E#30: Balancing Tasks vs. Goal Setting vs. Being Present
In this quick win episode I answer the question "How do accomplish things (goals) and also be calm, present and joyful as you do them ? (Exterior Goals vs. Inner Goals)
(This is the core of the transcript from the podcast. The Intro has been removed and some areas improved for reading ease.)
Welcome back to a new year! I want to start this podcast by dedicating this episode to my father-in-law, Raj Kumar Brar, who just passed away on Jan3. And that's been a hard loss for our family. He really embodied what it meant to be a great father-in-law and grandfather. He really was present when he was playing with the kids and when he was with people. We got along exceptionally well, and he was always a big supporter of this podcast and anything I did, and he was a big advocate on self-improvement and enjoying life. So Dad, I salute you. I know that this episode will especially ring true for you as you embody the key message in this podcast. So, without further adieu, I'll get into it.
The key question I've had people ask me after I ended the last episode from 2019, was
how do you balance the equation of accomplishing tasks/goal setting and avoid the feeling of always chasing something in the future; yet also be present with people and enjoying the momentary things that happen in our daily life? In other words, how do we balance our "to-do list," in other words, exterior goals, vs. our interior goals of being calm and fully present with people in our life and the work/play that we are engaging in? And that's what this episode is all about. How do we manage that tension of being and doing, and how do we get things done?
I don't like New Year's resolutions because, they never stick or last long enough; they are not grounded on solid principles or reasons
So, you know, I never really liked New Year's resolutions because, for the most part, they never stick or last long enough. The reason I'm not fond of them is that most of them are not grounded in solid principles or reasons. They generally are set up with weak hope and wish of- being better without a solid foundation of why do you want to make a change or new part of your life better because the reasons vary from one person to another. Someone may want to lose weight to look better, another to play with their kids more, another to feel healthier etc. and generally there's not much thought to the new year's resolutions to live a better life, a life with excellent health and harmony. These types of resolutions are like a thin layer of ice that looks solid on top, but not thick and strong enough to give support with any substance. Or like a wooden fence, with not very deep support post to hold it up. Or a tree with fragile roots.
If you are depressed, your are living in the past, If you are anxious, you are living in the future, If you are are peace, you are living in the present. -Lao Tzu
So, it's worth thinking about because we can get depressed when we relive or think about past events or missed opportunities, and we can get anxious when we want to do things on our day to day 'to do' list or want an outcome to occur in the future. But when you are focused on being fully present on your current actions, tasks or interactions, you are living in the moment.
So, how does that apply to a new year and decade? Well, the challenge for me, and many people that I talk to is when I, or we, are not being present with my spouse or listening to my patients, clients, co-workers by being distracted by one thing or another; and that other thing is usually related to task oriented outcomes, for example completing some forms, picking up mail, getting things ready for work, making sure I get to the gym, the small day to day stuff. Sometimes it's even being distracted by looking at our phones or something else.
That's the challenge. And now a new year comes along, and we start thinking about goals again when we really should be doing this all along, but that's an aside.
So how do we manage to achieve goals, in other words creating some tangible
results that are important and necessary to sustaining and living our lives/ thriving, vs. being goals? In other words, being present and in the moment with the people in our lives and even with ourselves; not being distracted by things like texts, social media etc.?
How do we manage to achieve goals, in other words creating some tangible results that are important and necessary to sustaining and living our lives/ thriving, vs. being goals? In other words, being present and in the moment with the people in our lives and even with ourselves; not being distracted by things like texts, social media etc.?
How do we DO effective goal setting and what would or could that look like? Is the traditional way the right way? How do we do effective goal setting and not task setting where we simply cross them off items on our 'to do' list only to have them replaced with more things 'to do' things? I don't know about you, but I find me, and many of my colleagues struggle with finding time to be fully present with the people in our lives.
We live in a culture where we're always looking to the future for results and then never really appreciating the present time we have — not appreciating the current people in our lives and the things that we are doing. It seems more than ever, people are becoming more anxious and stressed economically, socially and politically.
The truth is we do have to accomplish tasks and things, we have certain physical and financial responsibilities and goals, but the constant accomplishment of unfulfilling tasks can lead to a life of endless tasks- on our 'to do' list without any purpose and attention. We may be accomplishing things, and even doing them well, but they may not be the essential things. One of the biggest myths today is that - requiring a lot of time to do something doesn't make it important, and doing many things doesn't make it important and, here's the big one too- Doing something well doesn't make it important either.
there are four core areas in our lives: our psychology, our physiology, our physical environment and people environment and they all interact and influence one another.
Answering any of those four questions can lead you to live with more presences immediately and moving toward your purpose now. Think about how you'd feel if you had all the confidence and joy in your life now. How would you walk in your house, at work? How would you talk to people in your life? How would you act? That emotion of positivity and presence is available to us immediately; it's merely a matter of choosing and committing to it and conditioning that behaviour. Visualization to success is the automatic way to get it.
Everything we do first requires you to see it. If I asked you to think of a red car you'd think of a red car, you can't help it. If I said the car had wings and flies, you would see a red car flying with wings.
Choose how will you show up to be more so that you can be better in your health, your psychology and the people around you. Choose and make this a better year than your last year. And remember your past doesn't equal the present unless you live there.
You were meant to be better and even better than your best. Let's talk about ways to schedule that and make that more integral in your life now. Choose positivity and presence and become the person you want and need to be. How will you start your day with total intention, grace and purpose? Will you wake up with gratitude? Will you create that morning routine that keeps you going? Are you willing to break out and try and do something new? Are you willing to learn more and create steps, even if they are small steps to create a growth mindset?
Requiring a lot of time to do something doesn't make it important
Doing many things doesn't make them important
Doing something well doesn't make it important
Trying to manage our exterior goals vs. our interior goals is something we all know about. No matter what you did to get to where you're at, whether you're a doctor, nurse, physiotherapist, teacher, once you achieved that exterior goal/destination, (which required a lot of doing- doing- doing) but we know that it's the being- being- being that allows us to accomplish those doing goals and importantly to sustain that effort and result; otherwise we get burned out.
How many times have you woken up to do the things that you want or needed to do but found it a struggle? The inner fire of desire was gone? And that's generally because we're so focused on the end result and we haven't taken the time to take care of ourselves and our thinking; our mindset and body.
But when you were focused on your inner being, you focus on things by being in your flow state, being in nature, focusing on prayer, creating systems of gratitude, gratefulness and kindness. You had a desire to achieve something purposeful; this especially applies when we were younger, and there was an internal ambition to achieve something. To create a better life.
And when you create that internal energy of desire and passion, you just wake up with an overwhelming abundance to do things. Then all you want to do is think of how you can contribute and do more, and that's part of what happens when you focus on your inner being. And that's what I'm advocating here. Learning and creating systems to make your internal energy and passion alive and stay alive.
You know, the interesting thing to me is that the most important things in life are sometimes simply not quantifiable they're just qualifiable. How do you measure the love you have for a family member, how do you measure the joy and excitement you feel about something that you're doing, how do you measure the laughter you have with friends, this is something very difficult. There's nothing to measure, and it's often overlooked. But when we focus on things like nature, gratitude, positive people, and enjoy being connected with the world, we find we become more patient, more at peace, and most importantly we focus on increasing our awareness; and that's when we start enjoy the magic of life and living. It's really the small things that elevate us and makes us better.
So a good measure of knowing how well connected you are with your inner being or state is by asking the question:
How are you doing with others in the interactions you had last year? How are you doing with yourself in terms of the interactions or inner conversation you've had with yourself?
"How are you doing with others in the interactions you had last year?
How are you doing with yourself in terms of the interactions or inner conversations you've had with yourself?
Is there constant conflict in your life?
The more challenging your interactions, the more conflict can often be a reflection of some of your inner conflicts. Helping or working on resolving the internal conflicts that's part of doing the work of inner goals.
I'm sure you know people, patients, family or friends or even yourself at times, who end up physically, spiritually and emotionally exhausted and wonder how did I get to this point? How does that happen? One part of that equation is that they, more than likely, were unaware of what was draining their emotional, physical, mental and financial bank account. They weren't building their reservoir. You and I know that If we don't find ways to make little deposits in our health, financial, social bank account, we can find that in a year, two, three or five that we are broke.
So how are you how building your bank account of inner energy, strength and passion as you head into the new year and decade so that you can wake up with a greater desire and resilience and bounce with energy and passion to fulfill your outer goals?
Here are a few categories to think about and ask are you maximizing your:
3.Eating well nutritious food
4. Breathing through the day
5. Mindfulness practice or spiritual practice
6. Gratitude Practice
7. Kindness practice
8.Learning and reading, feeding your mind with positive knowledge and are you working to have a growth mindset.
All of the above helps create the tremendous life at work, home and play.
Work on the inner being and the exterior goals will be more directed and fulfilling. I'm going to share with you on the next podcast the planner that I use to help me with that.
I leave you with one question:
What three emotions do you want to feel more of and more consistently In your work life, play life and personal life? For example, I want to be more passionate, excited, joyful in my work life. Think about three positive emotions you want to feel, and how are you going to make that happen?
"I hope this podcast served you in some way, if you've enjoyed listening to this podcast, please share with a friend or colleague and subscribe to us Apple podcast, Spotify or your favorite podcast app. And if you go to the TheIntrovertedDoctor.com and sign in there, you'll get my weekly emails about the podcast episode that's coming out. Just a note, I'm going to change the release dates for every Friday.
I'm Dr. Lalit Chawla and thank you so much for listening. Let's together make a greater, more effective community in 2020 and let's make this next decade better than your last one together! Here's wishing you Greater Harmony, Prosperity and Joy in 2020 and beyond.
Have a super weekend!
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