Mid-Year Report: Spend More Time With People

So 2015 is nearing its end, and I am happy to report that my goal this year–spend more time with people—has been a success. In my first post, I talked about my fear of living as an overworked overachiever who never spent time with the people I loved. I talked about my regrets when my grandmother died and not wanting to make the same mistake of taking my loved ones for granted.

In that post, I proposed several resolutions, but instead of being unfocused and doing all of those things, I switched to one goal–I had to go out four times a month with friends or family.

I chose to aim for a quota because it’s clearer to see if I am succeeding or not. All I have to do is count. My one standard was concrete and without leeway for subjective judgment. Though the goal seemed easy, I was also like, Accckkk! Four times a month? When will I find the time? Then, I got surprised that this was my initial reaction. It means that I didn’t even spend four times a month with friends and family, but when you think about it, there are 16 days (Friday nights, Saturdays, and Sundays) each month where I can go out. So allotting 4 out of that 16 shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but apparently for overachiever me, it was.

I also realized that knowing how your mind works can help you create systems to trick yourself to do things that you do not normally do. I have an overachiever mindset, which means that I don’t spend time with friends and family because that means that I will spend less time achieving stuff. So I had to turn this goal into something that feels like an achievement.

My solution: a list. The top of the list has the month, and every time I went out with someone, I can write it down, and I have to have four entries per month. This simple tool allowed my achiever brain to feel successful.

When I started doing this, I discovered natural opportunities to spend time with people. I was going to two events in the same place, but one was one in the morning and one late at night, so I had this entire afternoon in between. Good thing, my other friend was going to these two events as well, so I asked her if she wants to hang out while waiting for our second event. Sometimes after events, I asked my industry peers to have coffee, and one time my other media friends asked me out as well. Since I write about theater, I get free tickets. When I get offered two tickets, I say, “Just one lang po”. I did that because I was lazy to ask someone out. Since I had the resolution, I had to stop being lazy and ask people out. So I got to do my goal while doing my job. Efficiency level: awesome!

By spending time with people, I learned that many of my media friends had similar interests as mine. One was a fiction writer, another liked self-help stuff, another liked performance poetry, another liked crafts. It was so mind blowing because before this I kept looking for people who liked what I liked, when in reality, I already knew them; I just didn’t know that their interests were the same as mine.

Nowadays, I feel less alone. This goal has really made such a big impact on my happiness. I hope to continue doing this for the rest of my life. But of course, for next year, I’ll have another goal. It doesn’t mean I will abandon this goal. I just know that it is more natural for me to spend time with people now, so I will need to put more effort in another goal. What will that next goal be?

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