Goals for My Free-er Life

As in any time of transition, I’ve come to a point where I have to reassess and refresh my strategic goals. This means, with my major professional change, it’s time to take another look at my own strategic plan for my life. I ask myself three questions: where do I want to end up, how do I plan to get there, and how can I remain balanced in my pursuit of my own priorities and my professional service? then, I establish a list of SMART goals (goals that are specific, manageable, attainable, realistic and time bound), which I prioritize according to how meaningful they are to me. These goals, however, are guided by a series of overarching targets and behavioral changes I may have in mind for myself. 

Check it out. First, let’s tackle professional goals.

Let me begin by saying that the concept of a dream job has become increasingly amorphous over the last few years. In other words, I have no idea what I specifically want to do in terms of sitting in a particular role, but I do have a better idea of how I want to serve the world and how I want that service to feed my spirit. I’ve been a management consultant for a number of years, and beyond that, I’ve focused my academics on serving through the avenues of social policy and population-serving organizations.  I’m becoming more and more picky about my time and my energy, particularly as friends pass before their time and family (chosen or otherwise) experience the ups and downs of life.

My professional priorities are clear: meraki.

My first goal is to finish my dissertation before the fall of 2020. For those who don’t know, I’m an equity scholar. Similar to the way this blog is set up, I take a social determinants approach, digging into the ways otherness (as it relates to identity) influences outcomes in the tangible spaces of our lives (and in my dissertation, I take a hard look at perinatal health for traditionally othered women). I propose a new theory, which I dig a bit deeper into, also. So wait, what did I just say? It means that I believe all aspects of our lives are linked – health, wealth, education, etc.—and are linked to the ways we experience otherness (the ‘isms that signify social hierarchy, acceptance, belonging or rejection).

My second goal is to replace my income within the next calendar year. This means that by the fall of 2020, I want to fully replace my income. Specifically, my goal is to do work that is driven by and in full alignment with my personal mission of service, the impact I want to make, and the trail I want to burn.  To this end, each year, I sit down and think about my personal mission statement (which details how I want to change the world), if and how I want to tweak it, and how what I’m doing fits into that goal. One of the things that’s very clear to me is that I want to share what I’ve learned in pursuit of my doctoral degree, and in an accessible way. This blog is one way to do that—to build a brand which means something and changes lives. Best yet, I want to do it all on my terms: full flexibility. More on this when we get to personal goals. In pushing for this goal, though, I want to be able to fully replace my income with this meaningful work.  Financially, in addition to replacing my income through this meaningful work, I want to dig into building an investment real estate portfolio.  

While these goals are large, my Personal Goals are the ones which guide this journey. These are rooted in behavioral, and mindset changes which can shift the way I approach my SMART goals.

My first personal goal is to get back to simple. Specifically, I will prioritize all the things that spark joy. Specifically, I will embrace a simpler life through three things. First, I will be present in each moment, honest with myself on each aspect of what I’m experiencing, and I will make daily effort to lean on the principles of minimalism and sustainability.  My goal is to rely on those core things learned as a kid when having less was all that was possible: take care of what you have, repair everything you can, appreciate all the sacrifice that went into obtaining things, and be mindful of the small life of items that are actually critical to your living. In making these choices, I also intend to get back to the earth – remember that the Earth has to outlive us all and that It is our responsibility to sustain it, now and moving forward, so that other generations may enjoy it, and humans and animals alike can continue to prosper.  Part of this is embodied in earth-related activities: spending more time getting back to nature through outdoor activities and investing in myself by sharpening my own nature-related skills.

Secondly, I will embrace enoughness: the wholeness provided by a core sentiment of being and having enough. Each day, I am to remind myself that I am enough so that I remember in all of my interactions and decisions. I am to remind myself that I have enough. This part of the exercise is to remember exactly how lucky I am to love myself, to have people in my life that love me wholly, and to be touched by my ancestors, empowered to shake the world. And finally, I am to practice “no” as a whole sentence. For all of those things—those situations, people, opportunities, etc.—that do not honor the ancestors and empower my mission, to practice saying no, and refocusing my blessing.

In being enough, I will prioritize my health: fernweh.  Tangibly, this means participating in extensive travel to refill my soul, exercising regularly, being conscious of my eating, and regularly setting aside time and space to recenter through writing, music, and meditation. I’ve been eating a vegetable-heavy keto diet for a while. And in taking care of my mental health, I must honor what brings me joy (and freedom), including my deeply rooted passion for global travel. Travel is healing for me for so many reason, in so many ways. Particularly, to honor this healing, I will prioritize travel such that I will be able to leave the country at least four times per year (approximately quarterly), seeing new places around the world and experiencing new things.  In addition to the four trips per year, presumably experienced with my husband or my travel buddy (yes! One of my girls is still my travel buddy!) I need the space to have one solo trip per year. Sometimes both meraki and fernweh are soul-filling.

What’s your personal ritual when it comes to checking in with yourself? Do you think about your personal mission—your imprint on the world?

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