NYC – visual goal sheet

I decided that this year I would set up some visual reminders of my major goals.  Something portable that I could take with me so that I can pull it out if I want a moment to focus or to remind myself of what’s important.  The trip to New York is coming up really fast so I figured I’d better get cracking. 

NYC goal sheet

Each one is pretty small.  It folds up into a small(ish) square that I should be able to put in my wallet.  (That way, when I open it to grab my visa for something, I might think twice and realize what’s REALLY important to me this year.)  Once I’m done, the visual goal sheets will also be a nice reminder of what I’ve accomplished in 2009. 

I’m always at a bit of a loss when it comes to collage images since we aren’t in the habit of buying magazines at all.  The above images were from two magazines that were purchased a year apart.  Aside from work magazines we don’t get much else.  I’m wondering how I might find some more images for free (or very cheap).  Any ideas are welcome in the comments!

How do you keep focused on your goals?  Do you use visual inspiration/motivation for achieving the things you want?


2009 Big Rock Goal #2 New York City

This is the second in a series of 5 posts describing my Big Rock Goals (major milestones) for 2009.  Every year I try to set up some reasonable specific goals that I can devote my time and energy to.  Every year when I finish them, I feel proud and happy that I’ve really managed to accomplish something special.  Here is what I’m going to be working towards this year . . .

Read about my Big Rock Goal #1 – Boxing Cardio Challenge

Ok, first things first, an apology.  In my last post I had thought I’d get a chance to post this one the next day, so I said it would be coming on January 2nd.  Well, obviously this didn’t happen.  I’ll try not to make promises I can’t keep this year either.

For my second goal, I really wanted to do something travel related again.  My husband and I really have a long list of adventures we’d like to get done with.  But that wasn’t the only thing motivating this trip.  My sister was another big motivator for me.  First, let me tell you a bit about her . . .

My sister is a wonderful, hard working person.  She is also a homebody who does not like change.  She laments the fact that she never gets a chance for a vacation and yet she never sets aside money for one or looks in the costs and arrangements for making one.  The last time she went on an airplane was 12 years ago when my mom took us girls to Disneyland and California for a couple of weeks.  I don’t think she’s ever been the major planning force in any vacation, even the car rides down to visit relatives.  She doesn’t have a driver’s license and, until recently, didn’t have her passport.

Needless to say, I love my sister.  But I get very frustrated at her lamentations when she does nothing to change her situation.  She is bright and intelligent and, if she really wanted to, she could save the money for vacations and go places.  But, she needed a gentle push in the right direction.  My hints about setting aside money every month for vacationing went unheard, so when we both came into some money due to my father’s life insurance payout, I thought that this would finally be her chance.  No excuses about money, she was going to take a vacation.

We’d always talked about going to New York, so one afternoon when she was complaining about her lack of vacations I said, “Ok, we’re planning that trip to New York that we’ve always talked about.”  So, that’s how it came to be.  I’m excited for myself, but also really excited for her, since I’m hoping that travel will be a transformative experience for her, like it is for so many others.

So, here’s our plan so far . . .

Dates: March 15-22 (yes, we’ll be there for St. Patrick’s Day . . . already looking forward to the festivities!)

Hotel: Affinia 50 – I was pleasantly surprised at the room rate and at the fact that the room has 2 queen size beds!  With all the sleep troubles I’ve been having lately, the last thing I wanted was to share a bed and run the risk of making us both grumpy while we’re there.

Flight: Air Canada, despite all the bad reviews, I’ve only had good experiences flying with them.  But, I’m weird because I love flying in general.  Even the long waits at gates in uncomfortable seats (though, I’m thinking about splurging on the lounge this time, whadya think?  Worth it?)

The List of Stuff to Do:

I’m considering:

  • The Guggenheim – mostly just for the architecture of the building as I’m a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright

Those are just the specific ones, but I’m also probably going to suggest we have a spa day (towards the end so we can relax from all that sight seeing) and I know my sister wants to do a bunch of shopping.  She also wants to eat out at least once in a nice restaurant and I want to eat a pretzel from a stand.  I’m also probably going to indulge in a corn dog because my husband won’t be with me to veto the meal idea.

I think we’ll also be getting together with one of my step-mother’s friends who lives in New York.  It’ll be kind of fun to spend some time with a local!

If you are planning some travel this year, or any year, here are some things that might interest you and help with the planning process . . .

  • Tripadvisor – Gives you hotel and sightseeing reviews.  Plus, people upload real photos of hotels and such so you get a better sense of what they look like.  They also recommend the hotels for different things.  Pus, they have forums that you can check out for specific questions and recommendations.  It also checks rates and things, but we just used Expedia to book the flight and hotel.
  • GoPlanIt – Need ideas on what to do?  Just enter your dates and the city and this site will populate an itinerary for you.  I like it since I can move events around on days and then check the map to make sure I’m planning things in the same general city area and not making us walk/cab all over wasting time.
  • Travel Guides – They can be expensive but worth it for the tips and recommendations.  I particularly like Fodor’s but there are lots of others to choose from.  If you are on a budget you can sometimes get them from your local library too.
  • Tips on packing light – We went to Japan and managed just fine with a carry on bag each.  (Of course, the purchase of sake and numerous souvenirs required we buy a small suitcase to check, but until our last couple of days there, we were travelling ultra-light and it was great!)
  • Great luggage – I’m planning on getting another piece of Red Oxx luggage for New York – some type of back pack.  I was so impressed by the Air Boss bags that we bought for Japan that I’d easily recommend their products because they are so well made.

Have you been to New York before?  Any suggestions on some things to see and do while we are there?  Want to weigh in on which back pack option looks best?  Please let me know in the comments!

Next in this series, I’ll tell you about my language goal for the year.

Life List Categories

Very early on in my life list revision process, I realized that the categories I had chosen before were mostly boring.  I had the very awesome “Zombie Survival Skills” list, which I love.  But everything else lacked zip and panache!  I mean, my opener category was “Work Skills.”  Who wants to end their time on earth having “Work Skills” at the top of their life list of achievements?  I sure don’t. 

Coming up with new categories was almost as difficult as revising the list was in general, but I finally had a moment of revelation today while at work (ironic, I know) and the last one clicked into place.  I thought that posting about each item on the list would be a bit lengthy, but posting about the categories might give you some insight into the list while remaining brief (I hope).  So, here they are in alphabetical order (because that’s as arbitrary as anything else would be).  The list itself should be posted in another few days.

  1. Adventuring Wench

  I wanted something that would sum up my general desires for travel along with a few of some of the off-beat experiences I’d like to try out.  As I searched through the internet looking for inspiration, I came across a women’s travel site called The Adventurous Wench and though the description and spirit hit dead on.  L does occasionally call me a wench as a kind of inside joke.  Plus, one of our favourite anime series is about a group of adventuring pirates.  It seemed to embody more than just a desire to travel to other places, but also to get the most out of the journey on the way. 


2.    Awesome Evil Genius

  I think that The Brain was probably the first mad scientist that swept my imagination away.  From the villains of James Bond to Dr. Horrible and his sing along blog, there is something irresistibly fun about a brilliant person, who inevitably plots to take over the world.  I first used the term Awesome Evil Genius to describe myself recently when things went just as I had been (silently) planning.  It’s a trait that I’ve had since I was a kid in elementary school, I just let my innocent demeanor cover it up 😉

3.    Pinups & Pearls

There are a lot of things on my list that really strike me as womanly things.  There are some that are housekeeping items and others that celebrate the more sensual side of being a woman.  The images that kept being conjured for me were the vintage pinup photos like this one, where the proper 50’s housewife is caught off guard by something which reveals her sexy parts underneath.




4. Zombie Survival Skills

The zombie survival skill list was the one that occurred to me first.  There are some items on my list that are fairly disparate, but seem to have a survival theme to them.  When I was looking at the list and discussing some of them with my husband, the geek side of me thought ‘these would all come in handy when zombie’s attack’ and I was so entertained by the idea that I decided to run with it.  Hey, I’d rather be safe than sorry!

Revamping my Life List

Some of you may have wondered over to the page that contains my Life List.  If you haven’t yet,  you might want to go over there now and take a quick look at the list.  Currently there are 107 items divided into the categories: Work Skills, General, Travel, One Time Experiences, and Zombie Survival Skills.

As the list stands today, only two items have been crossed off.  Clearly, there’s something I’m not doing right.  It’s been bothering me for a while actually.  Part of that is because I do many process tasks that are difficult to mark complete.  Part of it is also because the list of outdated and needs to be refreshed so that it matches my current values and goals.  So, since I have a bit of time in this lull between completing last year’s goals and starting next year’s goals, I’m going to try to tackle an update.  I may post more details on what that will entail or I might not.  But, I’ll definitely post an update when I’ve got the new list online!