We’ve been talking about goals. If you have one big goal such as quitting a vice, writing a book or running a marathon, using a structured goal planning method usually is the best way to go. But I’m not working on one big goal. I want to actively make improvements in many areas. I wrote last about taking the good practices of those goal methods and turning them into rules as I inch my way along. Using them as guides will help me to stay focused.
Sorting Thoughts Into Manageable Sets.
There are very specific things I want to work on. When I listed them out, I had about 20 items going down the page. I could add them to a master to-do list. I’m sure I’d get around to working on them. Eventually. But, I don’t want to get to them eventually. This year, I want to start a journey of being purposeful and intentional. I could do them serially one goal at a time. But these are things that aren’t really every completed. Good, unnoticed until they go bad, they are always there. These things in particular are things that we have fallen into over the past couple of years that have taken us backward. I want to break even then begin moving ahead.
My list of 20 is probably very similar to one that many of you would make. It covers lots of things that would make most peoples lives better. It is a very well-rounded listing of hopes overall. Working on 20 different things all at once, well it is daunting. Not to mention very difficult to track.
A list like that gets several well intentioned look overs before it gets forgotten until some future time when we pick it up to see how well if at all we succeeded. Do you know that feeling? Disappointed you did not accomplish more, knowing that most of the things you DID follow through on were completely accidental or only because they could no longer be avoided. Maybe it wasn’t forgotten. Maybe an earnest effort was made – an effort that overwhelmed and led to early burnout.
But as I took a closer look at my list of 20, I could easily place everything into 5 main categories. Some are specifically mine, some are just typical examples.
- Spirit. Not only renewing a relationship with God, which is important to me, but also anything that refreshes or strengthens one’s self. Could include things like getting more sleep, waking earlier to guarantee quiet time, self-pampering, hobbies, education in new things or formal education, career goals…
- Family and Friends. Improving relationships and more cooperative living. One on one time with each child individually, date night with the spouse, renewing friendships, group gatherings, enlisting more assistance/delegating, offering strengths/resources, enlisting the same….
- Health. I’m not a big fan of the losing weight resolution in spite of really needing to shed pounds. Going toward improving health overall, should result in a better waistline without the bad side effects of some diets. Some examples – cooking healthier, exercise more, improving tone and flexibility, finding a good diagnostic doctor….
- Finances. Reducing debt, trimming the fat, automate, conscious giving, being a better steward….
- Spaces/Systems. Making the house into a home. Improving function, efficiency, appearance, warmth, simplifying, repairing, …..
Inching along, making continual efforts on 5 areas of my life is manageable. Very doable! As you look at each of those categories and the examples, in many instances working on one will cause an improvement in 1 or more others without any extra effort.
I now have a list with 5 categories and give or take 5 smaller goals similar to some of these examples within each of those categories. One more page to add to my home planner.
Before I printed this page out, I went back and wrote out an overall purpose that suits my intentions for the year right across the top of the page. A mission statement or theme if you will. For me, it came directly from the statements on the inspiration page I made the other day. Here it is:
My main goal is to look toward abundance. True abundance. I want to increase my awareness of the presence of God in my life and renew my relationship with Him. I want to bring (and be more aware of) the graces into our lives this year, particularly in the home. I want to be more intentional and purposeful this year in my thoughts and practices.
For me, making improvements in any of the areas will be a step toward abundance. Keeping the overall purpose in mind while working on each of the individual goals will help me to be more conscious in my decision making and keep me motivated.
I’d hoped I’d have more time to write today. Next time, I want to talk about ways of tracking progress. Make sure to stop by to share what you are doing. I think I have figured out a way to try, but I’m always up for another solution that might work better.
If you are still following along, can you take your goal list and turn it into a few overall categories like these? Which ones are you working on already?