“It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” -Henry David Thoreau
Oh yes, it is that time of year. When I feel absolutely giddy about GOALS.
But did you know? Only 8% of all people actually keep their New Year’s Resolutions?
On Sunday, we had a family meeting, I excitedly gave each child their very own Goal Binder (yep, I know how to have FUN!) We gathered round and made covers.
First, we reflected on 2015. What was great? What wasn’t so great?
We all agreed, Tenny getting hit by a car was a low point 🙁 Also, Paige did not achieve “cutting stuff.” I don’t know what to tell you. Except you can learn a lot about the people living under your roof…
Next, we wrote down what we wanted to accomplish in the next six months.
To make it a little easier, we divided our goals into categories: spiritual, educational, physical, and personal.
After all the reading and listening I’ve done this year, I’ve learned:
The best way to keep a goal:
- Be specific (“be healthy” is not specific. “Eat 5 fruits and vegetables every day” is better)
- Set a deadline
- Write down the “next action step”
- Be accountable to someone other than yourself
The “next action step”
Writing down the next action step is crucial. For instance, you want to run a 1/2-marathon in May? Then maybe your next action step is to download a 1/2-marathon program. Maybe it’s driving to the Runner’s Ally to buy a pair of shoes. Maybe you need to ask a friend if she’ll be your running buddy every Saturday for the long run.
Want to eat 5-7 fruits and vegetables a day? Perhaps the next action step is to write down some fruits and vegetables that you will actually eat, on your grocery list.
If your goal is to hang family pictures on the wall, then your next action step might be: “Go to Lowe’s and buy nails” or “Gather pictures I want to hang.”
The point is: break big goals up into small, easy steps. Post in a place you will see them.
Wisdom says it’s best to only have 5-7 goals at one time. Otherwise we get overwhelmed. But hey, even 1 or 2 goals is great.
Being accountable to someone else
I have to have running buddies – not every day – but at least once a week. It’s huge for my progress. We text each other, check in, sign up for races together.
My friend, Kelly, wants to run her first 1/2-marathon this June. She schedules her run in her calendar. This appointment cannot be broken! We also email throughout the week to talk about any issues and to keep her pumped up! Accountability, my friends, works.
I should probably have a “cleaning-the-house” accountability buddy. But. Nah.
After the six month goals, we made a list of the goals to accomplish in one year:I encouraged specificity and next action items (working on that 🙂
Next came some fun speculation. We looked into the future. Where do you want to be in life? Who do you want to be? We wrote goals down for:
- the next six months
- the coming year
- the next five years
- the next ten years
- the next twenty years In five years, Paige wants to start her Personal Progress Program (our church’s fantastic youth program), play on her mama’s soccer team(!), and make high honor roll. Her mama approves!
In twenty years, when she is 28, Paige plans on having eight children. Hey, I said be specific!
In 20 years, this darling hopes to be “low-key” wealthy. “Enough to be comfortable, but not mad rich.” Made me laugh.
It was great to see Brynne wants to be brushing her teeth 2 x a day in 20 years 🙂
And it’s good to know I’m going to be a grandmother surrounded by many many little tots.
Thank you, darlings, for giving us a small peek into your personal goals!
There are tons of goal-setting methods out there, countless “how-to” posts and articles. But however you want to improve, I suggest just starting. See where it takes you. Find a method that works and begin, even if you’ve failed before. Procrastination fosters big dreams but kills big goals.
Did you know? A person will set the same New Year’s resolution 10 different times without getting it done?
I love goals, but I’m also reminded that there is a time and place to JUST STOP. To BE STILL. To be happy right where we are right at this moment. I have struggled with contentment for a long time, always wanting to be better at being me. All this “becoming” and growing up has led me to a good place, but now? Stop. Breathe. Say thank you.
We are doing a wonderful job being. Just being. It’s a form of gratitude to sit still and say “thank you for this. And that’s all.”
There are a thousand ways to be a good mother, even if it’s different from everyone else around you. Be happy with that. We don’t always need to be a “BETTER” version of yesterday. Sometimes, we just need to BE.
Maybe that’s a goal for 2016.
Goals shouldn’t make us more busy. No, instead, writing out goals should help us focus on the things that matter most. Goals help me not drift or become too driven by my own ambitions.
Some favorite resources:
“I’m a full-time believer in writing habits . . . You may be able to do without them if you have genius but most of us only have talent and this is simply something that has to be assisted all the time by physical and mental habits or it dries up and blows away. . . .” -Flannery O’Connor
Happy New Year – to your best year!
And of course I’d like to know – do you write out goals for New Year’s?