unproductive were unfounded. I’m just as productive as I was before but, without all the stress. It’s wonderful. If I do become more productive than I have been in the past it will be because I no longer multitask. I now focus on doing only one thing at a time.

We are only three weeks into the new year and already going without goals has made a huge difference in reducing my stress levels and upping my enjoyment. I’m looking forward to all the “unpredictable” fortunate coincidences that are to come now that I’m following my intuition and not rigidly stuck on certain goals.

So far 2012 is proving to be a good year:

I was over insured in my property insurance. No need for reinsurance. I received a refund!

Navigating by Intuition has been a best seller in its category on Amazon for several weeks!

Let’s see what 90 days of going without goals brings.

I urge you to try letting go of your goals in favor of following where your intuition leads you to as well.

Did you make resolutions this year? How have you done so far? Would you consider trying this experiment of going without goals with me?

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