If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Setting Goals

I'm not one for setting new year resolutions.  I know myself too well.  I know that I won't stick to something for that long!

Maybe it is because I love words too much, but I have never been able to settle on one little word as the guide for my year.

So, when bombarded by all these folks who are transforming and striving to change, even though I feel a bit of pressure to do the same, I simply feel at a loss.

I know I need to set goals for myself.  I know I need to commit to them.  I know because I have seen this work for me in the past.  In 2007 I attended the National Council for Teachers of English annual conference in New York City.  At one of the keynote addresses I was asked to write down at least three goals - one should be short-term and one should be a within-the-next-five-years goal.  I wrote down that I would like to be teaching adults within the next five years.  I didn't give this goal much thought after that.  I just moved on with life.  Then, after five years had passed, I got a post card reminding me of my goal-setting and realized that I had, indeed, met that goal!

In 2008 I began spending a couple of evenings per week as an adjunct professor for a local community college.  Then, in 2010 I transferred from being a middle school English/Reading teacher to being an instructional technology coach for teachers.  Was that something that happened because I intentionally worked toward meeting my goal?  I don't think so.  I do think, however, that it was something that happened because I acknowledged the yen I had for working with adults.

So, when I was seeing people select their one little word or set forth their new year resolutions, I started thinking about my own goals and how I needed to commit to some.  Again, I couldn't land on one particular word or a short list of concrete goals.  Yet, in my pondering and thinking, I was delivered this blog post.  It is written with the intention of using with students to help them focus their own goal-setting as they return to school to finish out their school year.  (Yes, a nerdy, school post.)  However, it certainly helped me to focus my thinking and concentrate on what it is I really should consider when setting my goals.

Goal: Organize our pantry

  • While I don't think it will bring the most meaning to our lives, I do think it will help with meal-planning and grocery shopping and that does bring meaning to time management and healthier eating.
Goal: De-clutter the house
  • Again, I don't think this really matters on a global perspective, but for Mike and me, I think it will help us to enjoy our home more and the space we have.
Goal: Be creative at least once per month
  • I really enjoy crafting - stamping, sewing, painting, etc.  So, I need to set aside time for me to do that.  In the process, I think my mindset will be elevated and I can raise the bar for me to take risks and do things I haven't attempted before creatively.
Goal: Acknowledge people with cards and messages
  • This is something that I was really good at when I was a young adult.  I sent cards of celebration and encouragement and people really seemed to appreciate it.  As my life got busier, I let that fall by the wayside.  So, I sat down with my beautiful new calendar and mapped out all of the extended family birthdays and plan to send out cards and messages.  I know this is a small step toward enhancing the well-being of others but I'm hopeful it will just be a spark that will grow into a warm glow.
Goal: Focus on being able to retire within the next five years
  • This is a HUGE one but one that is really in my heart.  I still love my job and look forward to going to work almost every single day.  Yet, I do notice that I don't have the same energy that I once did and I think I would like to cut back my work time to at least a part-time basis in the future.  So, that can be my long-term goal, I guess.  Mike and I are putting steps in place - like working on our debt load and working toward home improvements for either selling or staying-in-place.  We are discussing what life might be like with a lower income and more time on our hands.  So, we are brainstorming those mini-short-term and long-term steps.
Goal: Take more time to enjoy the present
  • This is probably the hardest one for me.  I have always thought I needed to be productive and have lists and accomplishments at the end of the day, the end of the week, the end of the month, etc.  Yet, I find that I am more able to let some things go that are not really all that important and get to it later.  For example, the pots and pans from dinner last night didn't get washed, dried, and put away till after breakfast this morning.  That is a big one for me!  
There.  I have committed to some goals and given them even more thought than can be expressed with this simple blog post. Of course, with each of these goals and others that we set for ourselves, this set of six questions really do serve as a global guide and should be considered with each decision we make.  I've even posted a screenshot of them to pop in as reminders on my calendar periodically.  Thanks, to Kara for posting them!

(Now, I can check that off my list and get on to my next task.  Old habits die hard, y'all!)