Not having goals is the biggest lie of 2011

I have a confession to make, it has been a really rough couple years.  With all the challenges has come a profound personal growth.  In writing this, I hope that it may touch some of you as many of you have touched me online.  I have learned an immense amount from all of those of you whether you are a reader commenting, are someone I networked with through social media or you have your own blog and you have shared your information.  I feel truly blessed by all that is in my life.

2 years ago, it all started with a simple surgery (gall bladder) that let to some complications (missed common bile duct stenosis and pancreatic duct stenosis) that led to more procedures( ERCP) and more complications (ERCP induced pancreatitis).  Coupled with an unexpected move, watching a human rights violation unfold equals a very long couple of years.  If you have never personally witnessed someone else’s human rights being violated it is like watching a pedophile about to attack and being helpless to do anything about it. (Something that I had never seen while living in the USA)

Fortunately, I have physically recovered 100% and mentally I am all that much stronger.  If I look at what has helped me carry on it has largely been my upbringing.  My parents are Eastern European (Serbian), a resilient bunch.  They instilled in me the “you just carry on” mentality”.  And they would say “Depression, what is depression?”  I say this cautiously as being in the medical field, there is so much more to it than this.  But from their cultural perspective, it is a good coping mechanism.

As one of my good friends has said when you are faced with loss after loss (in my case challenge after challenge) it can be difficult to keep smiling.  And as Katie Perry sings, after the hurricane, comes the rainbow.  Here is to finding our rainbows in 2012.



I have spent a lot of time reflecting this past month about: goals, what I want to change or do different and evaluating where I would like to take my life/our family’s life.  I brainstormed (mind mapped) these goals over a period of 3 sessions.

After doing so, I read a most interesting post on Zen Habits where the author, Joshua Fields Millburn stated that he was much happier living without goals.  Sorry I am going to call him on this: He. Has. Goals.

What I think he meant was he wasn’t going to put unnecessary stress on himself if he didn’t meet his goals (he is writing a book) and he wasn’t going to be making the laundry list of goals any longer.  I hope he doesn’t mind that I have interpreted this way and am also glad he has found happiness without “goals”.

Over the past few months, I have started to take the pressure off myself so I can enjoy and be in the moment with my projects, with my kids etc.  So in this aspect I agree with Joshua, take the pressure off yourself! With kids and life there are so many unexpected things that have come up in the past 2 years.  Sometimes these unexpected occurrences consumed months of my time.  I have decided to be kind to myself.  And like Joshua, I too am enjoying.


 To Ungoals for 2012

So if I am taking the pressure off myself indefinitely, do I even need to be writing down goals?  This post? Yes, it will serve to give me direction.

Here is my method.  I set aside 15-20 minutes for free flow writing/ brainstorming of my goals for 2012 and beyond.  It is easy to be unrealistic about what you can achieve in a year. Narrow your list down and make sure you are being realistic.  I then put the list aside and repeated the process in a week.  I looked to see if my goals were the same and if I had anything more to add.  By the third attempt, I had exhausted what came to mind and so I knew I was done with the list.

I type my lists as well as print them as I need to be able to see them on paper not just the computer screen. I have lists for all aspects of my life: family, medical career, website, my book project, a mentoring project I am involved in, an upcoming presentation at a business conference and several other projects.  I put these lists in clear folders and as I work on a goal/project I simply pull out a folder and work on it bit by bit


The secret

People always ask me how do you do so much?  Here is the secret: doing a little bit each day or week, then by the end of one year you will have amassed A LOT.  Also focus on consistently doing little bits.

So in a nutshell, consistently doing little bits is “The Secret”. Now if only I had written a book that sold millions!


My goals


 Medical Career

  • Start an online education in Functional Medicine
  • Incorporate Functional medicine into my career
  • Incorporate coaching as a means to empower my patients to make changes in their lives



  • Focus on adding more informational videos
  • Learn to edit video through iMovie or other (in process now!)
  • Rebrand to something more universal and long lasting than ExpatDoctorMom (A dozen domain names have been bought!)
  • Work on learning SEO and use it to increase exposure
  • Create a social media strategy
  • Land a major speaking gig (see below)
  • Set up schedule for Social Media so that it doesn’t consume my time and remains enjoyable
  • Learn to create songs through garage band. Would be one off the bucket list.
  • Create my first product: eBook.  My topic has been selected, more on this later.
  • Launch niche sites.  My thoughts are if those around me can do it, so can I!  Would be a great way to make extra money.
  • Be on the cover of a magazine for fun!


Mentoring Project

  • Write blog posts following the mentoring program so others can benefit along with my mentee


Children’s Book

  • Get it published in 2012 (fingers crossed, I have pitched this to a sponsor who is interested in funding the project)
  • Self publish on create space if the project is not sponsored


Business Conference Presentation (How Women Work March 2012)

  • Prepare a killer presentation on using Social Media with Christina Paschyn who one woman referred to as my daughter.  Compliment and insult at the same time as it is not biologically possible! Ironically Christina and I grew up in the same suburb of Cleveland: Parma!
  • Record the presentation.  Use it as a call to action on my site and to land that speaking gig



  • Support my children’s education through activities at home.  I am not a tiger mom but,  I firmly believe that regardless of whether your kids are in a good school or not, it is important to guide their education.  Specifically, I want to foster their ability to become entrepreneurs if they choose to.
  • Support spouse in finding a better quality of life.
  • Relax about accomplishing above so that I can enjoy the journey


Your turn

What do you think about having goals?  And what did you like about my website? Dislike?  What do you want me to see more of? Do tell so I can make this an epic year at Expatdoctormom!



6 years ago by in Inspiration , My Projects , Uncategorized | You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
9 Comments to Not having goals is the biggest lie of 2011
    • Estelle
    • I’m definitely like Joshua. Ok this means that I have a goal lol. I really feel that us, women, are putting loads (I mean loads) of pressure among ourselves, all the time, for anything and everything. Since the 80’s we are programmed to be SuperWomen. And surely that’s what we want too, because I would not trade this (career and family) for a french-woman’s status in the 50s. Anyway, we have to be the Best, the Strongest, the Smartest etc…we are control freaks. And if by any chance we forget about that, usually magazines are there to remind us to be as fit as Madonna, as healthy living as Gwyneth, as slim as Victoria B, as smart and powerful as Christine Lagarde, as family-oriented as Angelina, as spiritual as Mother Teresa (this should talk to the serb in you…)
      And so, every year it’s the same tune again: “next year I’ll: (choose all your goals)”. Control freak ‘s back!!! What I don’t really like is usually we choose these goals in a negative mindset: there are goals to fill those gaps, those imperfections, keeping in the end this negative mindset. An example: “This year I’ll exercise more (SMART blabla that goes with it)”. Negative mindset because it starts from “I’m such a crap I can’t even bother to find 10mn to exercise, and I’m fat, and I do not succeed in that, look at this other woman who manages to exercise: compared to her, I’m such a failure etc…” Than you start exercising and after a few weeks/months maybe you just drop (because, hey, that’s life and sometimes in a middle of your 30days shred with Jillian you end up in Al Ahli hospital for any reason; or of course, your child’s new hobby is during your zumba group class) And when you drop you just can’t help but feeling that you’re just such a big loser…
      That’s why I don’t want to hear any more about resolutions and goals. Make no mistake, the pressure is here, everyday to drive everything in my life as successfully as healthy, as loving as possible. But you know roads in life…. and when there’s a bump I want to be able to cope with it as it comes, and enjoy the heppy and successfull moments as they come by.

      • Rajka Milanovic
      • Estelle: Exactly!  We are not super women. And if we can be for awhile eventually it will catch up with us and something takes a toll: our physical health, our relationships etc.

        I had to chuckle about the zumba class conflicting with our childs!  Actually had to chuckle about all your comparisons! LOL, it is a fine balance to get it all in.  That is why I have started doing less.  And why I have been kinder to myself on the goals: too many unexpected these past 2 years.  Still achieving but at a pace that works with whatever life throws my way!  No more guilt!

        I had to look at my goals and see if I put in any about exercise… Whew, no I did not.  This is another area I am kind to myself.  I have worked out my whole life with periods where I do less.  Isn’t it better to get it in 2-3 times a week and not feel guilty that it wasn’t 5-6! 

        To rainbows in 2012!

    • PragmaticMom
    • Wow. You have a huge pile of goals! Good luck! Do you know Stan Pajka? He’s from parma also and a friend of mine from college. He’s also a doctor/eye doc.

      • Rajka Milanovic
      • Thanks for stopping by Mia!  On the goals, I imagine some will extend into next year as well!  I am not putting the pressure on myself this time! Just doing little bits at a time.

        I don’t know Stan.  You can send him my email address. It would be fun to converse over email about what years we were there and which high school etc.

    • Lisaann518
    • Rykes, another inspiring post from you! You are so insightful and thought provoking that I can hardly wait until your next blog comes out! Parma, huh? We used to make fun of Parma like people do with Polish (or other nationalities). Makes me chuckle being from Elyria and then Sylvania! Move back to Everett, I (we) miss you terribly! Love you! B-t-w, when Dr Yuan calls me, it says the call is from Dr Milanovic! See, even the phone service wants you back!!

      I am trying naturapatic this year to get me off some meds! Miss your gorgeous face!

    • Lisaann518
    • Rykes, another inspiring post from you! You are so insightful and thought provoking that I can hardly wait until your next blog comes out! Parma, huh? We used to make fun of Parma like people do with Polish (or other nationalities). Makes me chuckle being from Elyria and then Sylvania! Move back to Everett, I (we) miss you terribly! Love you! B-t-w, when Dr Yuan calls me, it says the call is from Dr Milanovic! See, even the phone service wants you back!!

      I am trying naturapatic this year to get me off some meds! Miss your gorgeous face!

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