Monday, February 5, 2018

Another Month, Another Goal

darkmoon1968 via Pixabay
Last Thursday evening, I sat down and planned out my February goals. When I was first retired, I did this a lot, setting weekly, monthly and annual goals but, these days, finding the time to sit down and draft the goals is as challenging as trying to meet them. Consequently, although I set annual goals, which I revisit at least once during the year, I've fallen out of the habit of goal-setting on a more frequent basis.

The truth is, I sort of fell into last week's goal-setting session. In the process of consolidating all of the mini lists I'd been creating, I gathered up my calendars along with all of the little sheets of paper with to-do's on them and settled in on the sofa to see just how bad things were.

Calendars? Plural? Yes, you read that right. I have four, in addition to my Brainstorming Book -- five if you count the one I received as a gift after I made my calendar purchases. One travels in my purse and tracks personal appointments. Another functions as a lesson plan book as well as a calendar, and houses my schedule, due dates and ideas for my classes. A third is where I keep track of writing deadlines and ideas (and where I track my monthly goals, since several of them are connected in some way to my writing). The fourth functions as my desk calendar -- a sort of catch-all for lists, my daily Big 3 and other day-to-day workings.

But I digress. Sort of. When I opened up my desk calendar to consolidate my lists by moving them from little slips of papers into its spiral-bound margins, my writing calendar was inside (where it belongs). Inside, my January goals were laid out in the color-coded format I favor when I have time to do such things. Since it was February 1, a little updating (color-coded, of course) was in order.

Some people see these sorts of tasks as overwhelming and undesirable, but I love them. Pausing to think about what I've accomplished, no matter how small, along with what I want to do and what I wish I had done helps me to keep my priorities front and center. Writing down the things I want to do next and knowing I have a month to take steps toward those things keeps me focused and, in the end, I think I accomplish a lot more.

And sometimes, it's all in the phrasing. I don't mind calling them "goals" but, if goal-setting overwhelms you, maybe you can call them "opportunities." The more bite-sized you make them, the better your chances of accomplishing them. The more specific you make them, the more likely you'll be to know you've arrived. The more personal you make them, the more they'll mean.

Alex80 via Pixabay
And the color-coding? That 's for clarity, but it's also fun. In addition, it has the psychological effect of breaking up the long list into smaller subsections.

While we're at it, who says all the opportunities have to be work-related? How about setting a goal to finish reading that novel, knitting that sweater, working that jigsaw puzzle or training for that half-marathon? Taking time to sit down and really think about what we want to do decreases the likelihood that we'll fall into mindless tasks when we have those rare moments of time to ourselves.

Five days into February, I'm making progress on my goals. How about you?

No comments:

Post a Comment