Setting Better Goals
I mentioned earlier last week that I was thinking of revamping how I go about setting goals. I have been studying this all week long and have learned a few things about how I might improve my goals.
I am on target in one way: I set goals in focused areas of my life. I focus on seven areas of my life: Spirit, Marriage, Family, Self, Home, Blog, Finances. You can certainly choose any focus areas you like and be even more specific than I've been if you'd like. These are the areas I have chosen to focus on for the past few years.
That's both good and not so good. I'm right to spread my focus into several areas, but I keep using the same areas over and over again, regardless of what is most important to me in any given month and regardless of what my schedule looks like. Sometimes I need to refocus, look at other areas, bringing some up higher on the list of priority than others, changing others out entirely, etc. Obviously my spiritual focus is going to remain a priority but I need to reset my focus areas now and then, according to the life stage I'm in and, occasionally, just for the purpose of shaking things up a bit.
Despite feeling uninspired at the moment with this pattern of goal setting, I worked with it for this month. I'm going to keep studying this matter and see if I find something that inspires me. In the meantime, why ditch something that does work? Overall, I achieve about 75-95% of my goals each month but here of late they are too vague and don't have a time limit.
I came across this little formula for setting goals called S.M.A.R.T. There are two variations of it and the one I'm sharing spoke most to me.
S = Be Specific. What is my goal? What am I aiming for?
M = Measurable How will I know when I've reached my goal?
A = Action Oriented What steps will I take to reach my goal?
R = Realistic Is my goal realistic? Is it too vague or impossible?
T = Time Bound. What is my time limit for achieving the goal?
I keep writing down: Pray for John. But just what do I want to pray about for John? For how long will I pray over these things? With prayer it's a trickier thing to measure or set a time boundary.
I know that just now he's facing an uncertain situation at work. He's nervous about his physical ability to work the new shift pattern. I can specifically pray that he will be strengthened physically and adjust well to the changes he's facing. I can pray for the next 30 days for this adjustment to take place and I can do all I can physically to insure that he (a) gets enough rest, (b) has a stress free environment at home and (c) help him schedule his days so that he fits more in and gets all he needs to do between shifts accomplished.
Another goal I've been vague about is the work I want to do in the front yard. I've not taken one step to do anything there. Why not? Because I simply wrote on my goals list: Work on Front Yard. That is far too vague. I had to ask myself questions in order to help me determine how to proceed.
What do I need to start the task? What area of the front yard do I want to focus on first? I lack vision for the whole patio area at present. I need to hash out a plan for that work area. But there is a spot about the Faith Tree that could be quite lovely and a corner area between the front porch and the south end of the house. Either of those would benefit from immediate work. Just now I know I have more than enough material to work on that area around the tree. It needs to be cleared, bordered, and mulched. There's my goal: Work on the area about the Faith Tree. I'll start by clearing out the plants there and repotting those I want to use elsewhere in the front yard (iris, soapwort, daffodils and muscari). I'll put a time limit of three weeks on this goal.
I need a better work space. For the past three years, I've blogged in my chair in the living room but this is not ideal. For one thing, I tend to scrunch my shoulders forward. It's killing my posture and if I'm on a roll and concentrating hard, I end up being stiff and cramped. For a second point, it's next to the TV. It's easy enough to lose my focus and start watching a movie instead, especially if I'm having trouble finding inspiration.
I have a desk in the kitchen and I found that spot pleasant for blogging for many years. My previous work station was solely dedicated to the computer. Now the desk is my work space with bills and notebooks and it's a little smaller. I have nowhere to put my computer. I will be taking measurements and looking at possible new desks or how to expand the storage space. I'd like to have a workable space by the end of July.
There's one thing I haven't done at any point in my Goals each month. I have never celebrated nor rewarded myself for accomplishing my bigger goals. I don't believe in rewarding myself for basic every day goals, but there are larger goals that do deserve a reward. I want to set up a rewards list for myself for when I do accomplish those bigger goals.
For instance, I love roses...But I only have three rose bushes at present. It is my dreamt to have a rose garden. This work about the Faith Tree is going to be a bit of hard work with all the digging I'll have to do. When I complete this task I will buy myself a new rose bush.
So that's how I'm currently planning to approach my goals: Being more specific, setting up steps to accomplish and setting a time limit for finishing up each stage. I hope this generates a genuine interest in accomplishing my goals!
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