The removal of stuff & the addition of goals

Stuff, goals, and decison-making skills.-or- Allissa pulls her shit together and makes decisions like an adult

There is a certain amount of clarity that comes with having very little. Minimalists know this. I don’t claim to be a minimalist (yet), but I’m getting better and better at reducing both the literal and figurative ‘stuff’ in my life.

I moved 6 times in the first 6 years after I left my husband. I took almost nothing with me when I left, and with each move I let go of more ‘stuff’. I let go of yearbooks, tshirts, holiday decorations, a wedding dress, 3 kick-ass vintage prom gowns. And so much more.

But I didn’t just dump property. I walked away from friendships that had run their course and family relationships that caused me pain at every interaction. 

I broke up with an organization I loved. I stood up to people who used that love to manipulate me into working too hard. I did the math and discovered that traveling and teaching actually cost and lost me money, even just driving 45 minutes. So I ended (most) teaching gigs. 

I cleared my plate. And it’s been wonderful. 

But here’s the best part: removing all the clutter helped me figure out what I do want on my plate. I figured this out almost by default recently. 

I’ve been making big decisions lately, about my businesses and financial life. I’ve spun up some big ideas and watched them get destroyed by reality (read: budgets). And my reaction to the losses, and to some successes, too, guided me to what my real goals are. 

1. Create a collaborative wellness center where independent practitioners can serve the community and thrive.

2. Build an online empire that helps massage practitioners attract more clients, make more money and improve their lives.

3. Pay off all my debt by December 2016. Every. Last. Penny.

Now I’m in this new and exciting adventure where I make a decisions based on my goals. And it’s great. Who knew? (You probably did. I’m just a little slow.)

Sure! It would be awesome to take a long weekend and zip over to Pittsburgh during the convention and see my AMTA friends! I considered it. But being away from my practice for 4 days instead of seeing clients and spending 20 hours in a car instead of writing is directly opposed to all 3 goals. So I’m not doing it. 

Yes! I would love to spend all night on the computer looking at fabulous women’s suits to pick out what I’m going to  wear to officiate at a wedding soon. But that doesn’t contribute to accomplishing any of the goals. 

(Lest you think I’m all about that dollah bill, know that I’ve got some good personal stuff going on, too. I got busted up pretty good by a long-time friend this spring, and dumped on my ass hard by a boyfriend shortly after. The first situation helped me identify the really wonderful friends in my life. And they’ve all carried me through the second. I’m a lucky, lucky girl. But I’m not ready to be making new personal life goals yet. K?)

And here’s the thing. This shouldn’t be an epiphany, right? We all know we should identify goals and strive to achieve them. No big whoop. And yet, when I made my first ‘based on my goals’ decision last week it was like  fireworks when off behind my head celebrating my brilliance. 

Now that I’m all knee-deep in my own adulting, I kinda want to know: What are the goals and guideposts that help you make decisions? 

And have you ever been epically wrong about a goal? Achieved it then realized you didn’t want it after all? I’m so curious. This is a whole new world for me. 

Tell me your stories!

12 thoughts on “The removal of stuff & the addition of goals

  1. Goal: get two specific books published by specific dates in July. It meant they weren’t perfect — but then when is a book ever perfect? — but getting them out there instead of having them *almost* done was a weight lifted off my chest.

    Goal: save $500/month for an African vacation. HAH! Yeah, didn’t work at all.

    Goal: Get a solid Yelp profile going. Hasn’t done squat for me and I wish there was a practical way to get rid of the silly thing.

    There are probably other goals I’ve set, met, and regretted but I’m pretty good at letting go of those and forgetting them. :)

    The trick is to keep the list of goals short (and manageable) and make them realistic. You’re doing a great job.

  2. I am proud of you, youre taking the first steps! My personal goals have changed significantly over the course of the past five years. I opened a collaborative wellness center in 2011 and have since closed. The practice was great for getting a couple of our names out there, unfortunately the majority treated the clinic as a rental situation and weren’t willing to put in the leg work that is required to build their own business. I mentored one therapist upon closing and he has since opened a fantastic clinic here in town. I have changed directions, moving my focus from my career to family. I have a child with special needs and my own health issues to address, including a recent fibro dx. I knew that one was coming, it was just a matter of time. My new goal is to pay off all of my debt by December 2015. Goal number 2…. Buy my first house. I am working hard at improving my credit score. I am also working hard to be a better Mom. I haven’t been awful, but I am ambitious and tend to spread myself thin. I’m getting better at all of it. I’m also working toward making some friends. I have lost all but a few and they’re all men. It would be so nice to have a girlfriend to talk about girl stuff!

    • 1. I really love comments that start with “I’m proud of you.”
      2. We may have to talk sometime about your wellness center.
      3. Parents blow me away. Really. You’re amazing. And I hope get the flexibility/time to be the parent you want to be.

  3. I like this idea about goals, professional and personal! I have had a rough couple years myself! Husband left, I relocated back home to NH from IL, trying to raise my little girl and opening my own studio has been challenging to say the least. I am fortunate that I have family and friends that have provided great support for us, and MT has provided the flexibility to be my own boss and be there for my daughter. My goals are pretty simple, grow a successful business that will help support my family long term on my own. Somewhere in there will hopefully be time for a social life and maybe a relationship. But I have always lived by ‘EHFAR” everything happens for a reason. I know I am on the right path, I know I have to work hard to get where I want to be. I am not naïve, I know that there are setbacks, adjustments, disappointments to be had yet. But I take it in stride, and keep pushing forward.
    Thanks Allissa for the inspiring post and providing such a great resource…

  4. I needed to read this for motivational purposes. 2015 has been slightly nutso, kinda like your year, which makes me edgy with any form of goal setting and or decision making. Freak foot injury, out of the blue loss of a massage contract, and some other nasty respiratory illness pretty much had me out of commission for two months. I was trying my best to hobble around, pay bills and breathe, while at the same time coming face to face with ‘what the heck am I doing with my life?’

    I now have bits of pretty pictures and powerful words scattered across my apartment floor creating a vision board, the stuff I truly want in life, and then going for it. Scary as all, but the fear tells me it’s exactly what I need to be doing. I’m done playing small.

  5. I feel like the title of this blog entry applies to my life right now.
    I’ve been unsure about what to do with my life. I’ve been at a standstill. I’ve been mainly working at a hospice for 8 years. I don’t use a table and rarely do a full body massage requiring draping, so I’m not confident getting back to working on ‘healthy’ bodies like I want to.

    Now my life is forcing me to change. In brief, I’m living with my mom after separating from my husband. My mom is a hoarder so I could only take what fits into one small bedroom. My mom is now terminally ill so I am on unpaid leave to care for her. I’m hurrying to clean up her home in case I have to rent out the basement or sell it when she passes. I’m not sure where I will live, so I need to get rid of even more things if I have to stay on a friend’s couch for a while.
    This is all hard, but the getting rid of the stuff part is healing. The more stuff I get rid of, the more I get excited for my future. I feel the chaos leaving. I’m excited to have goals again. My number one goal is to have a simple life.
    Great post. Thank you!

    • Holy wow. That’s a lot to be dealing with.
      I LOVE that you’re excited for your future. The chaos really will go away.

      I’m thinking that full body massage and draping skills are like riding a bike. With a little practice I bet it will come right back. xoxoxox

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