My New Goal for the New Year

assume-the-position_fade_whiteMy new goal for the new year is to not set any goals. So far so good. I’ve been up for two hours, and I have not set a single goal yet. Except … Damn! … about 5 minutes ago, I set a goal of writing a blog post this morning. Wow, this living-in-the-moment thing is a bitch! No wonder almost everyone almost never does it. It’s very tricky. I’ll try to demonstrate the basic problem…

I want to live in the moment more often, as in, be right here, right now, wherever and whenever here and now happens to be. I want to be aware of my mind’s activity, aware of my body’s arrangement, aware of my breathing, and aware of my surroundings. But the mere act of thinking those very thoughts takes me away from full awareness. See what I mean? And the act of typing blows any hopes of total awareness out of the water. After six years of meditating every morning and doing many mindfulness practices throughout my days, I am still unable to be aware of my typing fingers and be outside of the thoughts I’m typing about at the same time. The same barrier shows up at the piano. I think if I were ever to remain entirely conscious of my body, mind, and breathing while improvising music, I’d probably just wisp away in a cloud of quarks.

Okay, let’s start again…

My goal for 2010 is to consistently and gradually increase the frequency of goalless moments that I experience. My goal is more goallessness. My challenge is to see nothing as a challenge. Where did that come from? That’s another goal altogether. Let’s see, that would mean I want to see the challenge of goallessness as not being a challenge. Hmmm. Okay, how about this one: My desire is desirelessness. Alright, this is getting ridiculous. 20 minutes ago I set out with one simple goal for 2010, and I’ve blown it already. Stop… breathe… restart… reset.

Okay. I am observing. I am observing that my stomach is empty. My goal is to put food into it. Finally! A goal I can sink my teeth into! Bye!



  • Alan Bostick Posted January 1, 2010 9:58 am

    How about setting the bar a little lower, aiming for a goal of simply being aware whenever you set yourself a goal, saying to yourself, “Hmmm, that’s a goal,” and in so taking note, letting go of it?

  • weau Posted January 1, 2010 10:09 am

    The kitchen is open.

  • Rich Grunenwald Posted January 1, 2010 10:32 am

    A friend of mine is in a band named “Last Chance at Failure”. They made up their name based on the premise that if they weren’t successful this time around, they would give up.

    For some reason, this post made me think of it.

  • Piotr Posted January 1, 2010 12:13 pm

    Humans cannot live goalless lives – the concept of not setting any goals is actually a goal in itself… see how it works? 🙂

  • Anonymous Posted January 2, 2010 5:12 pm

    In all seriousness: you should look up Andrew Cohen. He’s the only person I’ve met who can make perfect sense of the dual/paradoxical nature of the two dimensions of our world: being (nothingness) and becoming (directionality).

  • Tommy Angelo Posted January 2, 2010 5:34 pm

    “In all seriousness: you should look up Andrew Cohen.”

    Thank you. I will.

  • Spike The Cat Posted January 3, 2010 12:58 pm

    It will get easier. As you age your short-term memory will fade and you will live more and more successfully in the moment, having forgotten the goals you never set.

  • Ron Heywood Posted January 13, 2010 5:15 pm

    Maybe your definition of the moment can be redefined.

    Given that you have become mindful of a commitment to keep. Your “moment” can expend to include the period of time it will take to meet that commitment.

    Be it:

    A: 10 minutes to write and publish the post,
    B: 3 hours to discover that your laptop power supply blew up, contact a repair guy find out the part needs ordering, phone a friend drive to their house and borrow their machine, write and publish the post.

    And if B sounds onerous, consider the myriad of discreet actions required to complete task A. And once you have broken task A down into all the power button pressing window opening keyboard tapping, consider all the synaptic chains, nerve impulses muscle movements.

    You moment can contain as much as is necessary for you to be mindful of something you can categorise as the thing you are mindful of.

  • Tommy Angelo Posted January 13, 2010 6:14 pm

    “Your “moment” can expend to include the period of time it will take to meet that commitment.”

    Nice. I’m going to incorporate that.

  • Martin Posted February 1, 2010 2:06 pm

    What about setting goals for poker? 🙂

    No monthly/yearly goal setting, e.g. “My goal is to make $2000 in February 2010 in cash games”?

    No keeping score? No bankroll management?

    I’ve been “raised” with setting goals and praticing strict bankroll management, but it would actually be a relief not to. Just to play with my mind beeing free of the money department and just focusing on making decisions and paying attention to the table.

  • Martin Posted February 1, 2010 2:07 pm

    So my question is: How do one apply this mindset to poker?

  • Tommy Angelo Posted February 2, 2010 12:30 pm

    “I’ve been “raised” with setting goals and praticing strict bankroll management, but it would actually be a relief not to. Just to play with my mind beeing free of the money department and just focusing on making decisions and paying attention to the table.”

    Then try it! Think of it as an experiment. Allow yourself to go a day of playing poker without it being part of any of your short or long range goals. And if that feels good, do it another day. Or a month. Whatever. You said the magic words, “It would be a relief to.”

    Do you think you will suddenly go broke by giving yourself this relief? I don’t either. Give it a whirl. I went goalless at poker long ago and it was a major and awesome course correction. It’s definitely not for everyone. That’s why the best thing for you might be to experiment in small doses at first, just to make sure you don’t get too high. 🙂

  • Andrea Watson Posted July 9, 2010 12:18 am

    Goal setting is very important specially if you want to plan long term.’~.

  • Millie Wood Posted July 20, 2010 7:50 pm

    Goal setting is very important if you want something to be done in a short period of time.~,”

  • Carlos Kelly Posted September 6, 2010 12:13 am

    sometimes i am having some problems when setting goals,;`

  • Flannel Sheets Posted December 13, 2010 1:43 pm

    goal setting is sometimes difficult but it should always be done `~*

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  • Tommy Angelo Posted October 11, 2011 5:36 pm

    Noted! I’ll see what I can do!

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