Our last post helped us to understand our why in setting goals and making plans. There is more to it and we dive into a few more questions that will help you understand the planning process. This is part 2 of a 3 part series. Let’s jump right into it…
What will hinder you in achieving this goal?
(This is the time to be honest with yourself. Do you self sabotage by procrastinating or allowing distractions? Is there someone in authority who will pull you in a separate direction? Are there demands on your time or schedule that you can not compromise or change?)
What will change or need to change?
(Will you have to move? Will your schedule have to change? Most things require time and energy and it is very important to be very realistic about where all of this will fit with your lifestyle. It is this part that people overlook, but must not when making realistic goals.)
Some people may ask “where do I began?”
(Take time to gather information about the topic. Make sure to note if there are various steps indicated in obtaining your goal. Also note if those steps also have timelines. Are experts in that area available to answer questions? Can you find a mentor in that area to help you understand all of the expectations?)
The next post will conclude our “Why” series. What other questions do you ask yourself when setting goals and making plans? Share them with us in the comment section below. We would like to hear from you.
Are we all looking for the gold at the end of the rainbow? Is that a fair way to describe a dream? Well, all I know is that dreams do come true. We set goals and plan because we believe that things in our lives will be better if a change happens. Most of the time, we understand that for that change to happen, we must plan and prepare for it. We must also be honest cfc with ourselves in understanding our “why” in setting that goal. The why helps us to understand the priority we have in that thing. It also gives us the motivation we’ll need if things become challenging. There are other questions you will need to also consider when makes goals. The who, what, and when are all a part the process as well. The best foundation for your goals and plans will be established when things are well thought out.
Why are you setting this goal?
(Try to avoid blanket statements. “I want to be successful” was the blanket statement I used. Well, How do you define success?)
Why do you want to accomplish this goal?
(Is this for you? Is this someone else’s dream or goal? Avoid blanket statements and be as specific as possible.)
Why do you think this is the best solution?
(This goal will accomplish what for you? How is this the best solution to the problem you may face?) This question is to get you to think about your attitude regarding your goal. You want a healthy approach to any goal. Making a goal in desperation happens, but often we’ll miss important things that needed to be considered. There is no golden egg solution that skips us into Neverland, but with effort, dreams are made to come true. This question is to help us reflect on the things we are thankful for currently before accomplishing the goal. What are some of your strengths? What do you love about yourself? No dream, goals or plans can take the place of healthy self-esteem. You are wonderfully made and like all of us wonderfully flawed. You must learn to accept that or success will feel empty. Answering these questions will help you to see if you are approaching the goal from a healthy outlook. If you can not verbalize the things you love about yourself or things you are thankful for, then you may need help by a counselor or other licensed professional to help you through this step.
So, what do you love about yourself?
The Little Red engine faced his biggest challenge, and as he climbed the hill, he encouraged himself. He repeated, “I think I can, I think I can.” Getting to the top was his goal and pure hope and determination gave him the strength to push forward. Like that engine, we will face mountains we will need to climb. Goals strengthen us because the only way to the other side is to push past challenges. I define goals as a hope for a specific outcome. It serves as motivation and a guide. Goals are to be placed as the first priority in the planning process. It is most important and should not be overlooked.
Years ago, I worked in direct sales, and controlled when and how I worked my business. I decided what I would do after I established my financial and leadership goals. I worked very hard, but I was disappointed at the end of each month. I had to ask myself, are these the wrong goals? I gave myself time, and and after a while, I began to understand the company’s sales algorithms. The top salespeople sold a certain number of units each week consistently. They encouraged us to only work on the things we could control. We can not control who would buy or what they would buy, but we could control how many people we spoke to each day. We could control how many phone calls we made each day. I began to realize that consistency in the things that I can control was my best form of accountability. It was also my favorite measure of success. Success was not based on the outcome but on my consistency as I met each challenge.
My goals changed from being result oriented and became action oriented in describing my desired outcome. For example, instead of saying I want to sell $1,000.00 in products, I say I want to sell 100 units to reach my goal of $1,000.00. In turn, I’ve changed the way I plan. My plans became task oriented and served as helpful action points in achieving the prize. For example, I can plan to speak to 10 people a day (which can make approximately 3 sales).
This example of an action oriented goal can be changed to even meet student’s needs. For example, instead of saying I want an A on my math test, I would say I want to study 2 additional hours this week to make an A on my test. My task oriented plans may include studying math facts and practicing additional problems for 30 minutes each day. Those 30 minutes do not include the normal time I take completing homework assignments. You may need 30 minutes with a tudor or a teacher, and that is to be written into the plan. These are only examples in helping you to understand goal setting and the role it plays in planning.
I conclude with words of encouragement. Life is full of the unexpected. There will be times when things do not work out. Planning does not shield us from people hurting our feelings. It does not shield us from disappointments. I have learned to have faith in God and this has produced true confidence. I believe that God blesses beyond anything my efforts alone can produce, so I include prayers as an active part of the planning process. Planning is not a perfect remedy, but God gives me perfect peace with whatever comes. “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” – Proverbs 16:3
I’m not an organization expert or planner guru. This is not an advertisement. This is for people who are looking for wisdom regarding planning.
Planning is for the wise and the strong. It is also for the weak and faint at heart. In grade school, I had problems focusing. After almost an entire year of fun and games from the back of the class, the teacher finally contacted my mother to tell her of our failure. It was a failure to complete assignments, a failure to determine how much I had grown, and a failure to succeed in making me third grade ready. She could not allow me to ascend to the next level if I was not proficient in the basics. That year I made an amazing discovery and realized that I was easily distracted. It was a wake up call and I understood all that I could loose if I did not focus. Planning is my way of making sure I’m remaining focus.
When I pull out my planner, I think about the appointments I have during the week. I then think about my goals for the week. Do I have any assignments due? Am I responsible for organizing an event or gathering (small or large)? These are things I must think about when sitting to plan. Just a side note, I am a bit “extra” when it comes to planning. I am beginning to break almost every task down into smaller steps. This helps me to evaluate how much I can realistically accomplish in a certain amount of time. For example, if I need to make a phone call, I need to place the number beside the task listed. If I do not have the number, then a phone call is placed on the “to do” list and I leave space for finding the number. It becomes a two part action.
Although time is like money, never forget people first before things. Planning is only a tool. With that in mind, using my planner helps me to appreciate how my time is being used. I can even celebrate small failures. What others may call wasting, I call investing. For example, if I spend four hours on the phone with my sister for her birthday, then I am making an investment in her and our relationship. I can look at my huge “to do” list and reflect on how she is more important than all of those items combined. Although time is like money, love should always be first.
First, I can only accomplish living well and traveling well with prayer. I can not take credit for the favor that my family received on these trips but I can share the process. In fact, this summer we took a short family vacation. It was a small getaway of four days and four nights to Pittsburgh, PA., “Home of the Steelers”. Nice people by the way. We had so much fun bonding and catching one adventure after the next. This was truly an adventure full of grace.
Secondly, to travel well, we must refer to our foundational principles for positive posture, we definitely will need to have clear goals. Without established goals, you can get lost. Many people get lost in “chasing” the best deal and forgetting all that glitter is NOT gold. This applies to all things in life, not just traveling. Once you have outlined the things that will make your trip comfortable, you begin to realize that the best deal is not just about money. It is about how things align with the experience you are trying to create. This recent trip to Pittsburgh was an idea that originated from my husband’s desire to attend a Steelers game with our six year old daughter. My nine year old, a Redskins fan, and I only planned to tag along to just getaway. I think of this short trip as a bucket list item for my husband. He wanted to be downtown in walking distance to everything. He added that he wanted to expose the girls to nice things, so he wanted to stay in the best hotel in Pittsburgh. As a budget savvy Mommy, I do NOT mind. I just need clear goals so that I can look for the coupon for it. And even if it does not go as planned, at least you have a strategy or game plan to serve as your default.
The third step, you must have a good attitude in order to travel well. Earlier I mentioned that plans may not go as planned, but the right attitude will help you to feel that it is part of the adventure we call life. Every challenge carries with it an opportunity, but most of the time you can not see it until the hard part passes. To smile in the heat of adversity is almost like you are standing and seeking the face of God.
Finally, make sure you have tip money. It is better to give than to receive. Tipping reflects on you. It relates a message that says “you believe in adding to the quality of life for others”. Inadvertently you add to your trip by showing appreciation for others. This also helps you to fight the temptations of filling your trip with empty pleasures, missing the purpose of any trip. I see a trip as taking a date with yourself, and part of being good to yourself is being good to others. It is a time to reconnect with yourself and those you love. Sometimes we can loose touch with what matters in our day to day. Most trips remind us that the world is bigger than just what we see every day. I hope this helps you to reboot.
Parenting is a tough job, but it is the most important. We all want to get it right because others are depending on us. Unfortunately, we will make some mistakes, but you must remember that perfection is not the goal but love is. It is no perfect way for raising children but there are some timeless principles. There is one that I’m just learning myself. The principle of grace.
My mother was pretty tough and a fair disciplinarian. She was far from perfect and life in a dysfunctional family was anything but easy. The only saving grace was that she loved me. As I matured, I respected the boundaries she set concerning us. It fostered a respect for her and even when we were away, I considered what she would say about my choices. She also had respect from others because of her no-nonsense persona. She knew how to put people in their place. It appeared that she was so good at handling us; hitherto, I believed that shaming a person was the way to put people in their place.
Her tough demeanor became my tough demeanor. Being tough was my way of coping with the challenges of life. I had many coping skills but the only problem is that those coping skills lost their effectiveness. What worked as a child was no longer working for me as an adult.
Recently I read Shepherding A Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp. The biblical approach paralleled with a lot of my personal experiences and beliefs except on one point. I had never seen efforts taken by my parents to preserve my dignity whenever I made a mistake. I am NOT saying that it was my parents’ fault and they had to teach that. They did their best with what they had. I am saying that I never saw it before and did not know how to extend it to my family.
Tripp wrote that our job is to help our children to be honest in recognizing their weaknesses and needs. This is another healthy skill I had to learn as an adult. I was a quiet child at heart and rarely shared things that were on my heart. I had to trust that it was safe before sharing because of the shame I carried with so many of my memories. When I became truthful in recognizing my weaknesses and needs, I was able to handle challenges in healthy ways. Our children will also benefit from being honest with themselves and in learning how to communicate their needs. This is important in managing the challenges of life.
Tripp used scripture references from The Bible that spoke volume and I see them as instructions for marriage, parenting, friendship and everything else. Proverbs 16:21, Don’t berate with destructive words. Proverbs 16:23, Wounding their spirit only deepens alienation. On page 207 of his book, I like how Tripp defined our responsibilities. He said as parents we want to teach our children how to take their sins to the cross, find forgiveness, and the power to live.
Have you ever seen a personal weakness surface in the lives of your children? How did you handle it?
The 40 Days to Positive Posture was full of hard work. I challenged myself for weeks to walk greater distances. I was determined to smile more and chose to rejoice even in difficult circumstances. My view on life was being transformed. When I welcomed challenges, I realized they were doorways to opportunities. A variety of opportunities but the best was choosing to grow into a better person.
I concluded this personal posture challenge with an “all out” two-part finale. I participated in the 2017 Mrs. Maryland America Pageant on a Saturday. It was not going to cost me anything but efforts in working on my posture. The next day, to add to the fireworks, my family ran in our first 5k. A dream of mine is to participate in Marathons. I ran in high school and college but did not want that to be it for something I enjoyed so much. Since college, life became complicated. My legs gave out and walking became difficult. Last year at this time I was exercising under strict supervision. So this 40 day challenge was my way to share a recovery journey with you.
This challenge encouraged me to reflect on my attitude when facing physical challenges. I conquered some of the tough things with grace when I was determined to do so with positive posture. The way I carried myself garnered positive responses from others versus the times I didn’t care. When I walked in Positive Posture, I actually grew in an understanding of my own personal worth. I did not win the state title, but I was more honored to walk away with the title of Mrs. Bethesda America 2017. I was a winner whether they crowned me or not.
The 5k was its own challenge, and my 5 year old felt it the most out of all of us. This was her first full year of doing various runs, so a run of this distance was definitely a stretch for her. Although I had the experience decades ago, it felt like it was my first race as well. Early in the race, I saw a girl in a wheelchair being pushed by her sister. It was the most beautiful thing and I could not hold back the tears. Living with a disability will carry its own challenges, but it isn’t a limit on how much of life we are able to experience. We can choose to conquer challenges with grace when we choose positive posture.
Positive Posture is a choice. It is more than just physical stature. It is a way of thinking. It affects our personal abilities to overcome challenges and it affects how others see us. It is the decision to finish gracefully.