Apparently there are tools for making your life better wherever you go. Or maybe it’s a case of “decide to be a student and the teacher will appear.”
I was in Lululemon last night, at its most simple: an athletic store. For the holidays, SP bought me some of their goods, awesome workout pants and a surprisingly flattering and supportive top. I went back so that I could look for a gift for my sister’s birthday – which was this week.
Hanging, clipped, on pant hanger were these legal-sized glossy pages. On the top it says, “Goal Setting.” Then it gives you a step-by-step process by which to determine your goals and put them into words.
Lululemon is more than just a store: it’s a retail experience, retail with a purpose and personality. Yes, their clothes are expensive. They are symbols of status at the gym; perhaps a sign someone is really committed to their fitness routine because they thought it worthwhile to buy 100 dollar pants.
And when the craze really took hold about six months ago, you could apparently sell your Lululemon bag, the one they put your clothes into at the register, on eBay. Admittedly, it’s a great bag, it has cloth handles and is made of some kind of plastic/cloth hybrid so it could be used as a bag for lunch if you were transporting it to the office. On one side of the bag, there is a grid of text, directives for living a great life: “The conscious brain can hold only one thought at a time. Choose a positive thought.” “Friends are more important than money.” “The pursuit of happiness is the source of all unhappiness.”
As far as bags they give you at the register go, they are great. But the fact that there’s a market for it is a little nutty.
All the same positive directives appear on the back of the sheet I took from the hanger. The paper also provides prompts for goal setting and even a website to offer more inspiration and guidance. It’s an interesting thing to find at a clothing store. But not entirely surprising at Lululemon.
So, first, it says, define goals – what is important to you in the following areas? Career? Health? Personal?
Then it tells you to say hi to your future self: Create who you are going to be. Ask yourself the following questions:
-What does my ideal life look and feel like?
– What is the quality of my relationships?
– What am I doing to challenge myself athletically and mentally?
Then it offers directions for writing powerful goals – which I will not transcribe here. Basically they say goals should be specific, written in the affirmative – what you want to do, not what you don’t want to do – in the present tense, and should be measurable, like something you can cross off a to-do list. They say you should have a deadline.
These directions were familiar to me. They are by and large the same exercises directions I received from my coach. It wouldn’t hurt to do them again, since the last time I did them was a few months ago and under duress – an assignment. And even though they seem simple, when I sat down, sometimes it was harder to visualize exactly what I wanted and how I saw myself getting there. My goals for this month are dedicated to writing. I am writing my writing resolutions. And part of that is finding a way to integrate writing into my routine seamlessly. I’ve already written one novel and two-plus drafts of another so I am not sure why it feels like I don’t have a routine, but I don’t.
It occurred to me on the way to and leaving Lulu: I have a dedicated rigorous fitness regimen. I realized as I walking home from work, it’s a long walk, a great time for thinking, that all I really need to do is develop a writing routine that’s as rewarding, and as manageable. I work out six days a week, for at least an hour. I don’t think I can support the same writing workout, at least not in the same format, everyday for an hour. But maybe I can.
I know Courtney wrote her first books, the ones she wrote while she was working, by writing on the weekends. I find I do my best work on the weekends. I have tried to devote the nighttime hours to writing. And those hours did play a role in the writing of my first novel. But now that I live with someone, I get easily distracted. And, I have a harder time sitting down to write after sitting at a computer all day, writing work stuff, even after I moved my workout to the morning so that I would have more time at night. Excuses, yes. But if these facts of life feel like they complicate my efforts to write there’s every reason to find a way to integrate regular writing into my routine in a way that’s effortless, or at least less frustrating. Are there alternatives to make developing a writing routine easier? And am I right to look for the most manageable way to write on a regular basis? That’s the only way it’s going to get done – if I can make it something livable.
Today should be a good writing day. I told myself I was going to get up and write a blog post. Almost done. I am going to head to the gym at 11 for a kickboxing class. When I come back, I’ll work on the novel. I still want to finish the first part of the novel by February 5. Even though next weekend will probably be void of writing – I have a weekend-long meeting in Pittsburgh for the organization for which I volunteer – I still think it’s achievable. Tomorrow we might try to go to IKEA to look for some storage solutions.* But then I can write again after that. If I am planning to write for long clips, perhaps I should set a timer or build other things into the day so I can take a break after each hour of writing. Short breaks, like, getting a snack. I’ll try this out and see how it works. I think my goal, in addition to getting the writing done, is to figure out when I like to work and when I can be most productive. It helps that I have devoted this month to writing resolutions. And not worrying about the next aspect of life until next month. I reminded myself of this last night as I was leaving work. I felt like I hadn’t done anything toward my goals and I started to get overwhelmed. What about the apartment? My relationship? My happiness and contentment? Spirituality? Career? I haven’t tackled these things yet! Then I exhaled. And walked home.
*I was thinking for a second this morning that I should devote this month to getting a new desk instead of a new bureau/dresser. I would live to fit everything I do this month nearly under the heading of “writing” but the dresser is more annoying that the desk area right now. They are both annoying. Maybe it’ll still be possible to get a desk sometime this month, too. We’ll see.