Sunday, January 3, 2010

I won't waste my time anymore!

I've decided to do things differently this time around. I had written my goals down for each new year since college.

Ten years worth of "to-do's" that never came to light. The same resolutions unachieved over and over again. Leaving me frustrated and disappointed.

No more! This time I won't be writing out any goals for 2010!

If they are meant to be they will happen and if not....I guess they weren't meant to be!

Maybe I'm being too stubborn and resisting making changes. Maybe I'm deliberately failing to plan and sabotaging myself. Maybe I could care less, no longer see the point, and am giving up too easily. Perhaps it's a little bit of all of these.

But one thing I know for certain is I'm tired of writing down goals and feeling like a failure when they don't come to fruition. Those repetitive lists that excited me as the pen first hit the paper but were quickly forgotten about once the notebook closed.

Will this hinder my dream of having a career in art or set it free of unnecessary rules and deadlines?

Only time will tell.

With all of this said, I refuse to spend one day, one hour, even one more minute creating yet another I surely will not follow or achieve. I'm so over that bullshit and I won't waste my time anymore!


David K Small, artist said...

Dean, I did the list thing for years. It served me well in that it kept me on track. However when the lists stopped and I gave in to being more open than that, I became an artist. Art was never in the plans, unlike you. I never yearned to create art but now I can not imagine living without doing so. Now I can relate to you. You are right to forget the lists and now focus on living the goal. They work for some, but I think artists are too free-spirited to be confined by certain specifics. Enjoy your new-found freedom Dean.

naturgesetz said...

What you say makes sense.

You know basically what you're hoping for, and you know what you need to do and ought to do. So you can live without trying to make things happen in a specific year.

Maybe it will even enable you to take a longer view which will be helpful in accomplishing good things.

Dean Grey said...


You nailed exactly what I was trying to get at, David!

Artists are indeed too free-spirited for rules and lists, aren't we?



I'm glad you understand my point-of-view on this! Let's hope you're right about it helping me to accomplish good things!


Thanks to both of you gentlemen for the supportive comments!


April Jarocka said...

Dean how right you are to do away with the list making burden we put on ourselves.

What works for me is smaller goal setting task - set two a day, then go onto three - and it usually works!

I hope you feel better soon...forgive me if I am preaching here but start by clearing your studio or workspace out. The last thing you need is to find all the lists you didn't work through piling up around you like little pointing fingers!. That's a real kick in the guts and you don't need that!

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Small steps. You can change, its just to keep following your will eventually lead you to the right ends (financial security, etc).

Manon said...

Good for you Dean! You should listen to your heart. If it's not working then change it. No need for a list.

Nordic Monsoon said...

Congratulation, Dean! Refuse to make a new year to-do list is an act of courage and self confidence!

For me, one-year to-do list ensure procrastination, but I do think short-term to-do list to be working for me though. There is certainly no absolute.

Happy New Year, Dean!

robertga99 said...

Agreed. If the list thing hasn't worked for you it's a good idea not to do one!
Why set yourself up for failure? Just live your life! Way to go!

It was the opposite for me. I've never done a list but this year I decided to do one. I am a "goal" boy! I'll let you know how it turns out for me :)

Anonymous said...

I agre, I did the list for yrs, and every yr I felt like a huge failure...this yr I decided not to do any list, and already I feel better....

This could be your yr my friend, hold on;)

Mike said...

Totally agree with what the others have said.

For years I made lists - resolutions, work priorities, things to 'experience' in my free time - and only became more depressed as the years went by and so few things could be crossed off. At one point the 'work-to-do' list had over 100 items on it ...

It was at that point I decided to stop making lists. I found that workwise things that needed to be done got done, and those that didn't are still waiting somewhere in some dark dust-filled cupboard ... in my personal life I had the freedom to do whatever I wanted to without worrying about what I 'should' be doing.

It really changed my life and has allowed me to both accomplish many things I really wanted to, and to develop skills I never knew I had ...

Definitely set yourself free of unnecessary rules and deadlines!

Ms. Becky said...

you don't need a list, but writing down one thing that you wish/desire could be helpful. simply focus on the essence of that one desire and then what steps would be useful to achieve it in form. chunk it down into small steps and it isn't so overwhelming. remember, one simple thing can lead to great joy. Have a beautiful day!

Paul Benjamin said...

Dean, I understand what you are talking about! My outlook is to live in the 'Now.' You can't go back and change the past, and you can't predict what the future holds. So you might as well, just live today and let whatever is going to happen, happen.

Good post!

Dean Grey said...


I'm in the processing of sifting through all the stuff in my studio right now!



I think taking baby steps is the right way to go!



Yes, I'm listening to my heart on this matter!



Does that mean I'm courageous then? (^_^)



Just because making a list didn't work for me doesn't mean it won't work for you.

Let me know how it goes, Bob!



I hope you're right!



Wow, who knew NOT making a list could change your life so much! I feel much better about my decision now!



Thanks for stopping by my blog!

I think your idea is a wise one. I'll put my focus on one main goal rather than spreading myself too thin.



Hooray for living in the now!!


All the wonderful suggestions are very much appreciated!!


Clare said...

Just stopping by to say hello and a Happy New Year! Good for you. Do whatever feels right. I was actually thinking about your blog this morning. I came across it after reading your comment on another persons blog, thinking it was an excellent comment and then discovering that I loved your blog! I now follow you and ended up unfollowing him! HeeHee.

So, question. Why exploding doughnut? Did one fall apart one breakfast morning?

Randuwa said...

I hate these sorts of lists. INFP to the core! But do appreciate the ones that I make in the morning for a particular day. I seem to do better in little chunks. And in any event lists are about accomplishing things, while it seems to me that the wonder of living is better focused on the becoming not the doing. List free moments may seem aimless, but with a little reflection they can be sources of great accomplishment in becoming more real, more present, more aware of life and it's good things.

Aaron said...


I actually think that, that is a bloody good idea and you absolutely make sense. And your title sums it up really well too. :)

Dave said...

Draw your goals. Then share, erase, rework, and paint over as often as you wish.

jason said...

I like your style!
My lists could be reused year after year, I think...that's how little I ever seem to accomplish with them. :)

Dean Grey said...


Welcome to The Doughnut Gang!!

I explain the meaning behind "Exploding Doughnut" in my very first post. You can find that entry on my "labels" list under "1st post".



"Focused on the becoming, not the doing".

I like that, Randy!






Draw my goals? Hmmm, that's an interesting idea!



It's the exact same thing with my lists. Only the actual year seems to change but the unaccomplished goals remain the same.


Thanks to all of you for weighing in on the subject!


Mike said...


I thought about you and your 'list dilemma' at work yesterday ...

My boss had been spent her Christmas break making a list of all the things she had to do to keep her 'superiors' [lol] happy. And she had that dreaded piece of paper with literally dozens of items meticulously listed in date order. To say she was close to tears would be understatemnt.

So we sat down with a thick red marker pen and crossed off all the things which were 'desirable but not essential' ... and you know what? There are now just three things we have to achieve over the next week.

Another person freed from the tyranny of the list ...

Carolina said...

Congratulations, Dean! That's a great decision! Lists are a means to help us to be organized and whatever else, but they're not supposed to make us feel miserable. So, Way to go! I'm proud of you because it seems to be a change in your life, and that's awsome! I'm happy for you!
Best regards,

David K Small, artist said...

Hey an afterthought - what about taking all those lists that you find in the studio and elsewhere and make a collage - dart board like.

A gentleman? Ha ! Get to know me. Been called worse :-)

Anonymous said...

hi Dean, wishing you all the best in 2010 and the resolutions list? goals don't work without will power to achieve them and will power without a goal is a waste. so my new year wish is that you have doable goals and the will-power to achieve them. take care r.

Renee said...

Dean it took me getting stage 4 cancer to stop writing lists.

Total bullshit. Mind you I still like my lists. Just not these I will by this time crap.

Love Renee xoxo

Dean Grey said...


Haha, what a great story!



It does sound like a change, doesn't it?



I just might do that, David!



Thanks for your New Year's Wish to me!



It's comforting to know I'm not the only one who feels this way!


I appreciate hearing from everyone!!


Mary Sheehan Winn said...

Write down... DON'T be so hard on yourself and make that the whole list. You are on your path and you will get where you want to go, Dean.

Today I had to go do errands and I crossed off each item as I did it. There were 9 and I only forgot one. For me, this is HUGE ;)

Ramesh Jhawar said...

Hello Dean!
I cannot say anything about the to-do list because I haven't made any as far as I can remember.So I guess I'm happy this way!
And a big thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and placing your comments.
Best wishes for the new year :)

melanie said...

I'm so happppy for you and your new found freedom.
I will never forget the year i lost my watch on purpose, threw away my diary and calender and rediscovered time'
Breathe, be, play, create, rest, work, smile and enjoy'
best wishes for the days ahead, sending joy your way, cheers Mel

Adam said...

Hi Dean, I think it's a smart decision. Besides, what does the New Year's Eve have of special? Why can't we make decisions other days?

Anyway, I am back to blogging, after a short while! Check it out! There are pics!

Adam (

Dean Grey said...


Lists definitely work for some! I'm glad it seems to help you with everyday tasks. It does for me as well just not when I write down HUGE goals.



You are quite welcome!



After reading your comment I feel like I made the right decision! Yay!!



I agree. New Year's is just another day. I didn't want to get caught up in all the New Year's Resolutions hype.


Thanks to the four of you for adding your thoughts on this!


martha miller said...


Put this on your nonexistant-list of things to do:

Check out Adriane Herman's List Project!!!


Dean Grey said...


I just checked out the link. Hilarious!!

Who knew "to-do" lists could become art?!


Kelley Carey MacDonald said...

YES! Me, too, Dean. I use daily lists to get things accomplished each day (well, mostly so I don't FORGET to do things), but I've stopped making goal lists, because I feel so horrible when time goes by and none of them come to pass! Just another way to point up failure! Just every day I try to be a LEEETTLE bit better. More organized. Aware. Kind. Creative. Some days are better than others.

Also some days I write down all that I've ACCOMPLISHED.... and I'm usually amazed. One-armed-paperhanger-days.

Karen said...

Dean, I make lists daily in my diary or the night before, planning what I would like to achieve that day or the next.
Have never done a New Years one and probably never will :)
Little steps is the key.

Dean Grey said...


I'm glad I'm not alone on this!

I like your idea of trying to be a little better each day....if I can!



Little steps, huh? I'll give it a shot!


I appreciate hearing from both of you ladies!


Anonymous said...

Hi Dean - Since last year, I have been setting an intention for the year instead of enumerating goals. My intention for last year was simply space (or spaciousness), this year I settled on balance. I like that this can provide a focus or frame for the year - and of course, being so loose, if I feel like changing it (or forgetting about it) that's ok too!

A Lewis said...

There is nothing worse than the feeling of having a written list of goals and then NOT doing them. The list stares you straight in the face with that horrible sound of "failure" over and over again. I'd rather have not had a list in the first place, like you. Having said that, there are several things that seem to be on my mental to-do list on an ongoing basis....I will continue to work, pursue, and achieve! them. It's a promise to myself.

Leslie Saeta said...

I am still laughing over this post. For some reason I was organized this year and wrote my goals on the 31st. I did the same last year and then put them away for a year and forgot to look at them. So they are taped up on the wall ... so I guess I should look at them. Hmmm ...

Dean Grey said...

Anna T.!

I think that's what I wanted too. By doing away with goal/to-do lists I'm now free to do whatever I want!


A Lewis!

I'm glad you can see where I'm coming from!

I appreciate you visiting my blog too!



LOL, at least you taped yours to a wall, Leslie. I couldn't even be bothered with that!


Thanks to the three of you for your comments!