Hello 2015

Like many people, I was happy to see 2014 go and I’m looking forward to a great 2015. This is a time of year when many people are working on habits: getting rid of bad ones, starting good ones. As you can see from the nice banner at the side, I’ll be talking quite a bit about habits this month. Be sure to check out some of the other nice people who will be doing likewise.

Oh, don’t worry, I’ll be sure to talk about the economy and politics and the freakin NSA from time to time too!

My plan is to keep it short and sweet and useful. Let’s start with a little talk about goals. Yeah I know, I beat up on goals just last week. But here’s the thing: if you don’t try, you’ll never ever succeed. Even though what Mr. Venuto says about goals is tailored to a health and fitness community, the fact is that most of what he says can be applied to any goal — and that includes habit related goals!

In Closing: Health insurance does you no good if you can’t afford to use it; slowdown; the injustice system.

George Bailey and the Truth about Goal Setting

Once again it is Christmastime, and that means once again it is time to watch It’s a Wonderful Life. Terrific story about how we’re all in this together and everybody has an impact on everybody else. If you’ve never seen it, you should seek it out. Without George Bailey, the whole world changes: Billy Bailey dies, Old Man Gower goes to prison for accidentally killing somebody with a mis-filled prescription, Mary Hatch becomes a lonely librarian, an entire platoon of soldiers dies, and a Bedford Falls turns into Pottersville.

But there’s another story too. George has goals, and he works hard towards them. He saves money to travel and go to college. He makes plans to build grand things. He knows what he’s going to do with his life! And when things go wrong, he does the right thing. So he saves money all over again to go on a fabulous honeymoon with his wife. And when things go wrong again he does the right thing. As the angel says “You’ve probably guessed that George never makes it out of Bedford Falls.”

You can make all the goals you like. You can work towards them every day. You can overcome adversity. But when all is said and done, remember that reality controls you and not the other way around.

In Closing: Now that’s sick.

50 Years

I was not alive 50 years ago. I wasn’t even conceived yet. Therefore I bring you a repost of an item on JFK from 2009. Oddly enough, I was reading today about Nevada in the 1960s. Some of the people mentioned included John Kennedy, his brother Robert (Attorney General and keen on stamping out the mob and to hell with Vegas), Frank Sinatra (in hot water with the Gaming Commission over the Cal-Neva and certain guests they had and JFK wasn’t happy about it), Marilyn Monroe (who supposedly used to get visits from JFK at the Cal-Neva), and Arthur Miller (in Nevada while divorcing Marilyn). By the way, there was a plot between the mob and CIA to kill a world leader — Fidel Castro! New bits In Closing.

First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish. We propose to accelerate the development of the appropriate lunar space craft. We propose to develop alternate liquid and solid fuel boosters, much larger than any now being developed, until certain which is superior. We propose additional funds for other engine development and for unmanned explorations–explorations which are particularly important for one purpose which this nation will never overlook: the survival of the man who first makes this daring flight. But in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the Moon–if we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.

In 1961, President Kennedy laid out a goal so powerful that it captured the imagination of a nation, survived his death, and finally came to pass.

A lot of people talk about the importance of goal setting, and they approach it in almost magical tones. They quote Paul J. Meyer and Napoleon Hill (sometimes they mistake one for the other), or perhaps more recently they talk about The Secret, and yet how many of them can say they have had a goal that was so powerful it was taken up and executed by other people?

Say what you want about Mr. Kennedy. The man knew how to set a goal.

On this day, the 40th anniversary of the first manned flight to the moon lifting off, let’s look at what he did right. Edit: it was at the time!

The goal was specific, and broken into parts. Both get a man to the moon and bring him home. And do it safely. No “it sure would be  nice if,” no “maybe we could.” Everybody would know when it was achieved, and there would never be a “close enough.”

It had a time limit. By the end of the decade. Not someday.

It was ambitious yet attainable. That goal must have seemed quite daunting in 1961, but they did it in 1969.

He was aware of the obstacles. It was going to cost a lot of money. The technology to do it didn’t actually exist yet. But he knew where to get the money, and how to get the research done to invent the technology.

He had the resources to tackle the obstacles. This is one of those cases where it helps to be in a position of power. The President can make research programs happen; Joe Average not so much. Having a million dollar idea doesn’t mean much if you don’t have the funding and ability to make it happen.

He outlined some of the steps it would take to get there. This is crucial with ambitious goals. He knew that to get there, they would have to develop spacecraft and better fuels and a bunch of other things. If a goal is like a travel brochure, a plan is like a map or plane tickets. You can’t get to the goal without a plan.

He expected the goal to lead to bigger and better things. Namely, the further exploration of space. Perhaps if he were still alive in 1969, he would have urged us to go to Mars, or develop space colonies, or maybe something we haven’t thought about.

He made sure everyone knew about the goal. He made that speech in front of millions of people. In 1962, he reiterated his ideas in another speech before millions of people. He got everybody on board, and got an entire nation excited about his amazing goal.

There is more to goal setting than scribbling “I want to be a millionaire” on a picture of a Porsche and putting it on your bathroom mirror. You can’t achieve goals by hoping and wishing. It takes a plan, hard work, and just a little luck too.

In Closing: hope nobody is surprised by Colorado raids; this NSA thing is just a writing gift that keeps on giving!; a few nice Affordable Care Act links (I’m choosing to stop calling it Obamacare much as I’ve stopped using Conservative and Republican framing elsewhere, and how exactly would people die from actually getting healthcare??); some food and food regimen related links; heat or rent?; and build a better condom.