Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Art of the Goal

I used to make a to do list every morning. If I didn't finish everything on the list that day, I would just move it to the next day. Slowly, the list got longer and longer until I would dread looking at it. I knew something had to change. 2012 and turning 30 brought so many feelings of urgency to accomplish things or change certain things in my life. Those lists included small tasks I had to go, but lacked things like learn to sew, try new foods, travel to those places that make my heart skip a beat and make my marriage stronger. Those were some of the things that should have been on that list but the list was so long there was no room for the things that really mattered.

I began to analyze why I wasn't making changes or feeling fulfilled, and moving to Minnesota gave me more time to think about this. I wanted to help people, to learn new things and to experience life...really experience it. I decided to pick a new goal every month. My to do list would include at least one small thing a day or every other day to get me closer to that goal. Each goal includes a specific thing that is measurable (not to lose weight but to have a specific, measurable goal like join a new workout class or take something bad out of my diet), has a deadline, and is completely realistic and obtainable. If your goal is huge, break it down into a little chunk. If you want to lose 50 pounds, start with a smaller goal such as going to the gym twice a week.  Then add diet changes and walking the dog twice a week.  See, breaking it down makes it way easier to get there.

My first goal was to learn to sew. I decided the best way to do this to just join a quilting class, forcing me to learn to sew quickly and learn something challenging in the process. My first class was hilarious as the teacher showed me how to turn the machine on and thread a bobbin. By class four, I was actually sewing in a straight line and by the final class, I had a small baby sized quilt and a new sewing machine. When I would go home, I would rewrite out the instructions. Each day, I collected sewing projects to do on pinterest. Another to do was to actually purchase the sewing machine. Do you see what I mean by breaking each goal into miniature steps to help you accomplish what you want?  It works.

I realized that when I had a goal written out and paced somewhere where I would see it everyday, it was more likely to get accomplished. I now make one big goal a month and smaller goals per week.  the larger goals may span over the course of several months, but I work really hard at adding activities to my to do list that help me accomplish my goals.  Another thing that changed was I was only able to add five things to my list everyday.  Most of the time, I can definitely accomplish five things.  Any more and I just cannot keep up.  But five things is doable.  I realized lately that life is flowing my smoothly and I have time for many of the things that really matter. I think my goals are the secret.

I use this post it note goal sheet to be able to change them weekly, and the larger goal is always top left.  Good luck accomplishing your goals!

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