Category Archives: My Life Goals

Want to make this your best year? Here’s how I do it.

Originally posted in December, 2006.

It’s New Years. Time for resolutions? Or time for something different? What if this year you made ASPIRATIONS instead of RESOLUTIONS? What if you focused on things you want to DO and experience rather than a narrow set of problems?

For the last seven years, I’ve done just that.

I start each year with a big hairy question: “How can I make this the best year of my life?” Making each year better than the last is a tall order, but I’d say four of the past seven years have been my best. The first year I did this simply blew me away, it was so great!

My self-challenge usually includes resolution-y  things related to finance and weight. But the idea here though is to work on those goals as part of an overall yearly plan with related goals.

Step 1:  Review your life list to see what you want in life.

Come time to plan the year, it’s easy to rearrange and re-prioritize based on the year.

My list has such random things as:

  • Go surfing in Bali (DONE!)
  • Teach my niece to make cookies (DONE!)
  • Buy a rental property (DONE!)
  • Lose 20 pounds (ok, needs work)

Is your life list complete? If not, get inspiration as you go through your day, seeing what headlines, ads, observations or social media posts grab you.

Step 2: Start planning the year (It’s not as boring as it sounds.)

Some practical and fuzzy tips:

ducks in Bali

  • Generally, what are you in the mood to do based on your current life situation? Are you in a “mid life crisis” or ready to settle down? Are you feeling wanderlust? Fit this general feeling into your “2007 Theme” to guide you.
  • What will become impossible if you don’t do it now? For example one year I realized if I wanted to work on saving the rainforests now is the time, not in 10 years. And who knew that Mt. Etna would explode only a year after I spent a week on an agriturismo farm overlooking the great mount. Did you want to see James Brown in concert? It’s too late now. Think about what you want to do that you should not delay. (A Fodors list of 10 Places to See Before They’re Gone may be just the nudge you need.)
  • What will your goals take in terms of time, energy, and money? Don’t say no too quickly, such as if you want to take classes at night but feel you don’t have the time.

First think about what  you want to achieve and experience related to work, fun, community, spiritual, financial, relationships and health.

Now imagine your “resolution to lose 10 pounds” tied to a goal to run a marathon or go scuba diving. Or becoming a tango dance!

Come year end, you’ll have a lot more to look back on than a boring weight loss process.

Step 3: Take weekly or monthly reality checks

Yes time will fly and every day life administrivia may take over. Every once in a while I stop and ask myself two important questions:

    • “Is this my best year?”
    • “Am I feeling good about myself?”

I often do this at quiet moments such as in the shower, while stuck in a traffic jam, or waiting for someone at a restaurant.

If either answer is “no,” imagine how powerful it is to know it’s up to you to re-set your course toward making it your best year

Caveat: Resist thinking in terms of success or failure.

If you’re going to take the “best year” challenge, remember that things happen you can’t anticipate.

I won’t beat the proverbial dead horse and say that to remain happy you need to roll with life’s punches. Oops I guess I said it.

Well I’ve been there: at the end of one of my “best years” I got cancer. Of course this wasn’t on my life list. Even so I used my downtime to reconnect with friends, focus on spirituality, and learn about my body and health. Those are all things I’d been meaning to do.

Looking Ahead at Looking Back

Imagine it’s December 31, and you’ve realized the year hasn’t turn out how you planned. If you’ve reviewed your life list during the year, tried changing things to improve the year, and chronicled the year’s events on your SuperViva “things I’ve done” list, you’ll have a lot to look back on.

If you’re not happy with this year you can look forward to NEXT YEAR being your best and know that darn it, you tried!

How do you go about planning? Chime in here or on Facebook, and I’ll give you a free 15 minute coaching call to help you pursue your most audacious goal.

Get Organized to Write a Novel in National Novel Writing Month

Twas 2006 when I settled into my laptop to let the fingers fly on November 1st, determined to write my 50,000 word novel – quantity over quality – for NaNoWriMo in 30 days. After writing a number of pages, I suddenly realized I had no idea where the book was going. Then an aha moment struck. My mystery plot all came together. I put together characters, an outline, and while a lot of rambling filler came into play, I felt pretty good about it.

Like most NaNoWriMo “winners” who complete their self-competition to write the book, I haven’t gone back to edit it. This month I may cheat and write a non-fiction book. Here I share my research and personal experience of all the cool available tools to make your novel writing easier this year:

  1. Write by speaking, using SIRI on your iPhone or some other voice translation tool. What more fun could a book made out of non-sensical interpretations of a voice translation tool be?
  2. Use Google Docs to write your book from anywhere including from your phone so throughout the day instead of updating Facebook or texting you can add to your book.
  3. Use Evernote with a Moleskine Smart Notebookto write your book by hand. All at the risk of permanent hand damage; but I love this idea and have such a notebook. You write by hand then can snap a picture of the page. Evernote digitizes your text so it’s searchable.You can couple using your by hand writing with using Evernote to organize your outline and even write your book.
  4. Join a local NaNoWriMo writers forum for online and sometimes in-person community as you crank out thousands of words a night.
  5. Add a goal to write your novel in 2012 to your SuperViva life list.

Create your novel now!

National Novel Writing Month example writing schedule
Tough love, showing how much you need to write every day. For the non-working NaNoWriMo is a great opportunity to finally write that novel you’ve been wanting to!

I wrote this list on my Evernote Smart Notebook, snapped a photo, sent it to Evernote and now it’s digitized and searchable.



How Not to Paint a House Stairway

‘Twas before dawn when I rose, fired up the stove, and brewed a cup of coffee while pulling out the gloves, white primer paint, chopstick to stir the primer (because the paint store was out of stirring sticks, of all things), some newspaper, and a rag in preparation to paint the “risers” on a stairway — more commonly known by the non-handy girl I am as the “vertical panels” on the stairway.

My plan was to keep the bucket on each stair below the one I was painting along with my coffee cup. So simple.

Two stairs down I realized I could no longer get upstairs…since I didn’t have a back door key. No worries. Primer dries quickly. Yet had I done it over, I would have unlocked the back door.

Tip #1: Soon I wished I’d used masking tape or even had a guide (perhaps an old piece of cardboard) to stop the primer from slopping on the side walls. The cardboard method is so easy and saves a lot of wiping up.

Tip #2: Using a dark rag like an old t-shirt would have saved a lot of time. White paper towels with white primer makes it pretty hard to know when the towels are too dirty to wipe up slopped over paint. Yet, in my lazy way I still persisted.

Tip #3: Coffee drinkers should not attempt to paint before coffee. Or during coffee. Once I nearly dipped the brush in my coffee cup. Needless to say, my painted glove grasping the coffee cup added some nice “splashes” to the cup. Perhaps the tip is really: Don’t drink while painting.

If my slap dash approach to painting stairs or the photo gives you hives, here are the original photos that inspired me. Who knows, maybe mine will end up looking like these if I heed my own advice. Got advice (other than hire a painter)? 😉

Inspiration From Flash Mobs

Back in the ’90s before the Internet connected most of the world, the idea of people dancing synchronously around the world plied my imagination. This was back wen the concept of a life list had only just begun to gel in my mind–the idea that it was ridiculous to wait until you find out you’re dying to start living. Here’s my little manifesto of hope:

“What I’m referring to is doing things that other people will replicate and spread, much like a pyramid scheme only one of spirituality and hope. So what does that mean? Go to the top, the president or maybe even to Jay Leno, and get them to herald the cry to stop, look around, smell a flower, or dance to a song that every radio station in the world plays simultaneously.”

“That is, get the United Nations to all agree on a song at one time. Oh yes, maybe those non-UN countries might not follow but surely with the Internet broadcast and MTV, I’ll cover 98% of the known population. That’s it–a live broadcast of a brand with a drum beat that’s continued through thousands of drum troupes worldwide, all orchestrated through the Internet.”

“Well that will require some planning.” And that is where I left it until inspired souls around the world made the flash mob a wonderfully common thing.


And So Began La Tomatina!

Some people, like me, came to Spain just to throw tomatoes in La Tomatina. Others happened to be in Valencia or Barcelona and heard about La Tomatina. Whatever the case, we all had the tomato fight of a lifetime.

More to come later…but I am so happy to achieve my big adventure goal for the year! It gave me an excuse to visit Spain and explore interesting regions, go to another festival to celebrate the new grape harvest in a wine making town, meet new people, practice my Spanish, discover and eat great food…all things on my life list.

Here’s me just before the mayhem began. It was scary being in such a tight, huge crowd…wound up waiting for the tomatoes to arrive. But I decided to remain calm and found a nice spot with some breathing air. As soon as the tomatoes started flying it was wonderful mayhem of humanity.

YES I agree it is a disgusting waste of tomatoes but…I have no way to justify it except to say I am soooo glad i went!

To do before they die …

les paulJust read that Les Paul has passed away.

A few years ago I achieved my goal to see Les Paul play, along with meeting an interesting fellow from an old school punk band. I wasn’t that into Les Paul but it was a great experience anyway, sitting so close he could have kicked me in the face. Luckily he didn’t want to.

At the end of 2006 I wrote a blog post about planning your life list and goal priorities. The passing of yet another great musicians has reconfirmed what I believe and do: You need to do things that might not be possible in the future whether it relates to interacting with a person, place or thing that could go away.

For example I used to want to “save the rainforest” as they say. I realized that if I really did want to do that, it was important to start NOW, not in a few years when it would be too late.

I hope this inspires… now on to La Tomatina!

Go for the Fulfilling Goals Like a Beach of Glass

This weekend I achieved a very long time goal to visit Glass Beach. I’d known about this beach for years, but it was always off my beaten path.

One year I got pretty close to it but for some reason didn’t get quite to the town where the beach is, Fort Bragg.

Finally over 4th of July weekend I found a reason to visit Glass Beach, in conjunction with a few other outings. All in all, it felt like one of those epic quests. First when I got to the town I called a friend who directed me to the beach (which is not marked). I milled around, marveled, took photos, then drove 10 miles south to see some people.

They clued me in to the fact that I hadn’t seen the “good” part of the beach. So I drove back. It occurred to me that the most rewarding goals are often multi-part quests. And if you really want something you’re willing to go the extra mile, or in my case 20 miles. It was worth it………………The experience of discovering a beach composed of more glass than pebbles completely blew my mind….. I hope it blows yours and inspires you to go the extra mile for your big, small goals:

Drive a Porsche – Check!

Goals to drive particular cars seem small in the big picture, but boy can they be rewarding!

For some reason it took me nearly 3 years after listing Drive a Porsche on my life list to actually do it. (Porsches appear in various flavors on many lists!) Maybe a couple of times during those 3 years I actually thought of ways I could achieve this goal:

1) I looked into renting a sports car for the day. About $100-150 but with a 2-day minimum on the weekends it just wasn’t doable for a casual adventure.

2) See if I could test drive a Porsche. Once I filled out a form on a car dealer’s site and when I didn’t hear back, I forgot to follow up.

3) Actively find out who you know who has a Porsche. Or meet someone who does. I happened to meet someone who professed a weakness for German cars. While realizing that could have meant lots of things, I hoped it included Porsches.

And voila, not only did the avocation include Porsches but he owned one, offered to let me drive it, within a week made the goal come true and then some. On a beautiful day, driving 25 miles through rolling countryside, urging me to kick it. Well I couldn’t imagine any better first time Porsche driving experience.

Now I happen to meet a lot of people who don’t know how to drive stick shift. So if your goal is to drive a Porsche, you’ll want it to be stick. So get it in gear and get going! :)

Almost 100,000 Goals !

I’m so excited, only a few hundred life goals to be listed before SuperViva hits the 100,000 mark.

Sure that may sound like peanuts to some websites but it’s still very exciting to imagine the “net effect” that SuperViva may have had on many people whether on just 1 thing they may have thought about or re-discovered or perhaps many (as have I!)

I’ll have to cook up some special gift for that 100,000th idea that gets germinated. Will it be yours?!

On that note, here are some reminders about how easy it is to dream up interesting goals for summer and beyond.

I recently went to the oldest shoe store in the US. Going there wasn’t a childhood dream of course. But once I realized it was in a town I was passing through (Belfast, Maine) and I made the goal to visit Colburn Shoes, something much better happened during my pitstop in this adorable town:

I discovered a couple who runs tours to Greenland to photograph wildlife including polar bears. Their story and approach to these trips blew me away. One of my first life list goals ever was to photograph polar bears and I assumed that would be in the Churchill / Manitoba area, where the ice is notoriously melting year by year. Now instead I want to take an epic sea voyage from Maine to Greenland which will also have many cultural components.

(PS I have to remember the name of the place!)

So make sure to keep your life list updated with new ideas since you never know what may transpire!

April is National Poetry Month – A New Game

Last year in April I wrote some dumb poem

So this year I’ll try something new right from home

There’s a cool thing on Facebook

To black out newspapers

And write a short poem

That somehow rhymes with newspapers

Read more about newspaper blackout poems on Austin Kleon’s amazing blog I just discovered.  Become a fan of newspaper blackout poems on Facebook and post your poetry!

See some of people’s poems.