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Great Expectations and All That Nonsense
I usually begin each year with my set of goals for each of the areas in my life: health, learning, house, fitness, travel, and so forth, yet last year, I didn't. I had no goals. I began the year goal-free and survived. I got through, I didn't necessarily kick huge successes, yet I didn't "fail" or fall in a heap. I did feel at some stages, however, that I was floundering. There was no post out there for me. I had to keep putting goal posts out there.
In the wash up I have taken a long time to "debrief" myself and my year as I have trawled through my diary, picking out the important bits, the quotes, the unfinished business (yes, I am still a paper-leather-bound-diary-no-ipod girl). It has felt like an important thing to do after what has seemed like a really hard year. A year that saw me grieving people, freedom, loss of innocence of my children as they get slightly older and more bolshy, loss of our tightly knit family unit that we had experienced the year before, accepting increase in pain (migraines, back and jaw) after a year of being relatively well managed (we travelled in the outback and bush for 9 months - read "freedom"). That being said, great things have happened along the way. I got myself some great part-time work along the way after being out of the workforce for over a decade, I studied and completed a diploma (I have a history of never finishing courses for many reasons, none of which being that I didn't want to finish), I made the decision to spend more time writing, just writing (YAY!) and I was really happy to see my kids settle back in to schooling life after a nomadic year.
So, I have been debriefing, and realising that I actually need to set myself goals for the year otherwise I have a tendency to drift with the breeze and go with really short term goals. I get frustrated with myself and that then filters through to my little family.
I am taking my time with this goal setting. I no longer feel the pressure that I used to of the date 1 January. For me now it is more about "Where am I now, and where do I want/need to be in a year's time?"
I have broken it up into the different areas of my life:
And as I am visual/colour person, I see each of these areas in different colours, and circles. I have to pop them in circles and then write what I want/need to be in this year in these areas. It is helping me to get some focus in this crazy world where my needs sometimes seem to be the last ones on the agenda.
So, from here, I have been trying to make some SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic time bound) so that I am not either setting myself up for failure or not putting any challenge out there. I think so often we put goals out there at this time of year that are unrealistic like, "I am going to deal with every piece of paper as soon as it comes into the house. No piece of paper is going to lie on any bench." (yes, this was one of my goals one year), and then 3 months in, the bits of paper start to accumulate, a bit of self flagellation goes on, then give up...have set oneself up for failure. Probably more realistic for me would be to decide to set up a system to deal with the bits of paper. I also think that it would unrealistic for me to set the goal of getting a book published this year, but I have to seriously look at how I can put the challenge stick out there for myself so that I don't get mushy and do nothing. Goals are great for pushing me along, getting me out of my comfort zone.
I love the idea of getting to the end of the year and looking back at the goals with a smile and feeling like I have kicked some goals and grown within myself.
Watch this space as I continue to refine...
What are your goals, do you make goals, how do you go about it? Cheers, Meg