I'm usually a big fan of setting goals the SMART way. You know. Having specific and measurable objectives so it's clear what you're aiming for and when you've finished.
That's all fine and good... I'm just not feeling it this year.
I am feeling excited. Hopeful. Anticipating positive change. I love the fresh-start feeling that January brings. But the thought of having a number in my head for weight to lose or muscle to gain is just too heavy for me right now. So is the idea of aiming for a certain amount of blog followers or Facebook likes or retweets.
So I'm giving up on goals this year.
Don't get me wrong. It can be motivating to check things off your list or count down to a target. Do you want to run 365 miles? Making tally marks or adding up your weekly totals can be inspiring! It's instant gratification to visually see your progress.
But when I think about the years I've been surpised at my results, the examples that come to mind are not the times when I was dead set on a destination. My most successful accomplishments have occured when I was focused on just showing up.
The chains of habit are too weak to be felt
until they are too strong to be broken.
We all care about at least some of the same things: family, health, finances. While these categories are broad, figuring out what (or how) you want to change can get you big improvements even without an end point in mind.
What it takes is CONSISTENCY.
I recently saw an article about maximizing your focus and mastering your priorities. It explains a simple way to narrow in on what you want most; and then it tells you to ignore everything else. As moms, we have so much to take care of that this method seems impossible. (to be fair, the article was about business related goals.) But the theory is solid and if you adapt it slightly I think it's a valuable lesson.
This year my areas of focus are:
1. physical fitness
2. my school work
3. blogging and writing
4. improving my marriage
5. quality time with my kids
For fitness, I don't have a certain size I want to be, or know how many pushups I want to be able to do. I just know I want to be stronger, firmer, faster. To make this happen I'm going to BE CONSISTENT and do some exercise every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
My kids are older and busier with their own projects now. But I can make sure I sit with them individually at least for a few minutes EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. They don't need me at bedtime anymore, but they do need to go to bed knowing their mama cares.
I guess I do have a goal for my schoolwork, but I think that's unavoidable with a graded system. I'll BE CONSISTENT by spreading out my homework load instead of procrastinating. (which always ends in failure one way or another.)
Working on my marriage is a big one. I'm not sure how you measure something like that, but how I'm going to SHOW UP in this area is by being honest and open; even especially when it's hard. I prefer to just let frustrating things go and not mention the small stuff. However it seems "small stuff" can turn into big stuff. I've also learned that people define things differently, which is why direct and timely conversations are what I'm going for.
Blogging and writing is what I'm most excited about. I certainly want my blog to grow, and there are other things I want to write as well. I also have a lot to learn so that those things can happen in a way I'm proud of. One way I'll be better in twelve months is by CONSISTENTLY posting here on Mondays and Fridays, with occasional midweek posts and other projects completed as time allows.
Are you setting goals, or choosing another path for growth?