At the start of the year, when I was goal setting, I had a big realization. At that time, I had been thinking about the differences between my character’s external and internal goals. I kept noticing stories aren’t about external goals as much as the internal ones. At the end of many stories, even when the character doesn’t achieve his external goal, he still finds internal peace. And in many others, the character will achieve his external goal, only to realize that external goal isn’t important to him, and to realize he actually wanted something else this whole time but was blind to it. He wanted this internal feeling.

And I got questioning: in my own life is there a way to choose goals more wisely to avoid this? By focusing internally, could I bypass all pains and struggles and blindnesses that stories are built on? Instead of asking what do I want to achieve, how about let’s ask what will this external goal give me internally? What internal desires will it fulfill, what internal hells will it destroy?

My goal: mom knows I’m there for her. Internally, I think it important to care for my mom, important to cherish her as the women who made it all possible. Internally, I want to feel like I’m being a good son.

Now, the next question was the game changer for me.

How else could I achieve that internal feeling? Ideas swarm from the depths.

  • I could send her little texts throughout the week.
  • I could make sure to send her a thoughtful gift.
  • I could share cooking recipes that I’m experimenting with.

How else could I achieve that internally? Get outside the box!

  • I could bring warm food to homeless women.
  • I could send little messages to my girlfriend’s mother.
  • I could recycle more. I could save water more. I could not use so many plastic bags.
  • I could personality congratulate my friend’s wives on mother’s day.

Internally, all of these connect with that energy, even though I can’t explain why.