I love this time of year. I know. You’re thinking, “Of course you do. It’s Christmas!” You are right, I enjoy the decorating, visiting, gifting and most of all, the opportunity to focus on the heart of my faith. Something else gets my blood pumping as December rolls along. I rev up for some serious goal setting.
Somewhere around the second or third week of December, I sit with my computer, my planner and a cup of something warm to ponder the past 12 months. Then I open to the hope of the coming year. It’s like a blank palette is staring back at me as I stand, brush in hand. Anything can happen. The future beckons, ripe with possibility.
Over the years I’ve used many different tools to help me in my goal setting process. This year I found Michael Hyatt’s LifeScore Assessment. I think you’ll love it too.
You can choose up to ten areas to evaluate. The questions are simple and straightforward. At the end you receive a score – along with a colored wheel (don’t you just love charts?) telling your score and revealing areas of strength and weakness. Following the assessment, Michael gives a little video about your results and then you are invited to attend his free webinar about goal setting.
Want the Dirt?
Do you want to peek behind the curtain at my strengths and weaknesses? I’ll share with you. At this time I need most improvement in the financial, marital and physical domains. (Lucky for you I’m strong in parenting and spiritual domains … since that’s my focus at Heart’s Homeward).
Even though I just lost 23 pounds in 2017 on Weight Watchers, I’ve gotten sloppy. I’ve been hovering around that same mark and haven’t done anything new to push myself to lose the rest of my extra pounds. I also have let my sleep habits slide a bit. I’m inconsistent about taking my vitamins. You see? I’ve got room for improvement.
Our finances need a brush up – we live within our means, but aren’t maximizing our options for our age. I know time and attention needs to go into this area of our life over the coming 12 months.
I have to say I was a bit embarrassed and challenged to see our marriage score low. We have a strong bond. I love my husband dearly. We are honest and open with one another and we have held on through hard times. I saw clearly that I need to put more effort into building Jon up and making special time with him despite the demands of life.
What I’m Doing About It
Besides signing up for Micheal’s Webinar, I’m making a list. I’m a huge fan of the brain dump. If you don’t know what that is, it’s simple. You pour out all your thoughts or your to-do list on paper, and then you sort it out to make it manageable.
I’m doing an end-of-the-year brain dump. I’m putting all 10 categories on paper, but I’m modifying them a bit. For example: I separate work into speaking, writing and consulting. Under parenting, I divided into Shepherding, Teaching and Special Time.
Then I wrote out goals for each area. I asked myself these simple questions:
- Can I picture what I want to have accomplished by this time next year in this area?
- What is most important to me in this area?
- Are there changes I need to make to meet this goal?
- What can be eliminated that is interfering with my progress?
How this works
When I asked “What can be eliminated?” in my writing career, I evaluated my involvement in a number of writers support groups online. I can’t really invest well in all of them. Some really great communities with like-minded people have included me. Other groups feel like I walked into a Target and am passing by random people I don’t really know that well. I decided to “unjoin” the groups that aren’t like home for me so I can invest more fully in the ones where I have kindreds. This will free up time and make me more effective.
When I asked what was most important in parenting, it boiled down to spending more afternoon time baking, playing games and doing crafts with my youngest and his friends. I also narrowed down my shepherding goals to praying in a more focused way, increasing meaningful scripture memory and finding ways to bless others together.
See how this works?
I’m a firm believer in putting every goal into motion. Just how does this work? As I have coached a variety people from managers to stay-at-home moms, I have developed a simple strategy. It’s almost embarrassingly basic in how it works.
I take each goal and break it down into steps. Then, I calendar the steps by making them into tasks for each week. As I develop a regular rhythm, I try to look at what we have going on in a typical week (even though that can vary). Then I schedule actual time slots for working on various steps towards goals.
Moving from a big idea to small action steps
Let me give an example. I want to continue to grow spiritually in the coming year. Certain people and writings touch my heart and help me focus on God more clearly. I plan to add listening to them (on YouTube, podcasts, etc) and reading them daily. Also, I want to pray old prayers. That may not resonate with you, but ancient prayers move my soul. I plan to incorporate an old prayer into my daily morning time with God. In preparation for this coming year, I bought the One Year Chronological Bible. I’ll be reading it inductively every morning.
To incorporate crafts and baking with my son into my plan, I am setting aside a day every week for each of those activities. I made a weekly bookmark for my planner. On it is a bullet point list of goals I want to accomplish each week. I’m ensuring they remain on my radar.
Every big accomplishment boils down to small steps taken consistently. When we set goals, we have to dissect them and turn them into action steps. Putting the steps into our weekly rhythm assures the goals will be achieved. If they aren’t fully mastered, at least we’ll be well on our way towards seeing them become a reality.
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