Sunday, July 10, 2011


I want to point you to the Advanced Riskology blog which helped influenced me to quit my job at a big hospital and strike out on my own. I've been thinking about this blog recently, specifically the 1% list on the blog. The 1% list is a list of goals that the blog's author, Tyler, wants to complete.

He calls it a 1% list because he says less than 1% of the world's population will complete the goals. On it are things like mountain climbing, running a marathon on every continent, and selling a business for $1,000,000. These are big, lofty, exciting goals.

My goals are more humble, but perhaps not easier to accomplish. They have to do with creating a life that feels sane, meaningful, and fun. I am more concerned with the day-to-day fabric of my life than with accomplishing something big.

Why goals? I have traditionally had a little resistance to goals. As a Myers Briggs (free test!) perceiving type, I have a disinclination to having regular, scheduled time commitments necessary to accomplishing goals.

When I think about signing up for guitar lessons, for example, I think, "yeah but what if there is something I would rather do on Thursday at 3 pm?"

Having a free schedule feels relaxing to me, but I have learned over time, doesn't make me happy. I end up with too much time on my hands, and tend not to enjoy the unstructured time as much as I thought I would.

In his book Happier, Harvard professor Tal Ben-Shahar writes that having a goal allows us to relax. It is, he writes, like having a destination on a journey. If you know where you are going, it is easier to enjoy the sights along the way. Without a destination, humans tend to worry about where they are going.

So, I am embracing goals. Writing down goals, whatever their size, makes it more likely you will accomplish them. So does sharing them with others. With that in mind, I would like to take stock of goals I have accomplished and those I have not in the six months since I quit my hospital job.

Goals I have accomplished:
  • started this blog
  • began work at Affiliated Psychologists, a group practice of therapists in Cupertino, CA
  • started a private practice in Oakland, CA
  • got hired to teach two classes to psych students at Argosy University in the fall
  • exercised regularly 3x per week at least - gym, yoga, running, boxing 
Goals I have yet to accomplish (with deadlines which increase likelihood of completion:
  • start guitar lessons (August 1, 2011)
  • Visit local meditation groups and choose one to go to 1x/week. (September 1, 2011)
  • create a website for my private practice (August 1, 2011)
Goal I want to add:
  • Go on ten new hikes in the Bay Area (October 1, 2011)
So, it looks like I have been on track professionally, but I could boost my hobby/personal development activity.

What goals, humble or grand, do you have? Remember, sharing makes it more likely you will accomplish them, so by all means, share.


  1. Timely post, considering I completed the swim portion of a relay triathlon this morning for the first time. For years I've had a vague goal of someday doing a triathlon, but the past decade has largely been spent creating and nurturing three human lives. I am just now feeling like there is room in my life to have personal goals again without it being too much of a burden on my family.
    Although I only did the swim portion this morning, I'll be doing the whole sprint triathlon on my own in August.
    Being a classic underachiever who is accustomed to excelling with minimal effort (thank you, Miami-Dade Public Schools!), this is a scenario where I have to actually work to create a decent fitness level. I am both terrified and looking forward to the challenge, sometimes more one than the other.
    Angela Ferraro-Fanning of 13thirty-one design is a wonderful web designer if you don't already have one. My law firm site is to get an idea of what she created for me.

  2. Hi Annie! Thank you for commenting.

    Congratulations on your swim! In and of itself an accomplishment, and I take my hat off to you for setting the larger goal of completing a whole triathlon. Impressive, most impressive. (Little Star Wars reference for you.)

    It must feel good to have raised your boys (all boys right?) to the point where you can do something just for you. Again, congrats.

    I hear you about Miami-Dade Public Schools. For me the implicit deal was show up, don't cause trouble and you'll get a B without doing too much. Didn't exactly prepare us for a. college b. the real world.

    Thanks for the web design reference. I am going to start off simple with an eye towards getting something a little fancier down the road. I will keep her in mind. Your website looks excellent.

  3. Hey, the Miami-Dade public schools gave me great training in boredom tolerance that has served me well throughout my years!

  4. Nice job seeing the silver lining in an otherwise bleak situation.

  5. Good timing for me, too. I am reading "Body for Life for Women" by Pamela Peeke. She talks about goals in mind, mouth, muscle for women. Your entry fits in perfectly. I think you're right about sharing goals with others helps to cement them in some way. I also like that you said that humans need goals along the way, otherwise they may not enjoy the journey as much. I look forward to your next thoughts!

  6. Hi Anonymous,

    Thanks for your comment. Yeah, getting used to goals is a little hard for me. Just today, I was thinking, better sign up for guitar lessons cause I wrote on my blog that I would.

    While we are on the subject, any goals you want to declare publicly?

  7. I think you've done a great job accomplishing several of the recent goals you have listed on your blog. That's quite a few, plus you have anticipated dates for accomplishing the others. I'm impressed Noah, and I'd teach you how to play the guitar if you were not my therapist!

  8. Thank you for the compliment about completing my goals and the nice sentiment about teaching me guitar.

  9. I'm going to talk about a goal that I've wanted to accomplish for several years. It's only one goal, but none the less it's meaningful. I play guitar,piano/keyboards and I sing as well as writing music. I've already written several songs,and 2 of them I have had copyrighted. My goal is to write more songs and put out a CD with all my own music. Some people tell me it's too late, but look at Susan Boyle.

  10. That is a great goal, Anonymous! Thank you for sharing it. A suggestion if I may: To make it more manageable break this big goal down into smaller goals, such as writing one song per month, or whatever time increment feels right to you.