Thursday, January 3, 2008

Goal v To Do List

As I try to sort through my goals to figure out what I want my world to look like on December 31, 2008, I keep running across things that need to be done now or soon or yesterday that don't necessarily have to do with my goals.

I am struggling with how to take care of business while keeping the larger goals in my view. I am already bogging down in the minutia of the year and drowning in a fear of failure or, heaven forbid, success.

And I wonder if I am thinking too much and doing too little. Or doing too much and thinking too little.

Oh well.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Goals 1 and 3

I have established my 2008 goals. Numbers one and three are ready. Number two is going to require some honing.

Number one:
I will be healthy as defined:
1) BMI <25
2) Cholesterol range good
3) Thyroid good

4) BP good with medication

Number three:
I will become an enrolled agent

Both of these are on a pretty chart with an action plan & resources needed. I feel pretty good about number three. I feel OK about number one, even though it's a variation on the same goal I've had for 35 years.

Number two is harder. I will organize & clean my house.

This is hard for several reasons.

Like "being healthy," it requires a change of habit in order to sustain any changes. Unlike being healthy, it requires the cooperation of my household, who share my current sloppy habits. While some of them are more than willing to cooperate (at least in theory), some are comfortable with the disorder. They don't even want to change.

A second problem is that having a clean and organized house has become a great specter for me. It's the THING that stands between me and happiness. You know what I mean? If I lose weight, I'll be happy. If I get my degree, I'll be happy. It's the THING that lets me put my life on hold, spending energy planning for after the THING (craft projects, baking, writing). But life goes on even with the THING in the way, and I need to find a way to do what I want and need to do now.

The third problem may be related to the second. I can't get rid of things. I donated boxes of stuff to a yard sale which was not very successful. Instead of immediately calling the Sunshine House to pick it up, I decided to go through it one more time to see if I might need something. Not only did I come home with all of my junk, I ended up bringing home other people's junk as well. Admittedly, I got a nice baby bouncer for Gabe, but at what price? My "den" is now almost as packed with boxes as my "workshop."

So this goal is about more than cleaning my house. It is about freeing my mind and giving myself permission to let go. And while I understand this in theory, it does not make it any easier for me to throw or give away things.

In the next week or so, I'll set as my goal to find a way to make the Goal more concrete, measurable, and sustainable. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy happy new year

I have decided to make my resolutions in the form of SMART goals. It is a method of employee or project evaluation used in education and probably elsewhere. I'm going to give it a go in my life.

Since it comes from the education community, we know that SMART is an acronym.
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Action-oriented
  • Realistic
  • Timely

The idea is that a professional cannot be evaluated with a cookie-cutter evaluation form. It gives the executive/professional responsibility for his/her performance and establishes clear expectations from the beginning. It is flexible, and unless the organization is stagnant (and probably needs to get a new executive), the goals will change every year. An important part is that the supervisor/evaluator and the professional/executive agree that these are valuable things to accomplish this year. Together they set the goals and determine how success will be measured. They will begin on the same page and there will not be any surprises at the end of the year. "What do you mean, I didn't keep the teacher's lounge clean? When you said improve the morale of the faculty, I sent them to Cancun."

I don't know if SMART goals work for personal goals. If I don't succeed, that doesn't mean they don't work for anyone. (DUH). I just know that my previous attempts at action plans and resolutions and charts and 8 X 10 glossies with the arrows... no wait, that was Alice's Restaurant...anyway, that hasn't worked. And as someone has pointed out here before, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is nuts. (But he/she said it in a nicer way.)

I'm still working on my SMART goals. I'll post them and let you know how it works for me. This may take some thought.