My God, your goals are expensive. And I am not talking about the amount of money you plan to shell out for your next car, vacation, or must-have toy.
No, I am talking about the cost of your time… your well-being… your sense of joy and happiness.
I guarantee that right now you are making a series of choices, and taking a series of actions all designed for your “someday life.”
You know, the life when you FINALLY get to relax. When your calendar is empty. When you have the luxury of asking yourself “what do I want to do today?”
Truth is, you are the one setting the goals that are costing you your life: All the self-imposed expectations about what “success” is supposed to look like. All your unexamined beliefs about achievement and accomplishment. All the ways you dominate yourself and literally ignore the little voice inside that is crying for more down time, more quiet time, more time to just be.
You know what I am talking about, right?
If you are like me, you’ve climbed to the top of some metaphorical mountain of accomplishment, looked around and thought “this isn’t enough, I must do MORE!”
Been there. Got the t-shirt.
Today, I want to introduce you to an idea I’ve been coaching my private clients on for years: Lowering the bar.
“What? Matthew! Lower the bar? Are you insane? I can’t do that. I must accomplish this and that and…. blah, blah, blah.”
You react like I’ve just threatened your life.
And, in some way I have.
Telling a go-for-it person who has been driving toward their goals for years and years to lower the bar is extremely confronting. Don’t think I don’t know.
But I am willing to do it for one simple reason: Your goals are costing you. And until you have the courage to look your life in the eye, and take action, you will continue to trade your time now for a someday that is NOT coming.
Let me give you some ways you can lower the bar RIGHT NOW, and dissipate some of the unconscious pressure that’s keeping you from really enjoying life.
- Cut your income goal (and lifestyle) by 25% – 50%. I am NOT kidding. I could go on for hours telling you story after story about the damage financial goals have on your mental well-being. It’s nearly become an epidemic in the US. We arbitrarily set goals that make us feel like losers… like now isn’t good enough… and accidently dominate ourselves with more work, and less living.
- Schedule “Nothing To Do Time.” Right now, Kristen and I are in the middle of a week of a “nothing to do time” and WOW, are we getting a lot done. It’s Spring Break. The kids are with Claudine this week. So, Kristen and I are literally spending 6 days dreaming, planning, organizing and catching up on things we’ve been wanting to do for months. This is Day 3 of 12 – 15 hour days of pure unscheduled, free-time where we get to do whatever we want. I am digging into two decades worth of songs I’ve written and recorded and posting them to my SoundCloud account. I am like a kid in a candy store.
- Get out your To Do List and cancel, say no to, and omit anything that doesn’t bring you joy. Look, you do not have to participate in everything that comes your way. You really don’t have to attend every function or event. You don’t have to volunteer. You don’t have to show up and “do the right thing” just because you were conditioned by your family, church, and community about what to do with your time. Can you imagine the great painters, thinkers or the Founding Fathers ignoring their passions to attend a PTA meeting? That’s a silly example. But you get my point. I am giving you permission to SPEND YOUR TIME how you want to, free of what others think.
Which brings me back to the point… Lower the bar. Do it now. Be responsible for your life, and your bills. Take care of the people you are accountable for. And, back off a little. Stop driving, and pushing, and forcing yourself and others to live a set of standards that are robbing your joy.
Tomorrow I am going to share with you the specific things Kristen and I have done to lower the bar in our lives and give you examples of the extreme amount of mental freedom and financial freedom those moves are creating.
Until then, where can you revise your goals, lower the bar and give yourself some ‘nothing to do time’ to ensure you have the time to do what you really want?
If you need some help, read this article I wrote about Illogical Rules here.