Friday, November 29, 2013

Is Goal Setting An Art? Part 1 - Growing From a 'To Do' List-er to a Goal Setter

It is that time of year when many of us move into reflection mode on the year that was and ponder our thoughts for the upcoming year.  Granted, it is a skill to run this reflection alongside the buzz and chaos of the festive season, but as natural multi-taskers I have faith in us all!

So in my not-necessarily-quiet reflection, I have chosen my goal for 2014: goal setting!

Let me explain myself...goal setting does not come naturally to me.  'To do' lists do.  I seem to have one growing 'to do' list and I want to learn how to actually get those items marked off.

I am rather short-sighted when it comes to planning and long-term goals because my long term is 3 months.  Life to me is much more fun when lived on impulse.  I do however love to be organised yet become uncomfortable very quickly with structure because it often involves repetition.  I have children though so understand that structure (I like to call it 'pattern') is important for them so we have it.    

In my reflective state this is what I have observed and learned about myself: 

  • because I am a 'to do' list-er, I will give myself a daily 'to do' list.  The time to complete each item may vary from 5 minutes to 20 minutes but if there are about 5 items on the list, I can guarantee that list will be incomplete at the end of the day. Why?  Call me crazy but the list becomes overwhelming.  Let me point out that these are items in addition to my usual day to day activities so it is finding that extra time or more aptly, thinking I will have the extra time in the first place, that is actually the overwhelming element.  Did I mention I am an idealist so tend to think anything is possible?  Then the day happens!
  • I have learned that I am better at having one item on my list for the day (even if it is a 5 minute one) because I am more than half a chance of actually completing it and marking that item off the list once and for all.
  • have you ever heard the saying "You can only eat an elephant one bite at a time"?  I have come to realise that I am also better at looking at the end picture, or goal in this instance, and breaking it down into smaller, more achievable bite size pieces (even chunks are too big for me!).  
  • I work best to deadlines.  Guaranteed, if I have a calendar year to complete a project, I will not look at it until October.  Again call me crazy, but my best work is done under the thrill/threat (your choice) of a deadline.  Giving myself a deadline that I know can be shifted does not work.  I will shift it.  The deadline must be absolute.  

I truly admire those folk who set goals, plan, focus, go forth and achieve.  I would like to have a crack at being one of those people in 2014.  My idealistic self believes it to be possible!  This is why I believe goal setting is an art - because not everyone is good at it. Mine is a little abstract at present.  Give me time.  I will present a masterpiece!

Stay tuned for next week's installment - Is Goal Setting An Art?  Part 2 - What My 25 Year Old Self Saw For My Life at 40+.

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