Today in sacrament meeting, I watched as a little three year old girl nervously waited for Rick to pass her the sacramental dish of water. She was shifting her weight from foot to foot and kept looking back at her dad, who was smiling and nodding encouragingly. Rick must have seen the signs too, and gingerly placed the tray into her waiting hands. She looked at him before she turned away, as if to say “I got this”, and then, carefully balancing the tens of tiny water-filled cups, served her father. Once she had passed the tray on to him, and he on to his wife, the little girl beamed as she climbed into her dad’s lap. He embraced her and I saw him whisper, “You did it! Good job, honey!”
As I watched this exchange, and the complete joy shared by father and daughter, I was reminded of the happiness that comes when we make and reach our goals, regardless of how big or small they seem to us or those around us.
In the late eighties and early nineties, the Franklin Planner was a BIG deal. They had only started selling them in 1984. I remember as a sixth grader in 1987, my teacher handing out the small grey binders to every student. They were full of lined calendar pages and had one of those clear, detachable rulers to mark your place. Each morning, we’d sit and plan the day. We’d write in our daily and weekly goals and order them by priority. Each afternoon, we’d evaluate our individual progress and plan for the next day. It was very satisfying to check off the goals as they were accomplished.
These days, instead of actually writing my bigger goals down and planning them out daily (or even weekly... or monthly), I sit with my family at the beginning of each year and we write our promises for ways we’ll improve our lives. Then we put them into a little envelope and put those into a little box and tie the box with a little ribbon and tuck that little gold-ribboned box safely away so that we can surprise ourselves at the beginning of the next year when we find out if we accomplished our goals.
While I cherish the tradition of family goal setting, I cringe to think that I truly cannot remember anything that I wrote down. Sure, I’m fairly confident that I could make a guess at what I told myself I’d work on this year, but that’s pretty pathetic. If I don’t know what my goals are, how on earth can I expect to actually achieve them?
Searching online for “goal setting” brings up nearly 29 million results in half a second. Everyone seems to know what to tell me about how to reach my goals. I have heard over and over and over again that in order to reach any goal, I’ve got to write it down. That part I have no problem doing. It’s the other stuff that leads up to actually accomplishing the goals that I just don’t do. Michael Hyatt (a guy I only know about from googling "goal-setting, but seems to have some sound advice across his blog) shared five sage principles to keep in mind when setting goals:
- Keep them few in number.
- Make them “smart” (Specific, Measureable, Actionable, Realistic, Time-bound).
- Write them down.
- Review them frequently.
- Share them selectively.
Moving into the new house has been wonderful, but it has shaken up life in a big way. I now have an even huger list of things to do. It’s pretty overwhelming and I often find myself “keeping busy” with less important things just because I don’t really know where to begin. I haven’t had a plan of action, so things just aren’t getting done.
With a renewed outlook, I am going to tackle my list of goals. But I’m not going to tell you what they are. Suffice it to say that as I accomplish them, my cheerleaders will embrace me and say “You did it! Good job, honey!”
True to my word, I've been trying different ways to prioritize and plan each day in order to be more productive. On Monday and Tuesday I used a template off the internet (on the left in the photo below). I really liked that it had separate columns for "To Do's" and "Goals". I had always thought that if something was on my to-do list, then it was a priority for that day. Seeing these as two different categories really brought my stress level down. However, the template also had a lot of categories I didn't care about using, so the search went on for something more useful to me.
But on Wednesday, when I had decided not to use that template, and I also hadn't found anything else, I didn't plan my day. And even though I got stuff done, I ended the day feeling like I hadn't been as productive as the previous two days.
So, today, Thursday, I'm using an old daily notebook I bought last year, during a different attempt to be more organized. Already I feel more productive, having thought about the bigger picture of what I need to do longer-term, and separating out what I want to get done today.
Though I'm still on the search to find the perfect daily planner for myself, I'm super happy that I've already learned a little bit about more about prioritizing!