On a weekend night at The Prospector Bar located on 2400 E. 7th St., Long Beach local Erik Albaugh attempted what would be a pinnacle moment in his life. Albaugh gathered money from his previous paycheck and found a friend that would help him craft 100 shirts to hand out for a hug project. The main goal, to hug 100 people in a day. Albaugh used the shirts as a tactic to keep track of the hugs and to say thank you.
Throughout the night Albaugh scoured the bar and the Long Beach area attentively looking for people who would agree to hug him for a shirt. At the end of the night, he fell short by 20 hugs but admired the positive and loving energy that the goal channeled.
“You can sense even people who weren't into hugging a stranger were into it. A lot of people would questions what exactly I was trying to do,” Albaugh said. “I would explain my story and then they would cave in.”
When most people are going through a rough patch in their lives, typical solutions include going to a therapist, meditating or simply finding time to be present. However, Albaugh had a different idea in mind when he found himself going through a crummy breakup.
Albaugh recalled looking at Benjamin Franklin’s 13 virtues. Franklin argued that mastering concepts like temperance, silence, resolution, and more, would help individuals conquer negativity and become their best selves. Looking to better his own life, Albaugh modified the virtues into personalized goals; creating an outlet on how to cope with his broken relationship.
“Once I looked at Ben Franklin’s 13 virtues, I thought to myself, ‘I’m going to write a list of things that I want to accomplish,’” Albaugh said.
Cue the “Goals Project” which was originally established when Erik was living in Chicago. Similar to the 13 virtues, the project consisted of 100 goals being accomplished within a 100-day time span. Albaugh partakes in this challenge twice a year (Spring and Fall) with a fresh list of goals.
“When it comes to making goals I have roughly about 60 in my head,” Albaugh said. “The last 40 I have to brainstorm.”
Albaugh, who also manages local band “Freemans Dead,” highlights how his goals range in a broad spectrum between complexity and simplicity. Whether it’s a simple task of getting a portable charger, to attempting his hardest goal of being vegan for 100 days straight; tasks are proven to be accomplished by setting a due date.
“I’ve lost 70 pounds because I would go to the gym twice a day and walk everywhere I went,” Albaugh said. “Both were goals on my list that continue to keep me motivated and active.”
Throughout the journey, Albaugh demonstrates his progress on the “Goal Project” by frequently posting on Facebook. This has lead friends and even strangers to tag along, tailoring the project to fit their own personal goals and aspirations.
“I post my goals on Facebook and my friends keep tabs on me,” Albaugh said. “Making it public is helpful for me. Facebook posts hold me accountable.”
While most in Albaugh’s sphere find the goals challenge inspiring and motivating, he knows some may view it as obnoxious. Constant Facebook postings about goals have proven to annoy some of his acquaintances resulting in followers muting him on social media.
“I’m unphased with what people think because this is what makes me feel good, it's my thing,” Albaugh said.
When looking at the highs and the lows of the project, Albaugh talks about how he has failed goals numerous times and reports them along the way.
“I never actually accomplished 100 goals, the closest I have ever gotten to was 80,” Albaugh said. “I try to be transparent because you have to hold yourself accountable.”
Many of the goals that Albaugh has set for himself have left a lasting impact or have become part of his lifestyle. Without the project, Erik believes that it would be easy to become lazy and unmotivated.
Everyone has their own hectic life, but with a list of goals and due date, the unimagined becomes reality.
“It keeps me motivated and it allows me to travel; the whole process is cathartic,” Albaugh said. “I have been doing this for 10 years and I don't see myself stopping anytime soon.”
Examples of Erik Albaugh’s Goal Project:
1 - 100 days vegan
2 - 100 days no smoking anything (no tobacco or weed) (edibles are ok)
3 - Meet Bill Murray
4 - Fast twice a week
5 - Alcohol only 2 days a week (and not on fasting days)
6 - Get new CDs pressed for Freemans Dead (fix typos)
X 7 - Buy a van or bus
X 8 - Get a tattoo
X 9 - Get a new ring