Recently my sister and I were talking about different blog post topics and she recommended I do one on goal setting. I know I’ve alluded to it in the past, but I am not a big fan of setting goals. There is a risk reward balance that I can’t figure out. If I set the goal and don’t accomplish it, I run the risk of being disappointed in the whole goal, even if my failure helped me grow while accomplishing smaller things. If I don’t set the goal I risk missing out on the reinforcing power of accomplishing something you set your mind to.
So, long story short, instead of pretending I’m good at setting goals and trying to motivate you, I asked my good friend Randie, if she would write a post on goals instead. And she did. I present to you, the goal post.(Now if only we had a tip jar.)
Back in January I was contemplating changes that I wanted to make in myself, my life, for my family and in my home. I had recently listened to a YouTube video by Earl Nightingale about dreams and goals and making them happen. He suggested as I had heard before, to write them down where you can see them every day. So I decided right then that a goal/dream board was in order!
My husband and boys were going out of town and I thought it would be a great opportunity to work with my girls on goals. We went to the store, picked out poster board and fun sticky letters. We also agreed that we wanted to write our goals on sticky notes because 1) as we finished a goal, we would have the pleasure of taking it off the board and 2) we could change things around as needed. Little did I realize that the sticky note idea would be bigger than I thought.
As we were doing our boards one night, I let them have free reign. I was interested in seeing what their thoughts were about goals and the things they wanted to accomplish. As I watched my 11 year old, I started seeing a pattern. Her goals were mostly family oriented and things that were pretty general, “do my chores better”, “be nicer to my brothers and sister”, etc. We started discussing how goals are challenges that push us to do better and be better and how it is important to be specific when we make goals. I asked her, “What are some ways that you can do your chores better?” She gave some answers, “Do them without being asked or complaining.”, “Do them right the first time.” Perfect! We were getting specific, but we didn’t stop there. The next important thing when making goals is giving yourself a deadline, a specific time frame in which to complete the task you are requiring of yourself. I had read a meme somewhere that said something like, “A goal is just a wish unless you put a date to it.” It’s important to keep ourselves accountable. We talked about how sometimes the goals we have a pretty big and aren’t things we can accomplish in a couple of weeks or even a month or two and that can be discouraging. We talked about how we can have that big end goal in mind, but that it’s important to make small measurable goals along the way. I knew “doing my chores better” was not going to be an easy goal for this sweet girl of mine, she hates chores! So we started small! We started with “do my chores without being asked for 1 week.” (This is where the sticky note idea comes in great!) She now had a specific, measurable goal on her board. We decided that after 1 week, she would get to take that sticky note down and add a new one on again, for a week. After a week of accomplishing that task, we could increase the challenge to 2 weeks, 30 days etc. I told her that before she knew it, she’d be doing her chores better and she’d be feeling good knowing that she had accomplished the small, yet challenging tasks she had set for herself. As she continued, I started seeing her eyes light up as she thought of things she wanted to work on and the time frames she was giving herself were making me smile. It gave me an opportunity to re-visit my goals and to evaluate the time frames I was giving myself as an adult. Was I being realistic? Was I choosing to be too easy or too hard on myself? Were the expectations I set for myself realistic? (That’s the cool thing about sticky notes… add another in with a smaller goal and you’re golden!) Had I given myself too many goals? That is one thing I had to remember for myself! I had SO MANY things I wanted to work on, that I literally could have filled the poster board, but giving myself time frames to accomplish some of the smaller goals by, was allowing me an opportunity to say, “I crushed this!” as I removed one sticky note and added another on with something else.
Setting goals doesn’t have to be an overwhelming, arduous task. Make it fun! Write them somewhere you’ll see every day! Make them exciting! Make them attainable by breaking down big goals into a series of small ones that you can crush! Give yourself a time period that you can measure your efforts and stay accountable to yourself. Finally, don’t get discouraged if you struggle! Goals are meant to push us out of our comfort zone. If we stay comfortable, we don’t grow. However, if it becomes too hard or overwhelming, break it down into a smaller step until you have the courage and ability to push harder and go further! Remember, if your plan isn’t working, change your plan, not your goal. As Earl Nightingale said, “People with goals succeed because they know where they are going…. It’s as simple as that.”