Is Consciously Deciding Goals Possible?

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slowtraveler
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Is Consciously Deciding Goals Possible?

Post by slowtraveler » Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:29 am

Is Consciously Deciding Goals Possible?

This is a very google-able question but google says to do things I've already tried.

Is attempting to consciously decide goals possible or does all change occur in the feedback-loops arising in our daily experience?

If you've have any success in actually deciding, please share how.

Some examples of feedback-loop driven progress in my life are:

*Getting assaulted at middle school-learned fighting and got way too muscular for a teenager. After I realized I was finally safe at around 17, I lost all motivation to workout or fight competitively. I haven't worked out consistently for a straight month since despite multiple efforts.

*Quitting cannabis: I tried quitting many times and failed. Longest was around 6 months when trying my damn hardest, Then I moved to Asia, I stopped instantly. What the hell. I'd tried getting rid of all cannabis, paying someone every day I got high, counseling, support groups, even cutting the window of when I could get high every day until I would binge on pot for 1 hour a day then stop, only moving overseas worked. I went to Europe for a short trip and was right back to the daily habit. Back to Asia. Nothing. Tiny urges once in a while. Not enough to visit the hippy town a few hours (and 1 Euro) away once in 9 months.

*FIRE: I hated working, hated college, and wanted an automated business to fund a lavish lifestyle. I randomly found the FIRE community web-surfing one day and it felt my life changed that day. This stupidly simple solution solved so many things and a huge puzzle clicked instantly for me. It inspired me to quit college, focus more on my boring but very good job and move abroad to live my dream of seeing the world with remote work. I cut my expenses down to the bare minimum for a few years as I saved to move abroad.

ERE is the only goal in the last 5 years where I have made consistent progress on a trailing twelve month basis.

Life aspires to minimize Adenosine-Triphosphate dephosphorylation and when a part of you realizes a goal won't change everything, it seems the natural laziness eventually drains all momentum from a goal.

My savings have shot up, I'm on the path to retire before I am 30. I never thought that was possible. I remember reading about 2-5% safe returns on financial instruments and laughing it off in my teens since I thought it was impossible for that to cover my expenses. 10 years later, I'm almost there.

In my gut, I feel the spark for creating a healthier body and more fulfilling romantic connections but I haven't managed to consistently fast if I don't have health problems from my weight or date until I find a dime inside and out if I'm having sex with some emotional connection.

Am I doomed to being fat and jumping from relationship to relationship with a girl I find super hot but am psychologically misaligned with until I reach FIRE and the energy for shedding the fat then changing my dating habits naturally arises or is there a way to consciously direct this process?

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C40
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Re: Is Consciously Deciding Goals Possible?

Post by C40 » Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:42 am

slowtraveler wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:29 am
Am I doomed to being fat and jumping from relationship to relationship with a girl I find super hot but am psychologically misaligned with until I reach FIRE and the energy for shedding the fat then changing my dating habits naturally arises or is there a way to consciously direct this process?
FIRE IS NOT GOING TO MAKE YOU MOTIVATED OR GIVE YOU EXTRA ENERGY. It's not going to solve your other problems!!!


I definitely think that deciding goals intentionally is possible. I also think that the next level up - values and ideals, can also be decided, but probably to a lesser extent, and they take more 'work'.

For me... I do find that the process of moving on from a pursuit or goal starts unconsciously, and then I sort through it logically over the next 6 months or so. That part is tricky.

As for new goals, finding motivation, etc, I definitely think it's possible to decide yourself. I guess the tricky part may be that it can be difficult to increase or lower the internal motivations behind those goals (like, how motivated one is right now to be healthy/fit, to find a good romantic partner or have a good relationship, etc.).

For me there is some process going on in my head but behind a curtain, that I don't feel I have full control over. I think there are ways to influence that process and the desires/motivations it controls - by adopting certain habits, by sending certain inputs behind the curtain, etc. But that takes practice and trial & error to figure out what works.

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Re: Is Consciously Deciding Goals Possible?

Post by jacob » Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:36 am

Kegan 3: has goals, has values/ideals
Kegan 4: decides goals, has values/ideals
Kegan 5: decides goals, decides values/ideals

What one "has" is similar to how a fish sees water. One needs to move through a phase of "seeing" to get to the "deciding" stage. So, e.g.

Kegan 3.5: sees goals, has values/ideals

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BRUTE
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Re: Is Consciously Deciding Goals Possible?

Post by BRUTE » Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:44 am

slowtraveler wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:29 am
Is Consciously Deciding Goals Possible?
no.
slowtraveler wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:29 am
Am I doomed to being fat and jumping from relationship to relationship with a girl I find super hot but am psychologically misaligned with until I reach FIRE and the energy for shedding the fat then changing my dating habits naturally arises or is there a way to consciously direct this process?
no. FIRE will not change that or give slowtraveler more energy.

slowtraveler is doomed to repeat the same exact patterns and loops until something in his environment changes enough to put him on a different set of patterns or loops.

this is the way of humans.

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Re: Is Consciously Deciding Goals Possible?

Post by Scott 2 » Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:03 pm

Experiential and environmental feedback loops. I treat change as a process of discovery, rather than a prolonged act of will.

As an example, let's say I am drinking too often:

1. When I have caffeine in the morning, I "need" alcohol in the evening. If I want to drink 1-2x a week, I should plan caffeine 1-2x a week.

2. When I don't go to bed early enough, then have to get up at a set time for work, I need caffeine to actually do my work. I should plan for 1-2x late nights a week at most.

3. It takes me about 2 hours to get to sleep after I turn off the screens. If I want to be asleep at 11, that means turning the electronics off at 9.

So I could try not to drink as much. Or I could just leave my phone out of the bedroom at night, avoiding the cascade of behavior that leads me to drink.


In other words, when people talk about the "grind", back away. That train is coming off the tracks. It's just a matter of time.

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Re: Is Consciously Deciding Goals Possible?

Post by wolf » Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:58 pm

I don't know if it is possible, but maybe this book can inspire you to try something new.

"Designing Your Life" by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, based on the Design Thinking process/methodology with feedback loops, prototypes, etc.

There are plenty of free videos, e.g. this one:
Designing Your Life | Bill Burnett | TEDxStanford

Jason
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Re: Is Consciously Deciding Goals Possible?

Post by Jason » Sat Jun 09, 2018 3:22 pm

Um...you are not even 30, almost retired, traveling the world like you're the Anthony Bourdain of hot chicks despite being fat and lazy?

Ok, maybe not the best analogy. But still. My suggestion - stop with the overwrought blogging bullshit and do some fucking sit ups.

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Re: Is Consciously Deciding Goals Possible?

Post by BRUTE » Sat Jun 09, 2018 3:46 pm

Jason wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 3:22 pm
Anthony Bourdain
too soon?

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Re: Is Consciously Deciding Goals Possible?

Post by Jason » Sat Jun 09, 2018 3:53 pm

As much as I tried, I couldn't get Kate Spade to work.

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BRUTE
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Re: Is Consciously Deciding Goals Possible?

Post by BRUTE » Sat Jun 09, 2018 4:44 pm

so dark, is Jason from the DC universe?

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Re: Is Consciously Deciding Goals Possible?

Post by Jason » Sat Jun 09, 2018 5:27 pm

Yes. And as my goal is to save Slowtraveler from squandering the best years of his life engaged in a forensic accounting of his navel, without even considering it was not possible, I consciously decided to kick him in his millennial nut sack.

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Re: Is Consciously Deciding Goals Possible?

Post by J_ » Sun Jun 10, 2018 3:50 am

Beautiful phrased dear Jason! That are the lessons from a Kegan 5 person!

slowtraveler
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Re: Is Consciously Deciding Goals Possible?

Post by slowtraveler » Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:21 am

I'm realizing my internal motivation is placing FIRE as number 1. Which definitely has progress every 2 weeks. It seems I have a very limited amount I can consciously decide and that my past experience is largely what determines what is enticing to me vs not. My kegan level isn't a 5 and may not reach that; there's some conscious direction happening.

I hadn't expected the consensus that FIRE won't free up habit energy. I moved out last year so living on a budget independently is a skill I'm still new at. But C40 didn't get abs until after FIRE.

Health I feel I'm trying to stop gaining weight. Dating just happens. If I'm single, walking around means I meet people relatively fast and end up meeting someone to explore with.

@Jason, that was sweet and sour in an unexpected way. You're right that life is good. And shedding my gut or anything like that won't solve everything but I will feel more alive without it weighing me down.

Overwrought blogging? Shit. Am I turning into a millennial complainer? I don't even blog or identify as a millennial.

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Re: Is Consciously Deciding Goals Possible?

Post by Jason » Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:19 am

I don't identify you as one either. I just like to say shit.

It seems to me, that based on your OP, you intuitively understand how to solve a specific problem and have demonstrated an ability to do what it takes to solve a problem. And by going through this experience, I think you have learned that's pretty much all you get out of it. Nothing more, nothing less. You have shown an incredibly high aptitude in solving the money problem, so you shouldn't have any problem with the weight problem. The bat shit crazy girl problem, I'm not so sure about.

I think people project results onto things, whether they are material or performance related. Talk to an Olympic gold medal winner and ask him/her whether dedicating their entire life to obtaining a medallion hanging from a ribbon really brought about the result or change or fulfillment they thought it would. I read an article on Caroline Wozniacki for some reason. She plays tennis. She dedicated her whole life to becoming #1. One day she wakes up and while eating her bowl of cereal she realizes two things: she's number 1 and nothing changed.

So don't come back here with another one of these snowflake threads when your successful pursuit of abs results in the same disappointment.

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Re: Is Consciously Deciding Goals Possible?

Post by BRUTE » Sun Jun 10, 2018 1:00 pm

slowtraveler wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:21 am
I don't even blog or identify as a millennial.
"identifying as" is the core of being millennial. brute doesn't remember that phrase from before. there was maybe "identifying with".

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Re: Is Consciously Deciding Goals Possible?

Post by C40 » Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:14 pm

slowtraveler wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:21 am
But C40 didn't get abs until after FIRE.
I had visible abs most of the time ever since I started learning about nutrition around 20 years old. I was the leanest in my life while working, at age 30 - maybe as low as 5% bodyfat.

slowtraveler wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:21 am
I hadn't expected the consensus that FIRE won't free up habit energy.
Well, when you phrase it like that, I would agree that not working does free up some "habit energy".

But if you think you are fat because you're working, you're doing some really lame mental gymnastics to pretend that you're not actively deciding to eat poorly. Just be honest with yourself.

If you find you're behaving compulsively rather than intentionally, you may want to consider other methods to help bring yourself back to intentionality. Sometimes adding either social or financial consequences helps. (For example, when I found myself eating too much ice cream, and doing it without much thought, just trying to stop didn't work at the time. So I told my friend I would send him $10 any time I eat ice cream for the next 6 months, which effectively increased the price of it to a ridiculous amount, but also set up a pride thing where I didn't want to have to tell my friend that I messed up. The book "the power of habit" by, I think, Duhigg is pretty good about this stuff. But... getting back more on point, many times the problem is not just habits or will power. It's priorities. The more important a goal is, the easier it gets to do what's right to support it.

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