When to say, "Hold! Enough!" with self improvement and goals

View previous topic View next topic Go down

When to say, "Hold! Enough!" with self improvement and goals

Post by reboot on Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:47 am

The main site thread got me thinking (mostly Marty's thread) about when to say when on self improvement and to decide some goals are unobtainable in a way that is practicable/ethical/satisfactory for you. Personally, I have had to put aside some goals lately, such as dating (at my age, with my situation, even anonymous sex is out of reach) and picking up crisis response professionally again (single with pets = no more indefinite absences). I have come to accept my options and find contentment in them, but it has not been easy, but I think that was easier for me than many because I am older and have less time than most here to get from A to B.

Anyone else have experience with this? Do you think of things as indefinite hold or as a closed door? What techniques did you use to come to terms with your situation?
avatar
reboot
Moderator of "Other Relationships" and "Gender, Identity and Society"

Posts : 2514
Reputation : 1005
Join date : 2014-09-24

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: When to say, "Hold! Enough!" with self improvement and goals

Post by Barretts_Salt on Tue Nov 25, 2014 1:43 pm

A few things I think of as a closed door -- mostly professional-level education and career paths, due to age.

Some interests I put on indefinite hold -- like planting lots of perennial plants, as for the moment I am living in a rental.  Also fencing classes, as I don't want to put any more miles on my aged car than absolutely necessary -- even though I currently have a new (to me) car in my sights:)

The techniques I use are mostly to focus on small pleasures, my less time-intensive interests, and the realization that nothing is forever -- even if it feels like it while you're going through it:)
avatar
Barretts_Salt

Posts : 59
Reputation : 6
Join date : 2014-10-21

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: When to say, "Hold! Enough!" with self improvement and goals

Post by Mel on Tue Nov 25, 2014 1:51 pm

There are definitely things I've wanted and come to realize they just wouldn't fit with things in my life I wanted more, or with living in a way that would be healthy for me mentally and/or physically, but none of those things have been goals I was strongly invested in, so I know that's not quite the same thing.

I've also tried to pre-prepare myself for the possibility of being in a situation like that... The most obvious example that comes to mind is, there was a period when my husband and I were having trouble conceiving, and I was aware that it could end up turning out we never would. Coming to terms with that possibility mainly involved thinking through the alternatives--what about having a kid was important to me, and how else might I be able to fulfill that. That's how I tend to deal with problems in general: thinking through alternative plans of action to get me as close to my goal as I can get even if I can't get my ideal situation. Then I can at least feel that I've done all I can, and have (hopefully) the validation to meeting some element of the goal even if not exactly what I wanted.

The area where this kind of bind comes up by far the most in my life isn't quite the same type of scenario you're describing, but I'd imagine there's a lot of commonalities. My career (writing) is one where most professional goals are totally outside my control. I can finish books. I can find ways to get them published. But I can't control how much the people at any given publishing house support the book (I can't even control that when I have multiple publishers interested, because as anyone in commercial publishing can tell you, you never know whether a publisher will follow through on any promises they make, and they rarely follow through on all), I can't control how critics or readers respond to it, I can't control the market or the trends or what other books are coming out around it. So I have "goals" that I can do pretty much nothing to actively work towards--like, selling a certain number of copies, hitting a list, winning an award, getting a starred review, etc.--other than continuing what I'm already doing: just writing the best books I can. And I have to accept that those out-of-my-control goals may never happen--in fact, some of them are incredibly unlikely to ever happen, because they happen to so few people--and there's nothing I can do about that. But it's really hard to avoid thinking about them entirely, because since it's out of my control, it's also never completely impossible, unless I were to stop writing.

How I have come to terms with that, I suspect is similar to how one comes to terms with giving up on a goal entirely. As much as possible, I focus my energy on the goals I can control: on writing stories I'm excited about, on trying out new writing techniques that might make those stories stronger, on finding ways to connect with whatever number of fans I have. When I catch myself thinking in a depressing way about the things I want to accomplish that I haven't and can't actively work toward, I make a conscious effort to remind myself of both the things I have managed to accomplish through my direct work, and the ways I have been lucky with my career, out-of-my-control goals I've achieved that other people would be envious of the same way I'm envious of those who've reached the goals I haven't. I also remind myself of the fact that even if I never meet any of those out-of-my-control goals, I would still be doing the things I'm doing right now, because I'm not writing in order to achieve those goals, I'm writing because I love doing it with or without them.

It's still something I struggle with on a regular basis. I tend to be a pretty pragmatic, go-getter type of person, which is probably not a great fit for the uncertainties and slipperiness of a creative career. Razz I'm curious to see how other people have managed to let go of impossible/out-of-control goals.
avatar
Mel
Roving Moderator

Posts : 317
Reputation : 182
Join date : 2014-09-24

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: When to say, "Hold! Enough!" with self improvement and goals

Post by KMR on Tue Nov 25, 2014 2:25 pm

I actually have a natural tendency to not think too much about the future. I tend to be much more focused on the present and very near-future (what I am I going to do today/this week/this month?) and mentally put the far future aside as something to worry about later. Basically, I have an "it's the journey, not the destination" type of mentality. This tendency has definitely gotten me in trouble at times, but it also makes it easier for me to not get too hung up on big lofty end-goals and keep myself grounded on my current state and much smaller short-term goals.

So with that, the metric I tend to use for whether or not to stick with something is whether or not the process itself is making me even a little happy. It's pretty well-understood that working toward a goal can be challenging, tedious, stressful, or discouraging at times, but if those are the only things I'm ever feeling while working toward something, with no enjoyment whatsoever, then I would consider it not worth sticking to.

There are two forms in which happiness with the process can occur for me. One is enjoyment of the process in and of itself. If it's a hobby that I'm trying to work on or a career path I'm trying to take, it should be something that makes me happy sometimes, even if it's difficult and stressful at other times. Some other goals may require purely hard work that is rarely fun in and of itself, and so happiness with those tasks would more likely come in the form of being proud of small gains and accomplishments. If I can look back at what I've done so far and be happy with what I've already accomplished, then I feel as if the work to get there was worth it and I am motivated to continue. If I can't recognize any improvement or feel like every time I accomplish a small goal I just end up discouraged because it doesn't feel like enough, then I consider whether this pursuit is just making me more miserable than it's ultimately worth.
avatar
KMR

Posts : 134
Reputation : 74
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: When to say, "Hold! Enough!" with self improvement and goals

Post by Kaz on Tue Nov 25, 2014 7:30 pm

As I'm discussing on the main thread, I've had to do the "okay, this is just not happening" a bunch of times with various disability-related things and have actually become rather evangelical about the subject. Where some people will preach about their religion or the Power of Confidence or something, I will happily rabbit on about how accepting your limitations and working within them can make you a happier healthier person! *g*

But on other notes...

The idea of dating is sort of on hold for the moment. I was originally planning to move down to London and throw myself into the asexual meetup scene and hope to meet someone compatible with me that way. But then I decided I didn't really want to move to London. :/ Now I'm prioritising building up a bigger circle of friends and getting more of a social life and generally getting in touch with my inner extrovert. However, I don't think dating will go well for me outside the meatspace ace community and there isn't much of one in Europe outside, well, London. So I made my choices there...

I also closed the door on my dream of becoming a professional mathematician and on my dream of becoming a published author. The former because the PhD made it clear that parts of that life would make me freaking miserable, the latter because I really don't think I'd deal well with trying to get published, it just sounds all manner of stressful that I don't need, and I think I'd be better off leveraging my STEM background into an income. Writing an original novel is also sort of indefinitely on hold, in that I toy with the thought and have a few ideas circling my head but when it comes down to it, my epic Morrowind novelisation of epic is simply more important to me and I write too little to manage both. That might get revisited, especially as trying to get into a habit of regular writing *is* on my to-do list, but I know what my priorities are and what will likely end up getting the short end of the stick (not the fanfic! save the fanfic!). In some sense both of these are losses and I do still daydream about winning the Fields Medal or publishing the next amazing debut novel or whatnot, but I know where my limits are.

Kaz

Posts : 26
Reputation : 26
Join date : 2014-10-24

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: When to say, "Hold! Enough!" with self improvement and goals

Post by Dan_Brodribb on Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:13 pm

Personally, I'm coming to believe goals are overrated. I've found happiness in trying to do the best job in the present, rather than having some target for the future.

My goal onstage becomes to deliver the joke to the best of my ability, not whether or not it gets me the fame, success...or even laughs.

My goal with yoga or dance is to do the best I can do physically now, not turn the clock back to when I was a 20 something black belt.

When I'm fumbling to help put together a wrestling ring on a tight schedule and a small crew, I try and concentrate on the board I'm carrying or the bolt I'm turning rather than how quickly the ring is coming together. It's going to get done--I just need to focus on my part.

When I'm making eye contact with someone I'm attracted to, whether it's a stranger or someone I'm in a relationship with, I try to tease out the tension and the moment rather than try and turn it into one thing or another. There' so much that can be enjoyed in a look, in a brush of skin, or the twining of fingers--and if I'm too busy looking towards the next thing or Trying to Figure Out What It All Means, I miss it.

I'd like to credit my age, experience, wisdom and meditation for this, but a lot of it comes from having nephews (3 and 9 months) and making being part of their lives a priority. Being an uncle has made me better at everything else in my life.

I don't ignore the future completely, but now it's about setting direction. The results become signposts of the direction I'm heading or happy turns of events to celebrate and be grateful for, rather than measures of success or failure.

_________________
My blogs: Dating: http://thegatewayboyfriend.blogspot.ca
Movies, TV, and Videogames: http://thecompassionatedegenerate.blogspot.ca

Dan_Brodribb
Roving Moderator

Posts : 139
Reputation : 99
Join date : 2014-09-24

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: When to say, "Hold! Enough!" with self improvement and goals

Post by Hae on Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:50 pm

When I was trying hard to exercise and lose weight, about halfway to my goal, I really saw myself in the full length mirror in the spa. Standing next to naked people, my goal evaporated. It might have been because it wasn't the ideal I had imagined, that looking skinny wasn't as attractive as I had believed, that I suspected I looked better/proportional with a little belly... I still think the ideal weight idea is overrated.

I've had a lot of hobbies where having a mediocre ability made me happy.
I used to pour countless hours into a game to get good at it. Years later, I'd unsurprisingly gotten rusty, but the countless hours of work had lost all romantic appeal. And even back then, I had not been extraordinarily good.

I think it was times when the trade-off was too much, that I just look at the summit and think that someone else can go climb it but not me.

But at times, I have to distance myself from even the idea of that goal and let absence do its job. I might keep coming back to it, but the dream starts to fade.

Hae

Posts : 13
Reputation : 1
Join date : 2014-10-03

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: When to say, "Hold! Enough!" with self improvement and goals

Post by Archetype694 on Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:11 am

reboot wrote:The main site thread got me thinking (mostly Marty's thread) about when to say when on self improvement and to decide some goals are unobtainable in a way that is practicable/ethical/satisfactory for you.

Well I'm rather early in the self improvement game. As for when I might get to the point of being done to be frank I hope it's no time soon.

reboot wrote:
Anyone else have experience with this? Do you think of things as indefinite hold or as a closed door? What techniques did you use to come to terms with your situation?

The closing of doors for me also relates to age. I've come to the conclusion that at my age (33) that marriage and kids are becoming ever the less likely nor is it something that I have an urge to pursue.

Most of my life I had always seen myself working in medicine. I've always had the desire to work as a healer. I had dreamt of being a doctor, later settling on nursing as the idea of spending the better part of a decade in med school rather unappealing.

It was only recently that I came to the conclusion that medicine is not for me, and while it hurts to admit this I also feel a sense of relief as I know it is for the best. Healthcare has a myriad of rules and regulations for the safety of the patients and I'm just not the kind of person that does well with strict rules. If exposed to a problem I fix it in the way I best see fit and such an attitude does not work in healthcare.

It does seem to work well in IT which is my current field thankfully. In this case one door closed only for another to appear.

The thought of going through life single, without knowing the love of a long term partner does pain me. I console myself with the realization that all in all such is a minor complaint, along with the knowledge that my shortcomings in life can be placed squarely on my shoulders. This in some measure provides hope though as in that if my current situation is of my own doing then the key to fixing such is within my hands.

If all that fails self medication with large quantities of (insert intoxicant here) is a temporary solution.

_________________
Taijiquan Panda
avatar
Archetype694

Posts : 60
Reputation : 11
Join date : 2014-10-06

View user profile

Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum