How To Set Powerful Goals That Are Inspiring & Achievable (Part I)

Last Updated: May.02.18

How to set goals that turn nothing into something?

How to set powerful goals that inspire us?

How to set goals that are achievable?

How to set goals that produce the best outcomes?

Whether we buy into personal development, we all get inspired whenever we think about goal-setting, don’t we? I’m not familiar with your personalities and circumstances, so I talk from my own experience. Even during the dark time of my life, I’ve always been fascinated by goal-setting, planning for the future, fascinated to imagine how my life’s gonna be tomorrow, in 1 year, 3 years, 10 years. Imagination kept me trying one more time, trying another way, trying until. Some say I’m a dreamer, perhaps because on the surface they see nothing accomplished, yet here this guy always talks about things that are unrealistic, impractical.

What’s the major difference between a child’s dream vs a matured man’s? A child dreams of nonexistent things during daytime, and then continues dreaming at night. A man dreams the same things at night, but wakes and goes to work to make his dreams come true. T. E. Lawrence says it best:

All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.

I’m a dreamer. I don’t doubt there’s a lot of truth in that. But all those years, I’ve left the kindergarten. I’ve been planning, trying, and failing.

Who can guarantee you that the next lotto ticket you buy will win? Likewise, no matter how great our plan is, there’s no guarantee we will achieve our goals the next time we try. But this I will guarantee you, even if you fail to reach your goal, you’d win the experience instead. And that, I solemnly believe, 100 times more valuable than achieving your goals.

So, let’s get started, shall we?

First, let’s set a goal. This goal requires you to sit still, remain quiet, and demands 100% of your attention.

The goal is this:

For the next 2 hours, you will sit on your chair, open the TV, and watch your favorite show. Or, if you play computer game like me (any gamer here?), play your favorite game for the next 2 hours.

I suppose that would cover 80% of the population of readers of EnjoyYrJourney.com, but if it’s YOU that I miss, please make yourself comfortable by selecting your favorite activity in this goal (Ex: surfing web, Face, online shopping, reading novel, etc.).

Remember, the rule is that for the next 2 hours, do something that is both entertaining and consuming 100% of your attention.

So are you done? Common, just bookmark this page, stop reading and do the damn thing. If it’s inconvenient for you to do that right now, then set a reminder to perform the activity later, and we’ll continue after you finish. I’m not intending to make this guide enjoyable to read. I’m not in entertainment business you know. If you want success, and seek to follow others’ guidance, you must trust the advice, do the steps.

Now that you’re done. Did you achieve your goal? I imagine you’d say “Stupid!”, and because I’m a positive guy, I’d interpret that to be a positive “Yes”. Of course! It’s a dumb question whether we can do that. In fact, we’ve done that every. single. day. for the past ___ years (feel free to fill in the void). Wanna play Witcher 3 during the next 2 hours? Sure, I can go ahead and do it now. Actually, I can play 16/7, 365 days. And what’s best? No need for me to plan at all.

And here goes your “Aha” moment. So if this one is the goal we set for ourselves, we’re 90% guaranteed to succeed, even before we set up any plan right? But why is that the case? It’s because:

1. It’s enjoyable and fun to do

2. We’ve been doing it every day so far, so no problem to continue

3. Whether intentional or not, we’ve already reserved 2 hours daily specifically for this activity (Admit it, I did)

4. It’s simple and easy. We can do it.

Do that every day for 1 year, and we would accomplish an even bigger “goal” – Wasting 2/16 or 1/8 of our waking life. Assuming we live till 80, that would be 10 years devoted to a meaningless hobby.

That’s what I did the last 10 years, messed up my life for 10 years. So, you never know a failure like me could give you such an inspiring lecture on success, right?!

Don’t you see it, there’re some major principles of effective goal-setting up there. Let’s recap. For any goal to be achievable, it must be:

1. Enjoyable & Fun to do

2. Simple & Easy. I can do it

3. Scheduled a specific time to work on it, and

4. Worked on, on a daily basis.

Inspiration is what gets us started, but Momentum is what gets us finish. 

And those 4 principles are the essentials of my philosophy – To reach a destination, we must enjoy our journey.

Rules for the Game

Before getting into the goal-setting process, let’s have some rules for the game:

1. Remember the wise saying: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” 

That’s the promise that the Saints and the Sages gave us. The problem is that these seers didn’t tell us “when”. So keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking.

2. Don’t trust your memory 

Use a notebook, note app, or whatever that you always keep by your side, to dump all ideas/thoughts/inspiration relating to your goal in there.

3. Write your goal down on paper

Do NOT type it out. Write your goal down on paper. Write it, as if it’s the first time you wrote a love-letter to your high primary school’s sweetheart (yes, I’m THAT romantic and naive, in case you’re wondering). Write it, not in a rush to get it done because Rumi told you so; but in a slow, conscious, and deliberate way, so that your mind has enough time to absorb the idea, so that, in case if you “feel” inside any unease and rebellious thought, you might spend time to think your goal over, whether it’s what you really want.

4. Don’t trust your willpower

Your willpower is limited. Your self-discipline is not everything. How do I know? The day when you graduate from this class and no longer need to read this stuff you will have the answer.

5. Have goals in all major aspects of life

I’ve said this before, but it’s worth to repeat here. It’s critical to set goals in all major areas of life, which are:

Career

Finance

Health

Personal development

Social

Spiritual

Each of these aspects stands like a column supporting a building; and if neglected, would wreak havoc on the rest of the structure. And that’s exactly what happened to me in the past (read my story here).

6. Have 1 goal only for each major aspect of life

This helps us prioritize our time/energy to work on those goals that bring the most impact on our lives.

7. Break it down

A goal serves as the inspiration that gets us started; whereas daily actions are what get us finish. How do you finish a journey of 1,000 steps? By taking one step at a time. Without a daily action plan, it’s much less intimidating, while more titillating, to drift along in our dream, rather than stepping outside to realize it.

8. Be extra cautious about relying on external help to assist you reaching the finish line, if it’s a character goal, or a personal growth goal 

When I struggled to quit smoking, I knew deep inside that the challenge wasn’t solely overcoming nicotine addiction. It’s easy to remove nicotine from my body. Research (1) show that it takes around 4 days to clear the body of nicotine. The challenge was changing my self-image, my self-beliefs, my habits, my lifestyle, etc. Thus, no matter how many times I failed, I stubbornly refused (and I’m 100% honest on this) to use outside help (ex: nicotine gum/cessation drugs/chewing gum/nicotine-free cigarette/vaporizer). After all, smoking is just one kind of emotional bandages that I, and others, use. Unless I could get my shit together, there’s no way I would quit smoking for good, without falling in love with another addictive type of emotional bandage.

9. Don’t expect to create a perfect game plan 

Are you in search of a perfect plan/strategy/time? Good luck on your quest! You’ll be forever searching/waiting, and never arriving. There’s no perfect game plan. My humble (and stumble, if you will) experience tell me that the only time I could use the word “perfect” is while looking backward, rarely forward. You update/refine your plan along the way.

Ok, you know the rules, let’s start. Goal-setting is time-consuming. Don’t expect to finish setting your goals in one session. Give yourself several days to complete all the steps below.

There are 3 phases of the process:

I. Figure out the What & Why

He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Basically, you find out:

1. What do you really want to achieve this year, next 3, 5, 10 years?

2. Why do you want to achieve this? 

This first question involves a lot of dreaming, reflecting, imagination, and what-if scenarios. Let your imagination run free. Don’t let your past limits what you think you’re capable of. Don’t worry about the “how”. Brainstorm your answers on a mind map. Below are some questions to help you get started:

  • Looking forward, what do you want to achieve long-term regarding your Career? Finance? Health? Personal development? Social? Spiritual?
  • Looking backward, what did you do that make you regret? Which of these do you want to see change?
  • What change do you want to see in the next 6 months? 1 year? 3 years? 5 years? 10 years?
  • What was your childhood dream/s? Which one do you want to turn into reality?
  • What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What can you do that help make this world a better place?

After you’ve brainstormed, now we need to be certain that the goals are what you really want, by filtering them through this question:

3. If you failed to reach this goal, on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being no more trying and 5 being keep trying until you succeed, to what extent would you be willing to try again?

Get rid of anything less than 5, because you don’t want to waste your limited time on trivial matters. Keep asking this question frequently, so that you can notice any change on the journey of working toward your goal.

But, if you ignore this advice, it doesn’t matter anyway. Because you will fail a few times before reaching your goal. Failure and setback are inevitable on any dream-walker’s journey. And I believe that: 

Failure is a great way of testing to see whether the goal that we’re after, after all, is what we really want. A windy day will make any smoke vanish without a trace, but can enkindle a real fire, turn it into an inferno.

Right, after you’ve done that, go back to your list, for each goal, ask yourself:

4. Does achieving this goal cause harm to others?

If yes, cross it out. My mantra is “Do no harm”. If I can’t bring happiness to others, then I at least try not to cause them misery. Although we have the right to pursue the lives we want, we must be responsible for our actions in this civilized society. My philosophy is that the best way to achieve our goal is to enjoy our journey. And we won’t enjoy the trip, if our accomplishment causes pain to others. It might be a pleasure to taste our success, but at the back of our minds, and for the rest of our lives, we’d be secretly disgusted with ourselves for what we have done.

5. Now, review your list, select only 1 goal for Career, Finance, Health, Personal development, Social, and Spiritual. Be sure that the 6 goals you select must be congruent with each other.

II. Figure out the How

(To be continued here)

If you benefit from this post, share it with your loved ones, so that they benefit, too. When somebody shares, everybody wins!

and until our paths cross again, enjoy your journey!

 

Reference

(1) Raja, M., Garg, A., Yadav, P., Jha, K., & Handa, S. (2016). Diagnostic Methods for Detection of Cotinine Level in Tobacco Users: A Review. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research : JCDR, 10(3), ZE04–ZE06. http://doi.org/10.7860/JCDR/2016/17360.7423

2017 Best Year Ever – New Year Resolutions for 2018

Year-end is a great time to review what we have done during the whole period. It’s time to reflect, ponder about what we have/have not accomplished so far, so that we can see whether we’re on the right track, or off track, whether there should be some course correction; or, better or worse, depending on how you look at it, we need to tear off and re-write the whole script completely, like what I did 6 months ago.

How often do you think a company should review its plan?

Every week?

Every month?

Every quarter?

Semi-annually?

Annually?

And how often an employee gets performance evaluation? Too bad we rarely see the need to review our own plan. I believe that if we all treat ourselves, and our lives, as if they were Fortune 500 companies, our lives would be much better on Earth.

Anyway, too much rambling, 2017 is a strange year for me. If someone had told me how my life would turn out like this after one year, I would have laughed in their face. See, I used to live with broken dreams and promises. Each day in life floated away the same way. Each night I laid down trying to sleep at night…feeling disappointed and unhappy with myself. You know what’s the worst kind of unhappiness? It’s self-unhappiness. I was in constant depression, because of knowing that so far I’d just wasted another day accomplishing nothing, and so tomorrow would continue to be dark & confusing for me. Then I would soothe myself by happy pills promising that tomorrow I will try quitting cigarette another time, and this time I will succeed…Below are two of the many depressing entries I wrote in DayOne app during that period. Forgive me for the broken English. (If you’re currently in bad mood, then consider jumping to the next section)

Journal Jan/25/17

“Reflection on the difficulty of quitting cigarette:

You want to get rid of it, and the moment you decide to leave it for good, you feel relieved, you feel good to be free at last. Yet, the next days finding yourself yearning for it, depending on it, seeking it, and yet you feel secretly disappointed when you smoke it. Such is the feeling, on the one hand, you want to be free, you know it’s harmful; on the other hand, you can’t break free completely. Imagine having a wife with the same situation. You want to leave, yet you can’t, for one reason or another. It’d be miserable if that’s the case.

That’s why i vow not to ever let myself into such situation, getting married with such a lady. I’d rather be alone, than to be with somebody, whom I later regret to get married, who would never let me go.”

Journal Jan/26/17

“Reflection on the day before New Year Eve:

Another boring day goes by and I’m feeling more boring. I dont know what to do during the day, except reading PS Tinh Khong, sitting idly in coffee shop, and doing shows. I must find something meaningful to do. How can I fall into such a life? Because of my cowardice, my impatience, my lack of discipline, my laziness, my timidity.

I wonder when will I finally change, since I don’t even know to what I would change into? I don’t want to repeat ky days like this nothing to do, always failure and disappointment. What the f.c.u.k!

Ok so if I can’t quit by going cold turkey, then I’ll try the gradual way. Currently I don’t often smoke during daytime, only after sunset.

So, I’ll try from tomorrow until Sunday, to only smoke after sunset, max 3 cigarette daily, unless I have a party or something big happening.

Then, during the next week, I’ll smoke max 2 cigarette after sunset.

And the week after, I’ll smoke only 1 cigarette after sunset.

And then the week after that, I’ll smoke 1 cigarette every 2 days.

And then afterward, I’ll smoke 1 cigarette every 3 days.

Then, 1 cigarette every 4 days.

And so on, until I complete the week during week I only smoke 1 cigarette during those 7 days. Finally, I will break free from smoking.

A week considered to be successful, if I only blunder 1 time. For example, next week, during which I’m supposed to smoke only 2 cigarette after sunset, it would be successful if I fail only 1 time, meaning I can smoke more than 2 cigarette in any one given day, but no more days other than that particular day.”

So, a year went by, and things changed swiftly, so fast that I still think I am dreaming right now. I made 3 big achievements:

1. Quit smoking;

2. Become a vegetarian;

3. Start this blog.

Below is a full list of things I’m proud of:

1. Quit smoking since Jun 10, 2017 – This is not simply a goal, it’s my obsession. Every daytime I thought about it, planned for it, struggled with it; every night I dreamed about it. Even now, after 6 months going smoke-free, I still have nightmares about it sometimes, that I deliberately smoke back, and secretly enjoy the taste!

2. Stop reading trashy news (Internet, Facebook, YouTube)

3. Exercise daily, including weekend

4. Practice Muay Thai 2, 3 times a week

5. Meditate at least 1 hour daily including weekend – I’m a Buddhist practitioner, and my meditation involves chanting Amitābha (pronounce [əmiˈt̪aːbʱə])

6. Run 15 kms (9.3 miles) non-stop (total time 1h34’; avg pace 10’09” per mile) – I know it’s nothing compared to YOUR record, so I’d be pleased if you will look at it from the perspective of a guy, who’s never exercised a single day during the past 10 years

(Updated on May.3.18 – Run 32 kms (19.9 miles) non-stop (total time 3h44’; avg pace 11’15” per mile)

7. Become a vegetarian – I don’t eat meat, fish, or anything involve killing animals. I do consume eggs and dairy products

8. Wake up @ 4:30 am & Go to bed @ 9:00 pm daily including weekend

9. Adopt positive thinking mindset (find out more on this blog)

10. Have a place for everything, both physically and mentally

11. Start this blog

13. Develop over 10 good habits to turn my life around

And that’s why I call 2017 the best year ever in my life, so far, I hope. Apparently, I haven’t become financially independent, nor built a successful business, nor saved the world. But I’ve kept my own promises, started doing something that I’m passionate about, headed a new direction, turned my life around, and redeemed myself in the process.

2018 Goals

Some people hold an opinion that New Year Resolutions do not work. There is a lot of truth in it. One reason is an ironic fact that very often we go great length to keep promises made to someone else, but not to ourselves. We’re all incurable failures at keeping our own promises.

Now is the time we reverse that trend. 2018 is the year that we turn our lives around.

On goal setting, I strongly believe that, a goal with a deadline without a list of daily actions is as good as a dead dream. A goal serves as the inspiration that gets us start; whereas daily actions are what get us finish.

Suppose you want to run a marathon in one year, your plan may involve daily running, controlling your diet, doing strength and cardio training NOW.

Or you dream of becoming a freelance writer by Jun 2018, your daily actions include, obviously, writing EVERY DAY FROM NOW (no? You’re kidding yourself, right?); learning what a normal life of a typical writer would be like; researching what sources of writing income are available, and which one you want to earn, and how to get that, etc.

Or you have a creative idea and want to build a successful business in 5 years, your daily action plan could be refining the product and attracting more customers.

So, I prefer goals that have: specific start date, flexible due date, and clearly-defined daily actions.

Besides, it’s critical to set goals in all major areas of life, which are: career, finance, health, personal development, social, spiritual. Each of these aspects stands like a column supporting a building; and if neglected, would wreak havoc on the rest of the structure.

And that’s exactly what happened to me in the past (read my story here). So, do not neglect any of these, one neglect leads to another. Do not pursue one goal at the expense of the others.

Moreover, having goals in all major facets of life allow us to switch our attention from one goal to another, depending on the scheduled activities of our days, so that we’re always working on our goals.

For example, at work, you’re working on your career goal. After heading home, you continue working on your social/ family/ relationship goals. Then, during your free time, you can start working on your health, personal development, finance, or spiritual goals.

Having goals in all aspects of life doesn’t mean we’re multi-tasking. It simply means we know exactly where we are heading to in life, and consciously choose the course of our life, rather than letting someone else, or the circumstance, dictates for us.

On the other hand, each area shouldn’t have more than one goal. Otherwise, we would spread our attention too thin. Focus on one thing at a time.

You will get a step-by-step guidance on setting goals that are not only inspiring, but also achievable in my next post. From my experience, whether we will achieve our goals in the next trial depend on 4 things:

1. First and foremost, we must try!

2. Outside help

3. Self help

4. Luck.

Outside help is merely auxiliary. Helping ourselves, with a bit of luck are decisive factors.

Having said that, here are the major things that I will work on in 2018:

1. Meditate 1.5 hours on Mon-Sat, and 2 hours on Sun

This is to be done in 3 sessions. 1.5 hours is the time I’m planning. Yet, due to writing commitment, I might trim it down to 1 hour every workday and 1.5 hours on Sunday.

2. Earn at least $313 weekly from blogging (or $15,000 annually before tax) from Jun.30.18

I’m working full-time building EnjoyYrJourney.com. Right now I’m living on my saving. I know that following this path is much more challenging than working for paychecks. Even worse, I have no experience in writing and blogging. So, I aim to earn this much as a minimum to support the very basic living costs, so that I can continue working full-time to develop this blog without the need to find freelance work elsewhere.

Note that, in addition to meditating, this is my main focus in 2018. In fact, this is the only major goal that I have for 2018, namely, to create a sustainable income from EnjoyYrJourney.com.

However, this doesn’t mean I focus only on work and ignore all the remaining aspects of life. Actually, I’ve set some sub-goals to ensure the accomplishment of this goal, and these sub-goals cover the other areas: health, personal development, social, and spiritual.

3. Develop good habits

Habits dictate over 90% of our behavior. Ralph Waldo Emerson said:

Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny

Right now I’m sowing the desire to build certain habits on paper. Then day-by-day I keep the list, perform the habits daily, and I update the list often.

And the rest remains to be seen.

4. Everyday living my dream life

I’ve laid out a set of daily activities for my dream life. Every single day I try to follow the schedule faithfully. This one certainly needs clarification. A dream life I’ve been longing for comprises 4 elements: freedom, challenge, self-expression, and contribution.

  • A free life is when everything I do, I do it because it is an end in itself, not being a means to achieve the desired end. Ultimately, we all want happiness, yet not everything we do will bring us happiness. For example, we may work on a contemptible job to get money, then use the money as a means to pursue happiness. My dream is to be able to do the work that I love, no matter how much money I earn from it.
  • My dream life must be challenging enough, so that it forces me stepping out of my comfort zone, not 24/7, but often enough so that my soul won’t die from boredom and routine.

If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It is lethal ~ Paulo Coelho

  • Thirdly, I strongly believe that although everyone originates from the same life source, it’s our desire, and duty to express this sameness in a unique way. EnjoyYrJourney.com is my way of sharing this similarity. My story will be totally different from yours. Yet, you would find pieces of your own while listening to my struggles.
  • Lastly, without meaningful contribution, we won’t be happy no matter how much productive we are. In a rush to climb the success ladder, people work hard to care for themselves and nothing else. Well, all by myself it’s a lonely life. We’ve all heard countless stories, of the successful, and depressed; of the rich, and self-indulgent; of the having-too-much-to-live-by, and nothing-to-live-for.

5. Finish reading 10 books below to improve writing skill

  1. Becoming a Writer, by Dorothea Brande
  2. On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction, by William Zinsser
  3. Save the Cat, by Blake Snyder
  4. Story Engineering: Mastering the 6 Core Competencies of Successful Writing, by Larry Brooks
  5. Naked, Drunk and Writing: Shed Your Inhibitions and Craft a Compelling Memoir or Personal Essay, by Adair Lara
  6. How to Write a Damn Good Novel: A Step-by-Step No Nonsense Guide to Dramatic Storytelling, by James N. Frey
  7. CA$HVERTISING: How to Use More than 100 Secrets of Ad-Agency Psychology to Make Big Money Selling Anything to Anyone, by Drew Eric Whitman
  8. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King
  9. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott
  10. Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, by Natalie Goldberg

I’ve set aside 1 hour daily dedicated to study and practice writing, of which 30’ spent on reading these books.

Note that I plan to “study” them carefully, not just read for entertainment. So, that may involve re-reading several times and practicing the concepts/exercises suggested in the books.

Thus, I don’t make a big deal that I must complete the 10 books by 2019, but I will study them from now on. For how long? As long as it takes, until I’m satisfied with my writing skill.

I don’t kid myself that my writing is perfect, and I treat writing just like any other profession; no longer a hobby, where I’d been on and off whenever inspiration struck me.

6. Gain basic blogging knowledge

I’ll spend 15’ daily studying blogging’s technical aspects. Actually, 15’ is minimum. I created EnjoyYrJourney.com on Dec.26.17, following exactly this guide. Surprise, surprise! It turned out, bringing the blog live is ONLY the first step on the journey of ??? steps, because there’re numerous other things I need to do (well, you can see for yourself by looking at this blog right?).

Yet, I don’t care however longer the heck it’ll take, I will work on refining it on daily basis.

7. Build sufficient audience

It’s hard to quantify an amount here. Readers are the lifeblood of a blog.

So, dear friend, I need you!

This means networking. However, this doesn’t mean I will spam everyone on Facebook, Twitter, etc. It means I will be more active on social media, rather than passively consuming news without interacting/commenting.

I will also try doing guest posts on popular blogs/sites/magazines. Will send them at least once weekly.

Next, will join freelance/writing/blogging communities to interact with the like-minded in the field.

Likewise, I will attend social events, seminars, local meet-ups, etc.

What Kind Of 2018 Would You Like?

Now it’s your turn. What kind of year would you like 2018 to be?

You want 2018 to be the year, when everything stays the same but better? Perhaps you yearn to take a diversion? Or you are in a slump and wish to turn your life around, like I did?

Think about it. Whatever we do, 2018 will pass by anyway, and we’ll all be 1 year older, but still have nothing better to show up on our cards. How many 2018 do we have? Only one.

Are you forever waiting and never arriving? For those who say “I’ll wait until…”, time won’t wait, time flies swiftly by. And there won’t be another better time to start.

The best time to start was yesterday, the next best is now.

And the third best, well, is the time you wish you would have started, when you sit there tiredly, exhaustedly, boringly, and regretfully reviewing your life, and it dawns on you that you’ve just wasted a lifetime of un-productivity, or idleness, or meaningless and passionate-less pursuits.

Perhaps you would moan, “Ahh, nothing hurts as much as life!” (My favorite line in Witcher 3 game). Well, it’s better to get hurt fighting for something that you want, rather than dying from the boredom and regret of a life not lived.

So, suppose you’re turned on, suppose you buy my idea, you may be unsure of what to do after you start your journey.

Don’t worry. Start the journey boldly, stay on the path, and tune in to this blog.

Here you will find inspiration and ideas to not only reach your destination, but also enjoy your endeavor.

In fact, I will show you how to set goals that are not only inspiring, but also achievable in the next post. I will be on your side.

Together let’s do something marvelous! Let the journey begin!

If you benefit from this post, share it with your loved ones, so that they benefit, too. When somebody shares, everybody wins!

and until our paths cross again, enjoy your journey!

Why Enjoy Your Journey

Last Updated: May.10.18

Life is a journey. Everything is bound by time, whatever is started, will eventually come to an end. Whether you want to reach a destination, achieve a goal, complete a project, write a book, there must be a start, and an end. That’s clear.

Now the thing that makes most of us, the journeyers, dread, is the duration of our trips. In our instant, overnight-success, fast-food world, when whatever we want, we want it yesterday, wouldn’t it be nice if we could achieve our goals, reach our destinations instantly?

Unfortunately, we can’t. The reality is that we rarely reach our goals due to disappointment, impatience, when the result fails to show up fast enough. We end our journeys, yet unable to reach the desired destinations. Most of us are starters, very few are finishers.

Dear friend, you’re reading the blog of another starter. I’m Rumi, the ultimate starter. I’ve started out to do many things, yet completed very few. In fact, starting-over is my specialty. And in the course of agonizing over my unfinished projects, I’ve had a sudden gleam of insight:

The best way to ensure reaching a destination is to enjoy the journey.

Without joy, I’ve found it hard to endure the struggles, overcome the obstacles along the way. Sure, you might have heard Nietzsche’s wise saying:

He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how

But trust me. No matter how much meaning and payoff that I’ve attributed to reaching my goals, they couldn’t motivate me to stay on course long enough until the finish end.

How many cigarette smokers do you know, who quit smoking, simply because they know that their health is at stake (In fact, ALL smokers know their health is at risk, as they contemplate the horrendous images on cigarette packages while smoking)?

How many obese people do you know, who lost weight, permanently, after the Doc warns that they have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and possibly some kinds of cancer?

Not that many. We all tried. Very few succeeded.

The rest of us weren’t motivated and persisted enough.

And, given a choice, would you rather have an enjoyable quest and grasp the reward of accomplishing your goal simultaneously? Kind of like shooting two birds with one stone huh?

This blog will show you how.

My Philosophy

I have a conviction that we can do almost anything we set our minds upon, if we persist long enough. The challenge is not about whether that we can do the things that we want to do, but whether that we will do them consistently.

The key to conquer this challenge is to deliberately design our game plan so that we can enjoy our journey, all the way from beginning to the end.

And I will show you how.

About Me

You’re wondering who the heck I am, and what qualification I have to offer such advice. These are fair questions that deserve fair answers.

Firstly, I’m Rumi Tran. I’m a vegetarian, a wannabe artist, a dreamer, and a psycho. And no, I do not suffer from dissociative identity disorder (wiki).

Secondly, I live in San Jose, California. I like running, practicing Muay Thai & working out in the gym, reading, playing Witcher 3, and meditating.

Next, I’m no 2,000-years-old guru. On the contrary, I’m a nothing, an ultimate failure. It’s a shame that people don’t jump up and down, get turned on, and tune in, in the presence of someone, who messed up his life for 10 years. Because if they do, I’m sure I’d be an overnight success!

Here’s my infamous story, in brief:

  1. Tried quitting cigarette since 2005, failed so many times that I lost count
  2. Stopped playing any kind of sport, nor exercising after high school
  3. After graduation from university, it took me 1.5 years to get the first accounting job
  4. Failed to earn decent income working as a self-employed teacher and doing freelance work
  5. Lived an idle life for 2 years, a life that I often muse as “eat and waiting to die”, doing no-thing meaningful, merely some freelance work, on-and-off
  6. Failed to achieve 95% of my dreams. There’s such a big gap between my goal list and the reality, that I started feeling depressed just by looking at it. And so after recuperating from the trauma, I would erase the whole thing, and redo/remake/re-create/re-list/re-design/refine my to-do list/goal list/my game plan/my life strategy. Then repeat the process again, in countless times
  7. Broke up with my girlfriend of 3 years. How do you put “noble” and “coward” in the same sentence? Actually, during this dark time of my life, I was ashamed of myself, had low self-esteem. I was so unhappy and disappointed with myself that I let her go, because I rationalized that, since I couldn’t bring her happiness anyway, I’d better let her go with someone else who could. Ah, well, what a noble excuse, and a coward one!
  8. Went outside to hide from my family and relatives. I lied to them that I had already quit smoking. And since I had not, I preferred staying out of their sight, to continue indulging in the disgusting bad habit. The result was that nobody understood me, or saw what’s going on.
  9. Since I was behind on my promises/my goals/my dreams, I lost all self-esteem and self-confidence. So, I stopped hanging out with my buddies. And over the course of the years, I’d lived as a social recluse (any lone wolf reading this? If so, you have my salute ;~)); and because living that way prevented other people from discovering the ugly truth about me, I accepted it as my normal way of life.

You see, from a personal perspective, I was bankrupt. From a career perspective, I was also bankrupt. So was I in my finance, health, love, family, and relationships. I was bankrupt in nearly all major areas of life.

Despite that, I’ve never given up trying. Like a phoenix keeps reborning from the ashes of its own, from its last defeat, over and over, until when? Until the day it can fly up high and far in the sky.

Sometimes I fall into a slump while working on something dear. Sometimes life plays cruel tricks upon me. Sometimes there is a joke flying in the air, and the joke is on me. Sometimes life is like a samsara to me, where each day ends in failure and defeat, repeatedly, with a promise that tomorrow will be different, that I will make it.

Never mind, in depression I keep working, in frustration I keep walking, in disappointment I keep hoping, in defeat I keep rising one more time. For an ultimate loser like me, I have got used to it, been familiar with that, it’s the same old shit that I no longer give a damn. All the hardships, the disappointments, the struggles, the failures, the quittings, etc. Fine. I can handle that.

And you know what, I will start over again, try another time, hold my hope high one more time, keep faith. And yes, there will be more depressions, frustrations, disappointments, unexpected twists and turns along the way. Despite those, I will keep working.

Let the depression touch me, let the frustration affect me, let the disappointment drag me low, let the defeat injure me…but they won’t keep me low for long, nor kill me; and, as long as I’m still alive, I won’t let all these sufferings go to waste, I will make my sufferings meaningful. I will let all these hardships reflected upon my work.

Why, you ask? I have another question for you.

What will you do to ensure that you will win a lottery?

Think you’re not smart enough?

Let me give you a clue. Buy lotto.

Well, I’m not saying it’s the best way to guarantee you would win the next lottery, but it’s definitely will give you a chance to win. But what if you don’t buy, and keep thinking/dreaming about winning? (Note: I want to make it clear that I NEVER think winning a lotto, nor gambling, is a good way to get rich. I just use the example to make a point)

Similarly, why tried so hard, you ask? Because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t even have a chance!

And that’s exactly what I did.

Try.

Fail.

Try again.

Fail again.

Try one more time.

Fail a second time.

Try one more.

Still fail.

Try, until.

Life, however short, is still too long to give up hope and not follow our dream.

So, to make the story short, who I am today is completely different from the previous 6 months. A period of 6 months time is short, yet still long enough to do lots of great things. You see, and I adopt from what Bill Gates said, we have a tendency to overestimate what we can do in one day, and underestimate what we can do in one year.

Here are the achievements that I’m proud of:

  1. Quit smoking since Jun 10, 2017
  2. Stop reading trashy news (Internet, Facebook, Youtube)
  3. Exercise daily, including weekend
  4. Practice Muay Thai 2, 3 times a week
  5. Meditate at least 1 hour daily including weekend – I’m a Buddhist practitioner, and my meditation involves chanting Amitābha (pronounce [əmiˈt̪aːbʱə])
  6. Run 15 kms (9.3 miles) non-stop (total time 1h34’; avg pace 10’09” per mile)
  7. Become a vegetarian
  8. Wake up @ 4:30 am & Go to bed @ 9:00 pm daily including weekend
  9. Adopt positive thinking mindset (find out more on this blog)
  10. Have a place for everything, both physically and mentally
  11. Start this blog
  12. Develop over 10 good habits to turn my life around

So, that’s my story, so far.

What’s yours?

What get you to this current state of life?

What brings you here?

Do share your story.

You may not always find a solution to your struggle here, but there definitely is an ear somewhere to hear it.

You see, I’m no expert in the game of life. But over the course of wrestling with my own problems, I’ve found ways to enjoy my transformation journey, and made some modest accomplishments. I share my experience on this blog.

Specifically, here are what you will find reading this blog:

+ Sincerity & Truth:

This blog is a public journal of my personal development journey, the journey to transform myself, as old Zig often said, from a “wandering generality” to a “meaningful specific”.

It’s a public diary, in which I share my thoughts, feelings, and insights. It’s about my dreams, loves, temptations, lessons, failures, practices, obsessions, and inspirations in life.

I hope you can find in me two things – Sincerity and Truth.

I’m no expert in personal development, so offering wisdom is not my day job. But above all else, I’m willing to share my own story and the lessons that I’ve learned along the way.

+ Ideas & Inspiration:

I have a strong belief, that the only way to ensure reaching the destination of any journey is to find ways to enjoy the journey. Or, to quote Wayne Dyer:

There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way

This blog contains ideas and insights into personal growth and goal achievement. I do not own any lessons here. All that I know I have learned from teachings of the wises who came before me. I’m merely a student of life, trying to apply what I learn consistently, and share the experience.

It’s been my dream since studying at university, to become a source of inspiration to boost courage and confidence in others to follow their dreams.

Ironically, for a long time, I’d been the one who lacked courage to go after my own dream.

This blog marks a bold step in pursuing my dreams, and I hope it will provide the support and inspiration necessary for others to follow their passions.

So let’s start, shall we?

The Art of Becoming an Awakened Dream-walker

First, if you have a dream, and have already decided to go after it, then there’s one thing that you know for sure (and probably are afraid of) is that failure is inevitable on your journey toward your dream. In fact, if you were like me, failure would be a default outcome every time I try. And when you know that you have to deal with failure fairly frequently, wouldn’t it make more sense to prepare yourself for the bad news?

Fear not! For I’ve a comprehensive guide with practical steps to deal with this issue. I call it the Art of becoming an Awakened Dream-walker. The art shows you how to take advantage of all the challenges and obstacles on your journey, so that failure no longer frustrates, but inspires and enlightens you on your path.

If there’s one thing that you can take from me, that helps you on your journey, I hope it’s this one. Head here for the guide.

Personal Growth

Are you walking on, or yearning to take the journey of personal growth?

Pursue Your Dream

Are you pursuing, or afraid to pursue your dreams/passions/adventures?
Are you sick and tired of conformity and suppressing your uniqueness?

Enjoy Your Journey

Are you certain that happiness is attained after reaching your goals?
Are you using goals as the means in the pursuit of happiness?

Productivity

Are you frustrated and dissatisfied with not getting results in personal growth?

Spirituality

Are you a soul with a body, or a body with a soul?
What is the meaning of life?
What’s your biggest regret in life?

Inspiration

Not sure where to start? Head here for Thought for the Day

and until our paths cross again, enjoy your journey!

Contact

For feedback or suggestions, please send to: rumitg (at) enjoyyrjourney {dot} com