A year ago I started a personal goal challenge that I worked on for about two weeks. I became overwhelmed with my life and the task of daily living became daunting. If you are familiar with my other blog, Coloring Outside The Lines then you are familiar with my struggle with depression and anxiety. Recently my psychiatrist added PTSD and Mood Disorder to the list. I recently had an experience with a shovel that has me evaluating and redefining my life. Through the love of my husband, and those that care about me I am starting a journey towards gaining peace and learning to live life meaningfully.
Something that I feel strongly about is that whatever your religious beliefs are each of us in this spectrum of humanity have a desire to become better people.
Over a year ago I had the following conversation with my husband about choosing 15 personal goals. I had a list of goals, but which order did I want to work on them? I kind of froze, then looked at my husband and asked for his advice. He told me, “I can’t tell you which ones to do!” Oh, I started to steam! I was about to snap at him when he gave me this brilliant idea.
“Honey, I can’t tell you which is most important, that is a personal decision that you have to make for yourself. HOWEVER, this is what I do. I first put the goals down in order of what is most important to me. Secondly I write the goals down in order of what I think is most important to the family.”
I sat down to my task and about 30 minutes later I had two lists.
“Now what?” I asked Scott.
“Take the first three of each list and then order them from most important overall. Then precede to the next three. You may find that within those groupings you come across a goal that is found in both lists, that obviously becomes the top of that particular list. Continue on through until the end.”
I soon learned that fifteen goals, even if I worked on them one at a time, became too much. Part of SMART living for me encompasses finding a way to cope with anxiety, depression, anger, and cognitive distortions. To address these needs I will work on the following attributes that I want to build within myself
- Slow to anger – I have a temper! I find myself getting angry sometimes over the least consequential thing, and I know this isn’t good for me or my family.
- Forgiveness – I find that when I hold onto my anger it breeds resentment towards others, which then restricts me from any type of growth. I really think that as I work on this it will decrease some of the anger that can so easily best my life.
- Patience – um, well I think alot of my anger issues deride from my impatience. It has been the bane of my existence and I look forward to telling you all about it – after I have started working on the first two goals. (gotta keep you coming back for more – right)
- Confidence/Individual worth/Divine nature – This is one of the values that is part of the Young Women’s Theme for my church youth group as a teenager, and one that I think goes hand in hand with confidence and individual worth.
- Orderliness – I really struggle with keeping up on housekeeping, creating and maintaining routines, clutter, and letting go of things that I might need in the next year (but I’ve had them for ten and haven’t seen them in, like, the last 5)
Now that I have my condensed list I can make my SMART goals:
- Specific – what exactly do I want to accomplish? This is the 6 W’s – who, what, which, when, where, why.
- Measurable – I will track the progress that I have made and measure the outcomes of my study and growth. I ask myself – how much, how many, how will I know when I have accomplished my goal. I will record my journey and through reviewing my daily observations I can find patterns to self defeating behaviors and what actually helps me move forward.
- Attainable, action oriented – obviously I want to actually achieve my goals. The best way to do so is to plan carefully. I will create my specific objectives and the steps to how I will get to my goal. I will also record the particular results that I am looking for. What will it look like when I have started to cultivate the characteristics and virtues that will best help me become a better person. Do I have or can I get the resources needed for this goal? Will this goal make me stretch? Is it too easy or too hard? If it is too easy how can I increase the difficulty to build those virtues? If it is too difficult how can I break it down into manageable steps?
- Realistic, relevant – Kind of tied a bit with attainable, but takes it a bit further I need to make sure that I am not making a goal that is just too high. I need to make sure that my goal is feasible. I’m a procrastinator and sometimes I struggle with committing to something. I need to make sure that I review and revise the goal when it is necessary.
- Time bound -When I set a time line for myself I am sending a subconscious message to myself that will then have me automatically start working toward the end in mind. Not only am I setting a date for completion of the goal (or a review time to evaluate how far I’ve come) I will create a timeline. The specific dates on particular parts of a goal – kind of like interim due dates, and finally what can be done today?
So there are the steps to go about accomplishing what I have set up for myself. Next I will define the attributes/virtues/characteristics that I want to focus on – and explain why I have chosen them. Tune in next time.