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An Important Message For Goal-Setters

Posted on | May 30, 2011 | 16 Comments

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To do list Carissa GoodNCrazy 225x300 An Important Message For Goal SettersHave you bought into the common wisdom that your goals have to be clearly delineated?  Do you think you have to be super clear about where you’re going with your future?  Do you think you have to have a plan?

About 25 years ago, I spent three days creating what I thought was one of the best goal lists ever written.  It was ten pages long, and it detailed every goal I had for the coming years.  I had it all broken down into daily goals, weekly goals, and monthly goals.  I had goals for the coming year, the coming five years, and then for every ten year chunk after that.

Proud as all get out about my accomplishment, I carried my masterpiece to my therapist at the time, Debby.  I handed it to her like a dog presenting a prize bone to her master.  I asked her, “What do you think?” And I sat back waiting for her to give me a nice pat on the head (figuratively, of course).

She flipped through the ten pages and after several moments said, HERE “Do you want me to tell you what I think you should do with this?”

“Yes, please!”  I was sure she had some laudatory wisdom to share.

She dropped the list in the waste basket.

Goals Schmoals

It took me a very long time before I understood why Debby did what she did.  A VERY long time … as in 25 years.

It’s only recently that I’ve come to understand that all the people who teach you to map out your goals are … I’ll put this kindly … misguided.

Or rather, it might work for some people, but it doesn’t work for everyone—as some life coaches and self help teachers want you to believe.

There’s actually a better—or at least much more fun—way to live a fulfilling, successful life.

I’ve recently completely and utterly given up goals.  Not just big, long-term goals, but short term goals too.

I have no more daily lists of things to do.  I have no more spreadsheets.  No more stickies.

I have stopped planning out my life.

What?  No Plans??????

Now, does the fact that I’ve stopped planning and setting goals mean I never make an appointment to meet with someone or be someplace?

Of course not.

I still do specific things at specific times, but when I follow through with them, it’s because it’s my highest excitement to do so. And I do it in a way that’s my highest excitement as well.

And does not planning mean I have no vision of my future?

No way.  I still do mental scripts of things I desire.  I still write descriptions of things I’d like to experience.  But these are just ways for me to focus my thought, and I only do them when I feel like it.

Not planning means that instead of having my days all laid out and governed by to do lists, I just let my days unfold.

I have one “goal” for each day.  But I don’t think of it as a goal.  I think of it as an intention.

That intention is to follow my “highest excitement.”

Your Highest Excitement

“Highest excitement” is a Bashar term.

[Note: If you’ve never heard of Bashar and you’re more of a mainstream thinker, never mind about him and who he is.  Just listen to what I’ve learned about highest excitement.  If you accept channeling and out-of-the-box concepts like extraterrestrials, feel free to listen to Bashar himself.  I’ve put a video of him explaining the concept at the bottom of this post]

“Highest excitement” is basically the same thing as “follow your bliss.”  It’s what Abraham calls “the path of least resistance.”  You can also think of it as your intuition or your biggest whim.  My personal favorite way to think of it is as what I call BTIPing.

BTIP is my acronym for Best Toy In Pile. I thought of it when I watched Ducky rooting around in her huge basket of toys.  That’s what your highest excitement is:  picking the best toy in the pile in any given moment.

The pile is the totality of options you have before you, what you’re capable of doing in this moment.  The best toy is the action (or nonaction) that lights you up the most, the one you’re drawn to.

BTIPing is sort of like “tripping” but without the drugs.  (For the record, I’ve never been tripping except for one time when I got morphine in the ER ).

So I’ve been BTIPing, following my highest excitement, and I have to tell you, I’m happier than I’ve ever been, AND I’m doing a lot of great stuff.

When You BTIP, You Won’t Stop Doing

When I told one friend about my new way of being, she said, “Doesn’t doing away with discipline make you lazy?”

No way.

You’ll notice that I’m still creating a couple blog posts a week.  I’m still exercising.  I still brush my teeth.  I still meditate.

In fact, in the last several weeks since I started BTIPing, I’ve written and edited a novel.  I’ve done writing coaching for a new client.  I’ve created synopses of other novels.  I’ve worked on a logo for The Joyful Springer and started setting up a Zazzle shop for it.  I’ve done all sorts of things around the house.  I’ve taken care of Ducky.  Not to bore you with the details of my life … you get the idea.

But Don’t You Forget Things?

It may seem counter-intuitive to the way you were raised, but when you give up your reminders, you tend to remember more. I used to rely on stickies to be sure I uploaded videos at the right time or got what I went to the store to get.

But since I’ve begun following my highest excitement, I recall just what I need to recall just when I need to recall it.  It becomes my highest excitement to get lettuce and broccoli and tomato soup, so I get them.

It’s working for Tim too.  When I told him about BTIPing, he got into it immediately.  Tim has had lots of trouble with forgetfulness, but now he just seems to know when he it’s time to do something.  He doesn’t try to remember it; he just does remember it because it becomes his highest excitement.

Want an example of how this can work out on a grander scale?

Check out Rick Genest.

“You Gotta Do What You Love”

You may not have heard of Rick Genest.  I hadn’t until a friend sent me a link to an article about him.

Ten years ago, Rick decided to get his whole body tattooed so he’d look like a cadaver.  Yup.  That was what he wanted to do.

Now, did he do this because he had a goal of being noticed?  Did he want to be a model or an actor or a circus performer?

Nope.  He just thought it sounded like a cool thing to do.  As he says, “You gotta do what you love or else you’ll be doing something you hate.”

Most people he told about his idea thought he was nuts.  He didn’t care.

He didn’t care about the future either.  He was just following his highest excitement.

And now?

Well, his unique, if not universally appealing, tattoos have gotten him jobs with fashion designer Thierry Mugler and pop star Lady Gaga.  And it’s landed him a part in an upcoming Keanu Reeves film.

He didn’t go after these gigs.  They found him.

He expended no EFFORT.  He had no AGENDA.  He didn’t TRY.  He used no DISCIPLINE.

That’s the beauty of BTIPing or following your highest excitement.  You take the struggle out of life.  You create a life of flow.

Keep It Simple

If you’re BTIPing properly, life gets easy.  You never have to “figure out” what to do.  It’s not about finding your highest calling or purpose either.

To follow your highest excitement, all you do is

1.  Be aware of all the options you currently have available to you.

2.  Choose the one that appeals to you the most (the one that excites you or draws you the most.)

I used to think that as long as I didn’t have complete financial freedom to do whatever I wanted, I couldn’t follow my bliss.  But this simple way of doing it doesn’t require total freedom.

For example, at the moment, Tim’s choices are often limited to what he can do within the confines of his two jobs.  Does that mean he can’t follow his highest excitement?  No.

What he does when he’s at work is choose to do and focus on what appeals to him the most within the array of choices he has available to him in his work.  He says that since he’s started doing that, his work has gone much more smoothly and has been a lot more fun.

If you have things you need to do, do them.  Just do them in a way that is your highest excitement.

Why does this work?

I’m going to save the answer to that question for next week.  For now, if it feels good to you, I suggest you just try a little BTIPing and see how you feel.

The idea that you have to map out your route to get where you want to go is an old idea.  It may work for car travel, but it’s not necessary for living a happy and successful life.

In fact, I think too much goal setting is one of the biggest causes of splats because we end up trying to manhandle our lives, and we often manhandle them into splats.

What do you think? Do you have experience with following your bliss or your intuition?  Do you think you have to have discipline to get what you want?  Or do you think if you let go of the reins, you’ll be led to your best choices?

Here’s Bashar on “highest excitment:


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16 Responses to “An Important Message For Goal-Setters”

  1. Anna Barlowe

    May 30th, 2011 @ 9:03 pm

    Great post! I generally do try to follow this method of doing things, and it does work pretty well. My dilemma lately, though, is having to do work I don’t enjoy just because it pays the bills.

    And this gets in the way of the stuff I AM excited about, which I could make faster progress on if I didn’t have to do the other stuff. But if I do the exciting work first, then sometimes the less exciting work doesn’t get done. So what’s a girl to do?
    Anna Barlowe recently posted..Estate of PanicMy ComLuv Profile

  2. Debbie Hampton
    May 31st, 2011 @ 9:13 am

    I luv it. What a great post! Of course, because I totally agree with it.

    I did away with setting goals and making plans a year or so ago. It has been a gradual process and one which I resisted because society tells us so much that we need to do otherwise. I see specific goals and plans as limiting and a waste of time.

    Now, I do have general ones. It has been very effective for me to know the general direction in which I am headed, make progress, while being adaptable and flexible and open to whatever arises along the way.

    I have been very productive, but this strategy allows me to make changes, rest, or have fun if that is what I need so that I am more productive when I do work on something specific.

    Now, I do have to use a grocery list or I will come home without what I went for.
    Debbie Hampton recently posted..Blessings in DisguiseMy ComLuv Profile

  3. Ande

    May 31st, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

    Thanks, Anna! I hear what you’re saying about doing things you don’t enjoy–things that wouldn’t be your highest excitement when compared to other things you like much better. But what Tim is finding with his job is that he can choose, within the context of the job he needs to do, the things that call to him the most, and when he does, it seems like everything eventually, naturally gets done. I’ve had the same experience with things I wouldn’t necessarily do if I had all the choices I want. I think the key is trusting the process–believing that whatever we are led to do is what must be done and whatever we don’t get to isn’t absolutely necessary.

  4. Ande

    May 31st, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

    Thanks for sharing your experience with letting things flow, Debbie! I resisted it for a long time too (try 50 years! ;) . But it is so freeing to just trust that I know what I need to do. Funny about the grocery list–I still make them for Tim, who likes to do the shopping, but I’ve found I don’t need them anymore. If I “forget” something, it often ends up being something I didn’t need after all. :)

  5. Karen Williams

    May 31st, 2011 @ 7:44 pm

    Great post and comments.

    I’ve gradually eased up on the list-making and goal-setting. I still make lists, but I use them as a guidelines rather than something that must be followed precisely. Every so often, I make a list of goals and then kind of forget about them after tucking the paper away somewhere. Sometimes it feels good to ponder and jot down such things, but they’re not my be-all-and-end-all.

    Little by little, I’m transferring any perfectionism and precision over to managing my vibration rather than managing the endless details of life. Now THAT really pays off. :)

  6. Ande

    May 31st, 2011 @ 8:02 pm

    It’s a lifetime, habit, isn’t it, Karen? ;) I love the way you say this: “transferring any perfectionism and precision over to managing my vibration.” That’s it exactly–if we use all that discipline we used to use on doing, doing, doing, and put it toward thought focus, we get so much more done!

  7. Why Following Highest Excitement Gets Your Desires | Up From Splat
    June 7th, 2011 @ 10:45 am

    [...] promised you last week that I’d reveal this week why following what Bashar calls your “highest excitement” is the way to a life of extraordinary joy and productivity.  So here you [...]

  8. You're Not As Authentic As You Think You Are | Up From Splat
    June 21st, 2011 @ 10:45 am

    [...] long after that, I was thinking about writing a post about parallel realities and Bashar, who I mentioned when I wrote about following your highest excitement, and I caught myself thinking the same thing my friend did—I don’t want my readers (people who [...]

  9. Francesco
    July 30th, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

    lol reading this post was my higheat excitement, I did that and it worked

  10. Mike Thomas
    March 12th, 2013 @ 10:33 am

    Thanks, I’m already up to speed on what Bashar has said about this, but I needed a reminder. It’s funny how when you think you understand something, yet really you don’t lol

    I thought, yeah, yeah, I know all about following your excitement, but I’ve not really been embracing it fully. Until now, after reading your post!

    Thanks :)

  11. Ande

    March 12th, 2013 @ 11:26 am

    I know what you mean, Mike. I’ve learned it’s quite one thing to know about highest excitement and quite another to do it. We’re not used to living our lives purely from highest excitement, I think. We do so much from habit or responsibility or obligation. Thanks for your comment!

  12. tm
    June 1st, 2013 @ 9:32 am

    Hi! Thank you so much for this!

    I stumbled upon this because I was questioning highest excitement vs personal responsibilities. For example, when I wake up in the morning my highest excitement might be to go to the beach, but I have to go to work – which I’m not all that excited about.

    How does this get resolved? When my highest excitement seems far removed from what it is that I’m supposed to be doing at any given time?

    Any ideas?

    Thank you in advance for any comments!

    Peace n Love!

  13. Ande

    June 1st, 2013 @ 11:46 am

    Hi tm … You ask a great question, one that I’ve asked often myself. What I’ve worked out from what Bashar says is that we evaluate our Highest Excitement (HE) by asking, “In any given moment, which of the options I have available to me right now feels best to me?” Even though going to work isn’t exciting, the idea of keeping the job might be more exciting than going to the beach because it pays the bills etc. I have an elderly mother who requires a lot of emotional support/time spent, and it is rarely what I call fun to spend time with her and I’d rather be doing lots of other things. But when I choose to be with her, I decide that it’s my HE because in that moment, it feels good to meet that responsibility so I can maintain the relationship with her, and maintaining the relationship feels better than having it end in an unpleasant way. My husband makes his job his HE in a way similar to what I described above, and then once there, he decides to make the job fun. In one Bashar video, he talks about how you can decide that any task is sacred and divine because the truth is ALL tasks are sacred and divine because they’re all part of All That Is. And if you decide that something is sacred and you’re going to enjoy it, the task will become your HE and will be a stepping stone to more and more HEs.

    I hope that helps! :)

  14. tm
    June 1st, 2013 @ 7:43 pm

    THANK YOU! :-)

  15. Ellen
    April 25th, 2014 @ 6:15 pm

    Great post! I have had huge success with this method. I started some random activities having nothing to do with anything I wanted to pursue, and through a sequence of coincidences it landed me into being a film director with no film experience, directing people and money with my creative vision becuase of a unique position I was in.

    However, past few months I sort of lost track of my ability to get into this grove and I need help finding it again. My film has slowed down a little bit, and my biggest passion, music, I have no idea how to follow my excitement on because I feel a little bit lazy. I feel like I can’t concentrate for hours at a time on something, and I don’t know how to get my music out of me, and making music is one of the most thrilling-sounding things to me, I have no idea why it’s not exciting me to do it even though the idea excites me – any thoughts? :\ I would really appreciate some input.

  16. Ande

    April 25th, 2014 @ 9:44 pm

    I love your story, Ellen. Thank you for sharing it! Regarding your “little bit lazy” feelings about music … here’s my take on that: I have had a similar experience with my writing. Writing is my main passion, but I have had months where I just didn’t want to put much into it. It definitely wasn’t my excitement. I used to worry over that and push against it, but I have learned to go with the flow and follow my excitement wherever it goes, even if it’s nowhere near my biggest passion. Bashar says that when we follow our highest excitement, whatever that is, it will lead us to the perfect synchronicities that will serve our greatest passions. It may not make sense to us that we seem to be taking a detour, but the detour will ultimately serve us. The analogy he gives is that if you’re in the jungle, and you think you should walk straight ahead to get to your destination because that’s the most direct route, but your guidance is telling you to go backwards and to the left, that may seem crazy to you, but what you don’t know is that there’s quicksand and a man-eating tiger straight ahead. So perhaps what you feel drawn to do, whatever that is, will ultimately serve your music passion in ways you can’t possibly figure out at this point.

    In the last few months, my highest excitement, oddly for me, has been music, drawing, and knitting. These have all been hobbies in the past, but I’ve had more energy for them lately than I have for writing. I am trusting that, and I believe that it’s going to serve my writing at some point. I do feel a passion for my writing bubbling back up.

    I think that this sort of thing might be similar to a crop field lying fallow for a year or two to return minerals to the soil.

    The fact that you’ve experienced what can happen when you follow highest excitement will help you trust what’s going on now. :)

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    I'm Ande Waggener, and I'm on a journey from Splat to Spectacular. I invite you to come along with me.


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