Where are you going?

At the first of the year our fearless leader sent us all goal sheets. What's a goal sheet? Well it is an instrument of torture, confusion, and realization that engenders, shock, betrayal, resignation, and finally acceptance. Yes, it resembles getting a dread disease. However, it also points the way to a cure.

Several years ago when our fearless leader previously held the same whip-handed position, she had us learn and set goals. I was shocked then too. First be being asked to set a goal, finding out what a goal was, getting the explanation on how the fool things are supposed to work, rejecting the very nature of self-inflicting such a yoke on mine neck, and generally being a faunching pill about the whole thing. But then I buckled. I can only keep up the howling bits of immature resistance for so long--about thirty minutes. So, I wrote out my writing goals, put the near ones in as well as the far, sent a copy to mine leader (If I remember right), and then went on with life.

But a very strange thing happened. At the end of the year, when I ran across the goals, I was so surprised to find out that I had actually met most of them. I pondered how that could be when I had ignored actively working towards them and discovered (by studying up) that goals can be internalized and therefore subconsciously we use them to make decisions about how we spend our time. The very act of writing them down does some of the work. Did I set writing goals the next year? Of course not. I was in experimental mode by then and wanted to know if I DIDN'T make a goal would my subconscious work on making writing a priority? Guess what, my stinking subconscious went on vacation. NO writing goals were met. She's such a slacker! It appears that without direction she goes nowhere.

Really. This explains a lot. I'll give you a minute to think it through. Go get some serious beverage. I'll wait.

So this year, when our leader sent out goal sheets, I thought, Yeauh, OK, I'm on board with this. Then I opened ALL of the sheets. Geesus, blind, cripple on a bicycle in heavy traffic in a snowstorm! Ok, you swear the way you want to, I'll swear the way I do. Those sheets threw me completely. Why? Because to make my goals fit into my life I had to re-goal or make goals for everything else I want to make progress on. Then I realized my whole life needed an overhaul. No wonder things I was working at piecemeal weren't really being effective.

What could I do about it? Duh. Think of course. What did I really want out of life? What did I really want to accomplish? How many pies did I have that I was nibbling on? So, what did I do? I borrowed a book, a nemesis book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Why is this a nemesis book? Because I had tried to read it several years ago, carrying it with me wherever I went so that I could finish it--and many a time someone would call me and ask me if it was my book I'd left behind. Yup, small communities notice these things (my name wasn't in it). I gave up on it when I accidently left it in the post office and they called me. I was too embarrassed to get yet another call.
I'm halfway through the darned thing and I've filled out all the goal sheets. I've a calendar of events through July with goals for every thing I'm working on and breakdowns on how to achieve those daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, goals on such things as writing, of course, then stickers out of the yard, and all of the other goals I decided were ones I wanted to pursue on EVERY front. You see, that's the thing. Making only writing goals only gets you partially there. I believe it should be integrated in with the rest of my life or it something isn't going to make it and I'm going to be unhappy with myself. I don't like that.

By seeing ALL of the goals in one place and attempting to schedule them in, I realized that there is no way a normal person could do them all. Some things had to be relaxed and rescheduled. Some things had to be let go and not feel guilty about it. The goal setting relieved me of many burdens of inadequacy. Sure, I don't have everything smoothly working like a well oiled gun, but on the other hand, I don't feel like shooting myself either. I'm sure there is a better way to do this, but right now I have a master goal sheet, a calendar that I'm scribbling notes in, a scratch paper for deciding which week of each month will get what done, and when I review these which I do a couple of times a week, I pencil things onto my actual working calendar to get done. Actual doable tasks. Smoothing all this out to where it is easier and faster to do is also one of my goals.

Here's the breakdown: Master Goal Sheet, Monthly tasks broken down into half-month's to achieve goals, Weekly tasks on scribbly junk calendar to help integrate into life with farm, husband, friends, other work etc, Purse calendar that is my life. All are used once a week to plan the next week.

Think of yourself for a moment. Wouldn't you like to be free of mental burdens weighing down your spirits? Then consider setting goals, lots of them, refining them, tossing some away, and then you'll know where you are going and how you're going to get there.

Ever grateful to peerless leader with strong whip arm--Thanks!


Joan Vincent said...

Nina, I love your take on this--nothing like educating, motivating, and entertaining all in one blog! You are very very right--goals lead to production. I too thank our fearless leader for cracking that whip.

Nina Sipes said...

Geese Joan,
I did all that? It wasn't even on the goal sheet. Oh, (slap to forehead)! I FORGOT to put this blog, that I do twice a month, on the goal sheet!!! Yeesh. This goal thingy is going to take some getting used to! Did you fill out ALL of your goal sheets? They're something aren't they?

Roxann Delaney said...

Geez, all I want to do is get these revisions finished before Monday, and you have me wondering what I'm doing for the rest of my life.

Shame on you, Nina Sipes. Shame.

Pat Davids said...

My goal sheet is filled out, my purse calendar is filled with pink check marks for nights I work at the hospital and the blank days are filled with word counts that I need to make in order get my manuscripts done in a timely fashion. I like developing goals, I like writing them out and I like making them. I'm glad I inspired you, Nina. Your prose always entertains and inspires me.

Nina Sipes said...

Ms. Rox,
That, my dear, is a short term goal. It may be absolutely, neck-stretching necessary, but it is a short term one. Now, about the rest of your life, I'll leave that to your sleepless nights and guilty afternoons.
Just kiddin'

Is there a penalty for shame these days?

Nina Sipes said...

If you'd only seen my fevered troll act as I was attempting to put goal sheet to life, you'd have REALLY been entertained. Generally, my life is like an egg sandwich--not really very symmetrical, definitely the mayo is questionable, and the pickle slipped out.

Nina Sipes said...

In all seriousness, ladies, thanks for being kind about the article. I thought I might have blown it pretty bad when you consider it's a lot of overblown hyperbole. It's the way I rant, but usually that's under my breath and people aren't subjected to it.

Roxann Delaney said...

Ah, Nina, I was kidding. Guess I should've added a LOL? Seriously, I'm in awe. Oh, I can set goals--detailed ones. It's the reaching them that kills me. I tend to over-goal, so I have to reel myself in and remind myself that sleep and meals and a little down time are necessary to remain relatively sane. We won't even go into how often and how quickly family can blast a goal to smithereens without meaning to. :)

You're doing great!!

Nina Sipes said...

Me kidding too. I live by smithereens and thought it was my life. Still, the goal thing is giving me some direction. I hope it works long term. I'll never get to stay on contract if I don't figure out SOME sort of system that works by then. ...er...when...if...I get a contract.....