What's the Point in a Goal?

First: What's a goal? It is a desired outcome.

Second: Why are they important? Because if a person, plant, or animal cannot muster up the candlepower of mental wattage to desire enough for an outcome, there is no need to bother breathing.

Last: What do we do with them? We work toward them. And I believe the best first step is to write them down.

Why? Because if you can think clearly enough to define a goal well enough to write it down, then your subconscious can help make your goal a reality. I have proof!

When I was in school, I watched as flurries of notes were passed about the next heartthrob and the comparisons thereof. Idiotic, I though it. After all, who can define love in fourth grade? Eighth grade? High school? I watched as those around me seemed to flitter here and there, defining their newest date as a love. From fourth grade on, I vowed never to tell anyone I loved them unless it were really true. No fly-by-wind-change love for me. Did I wish to date, kiss, carry on with a less than my true love? Of course. That I called dipping a toe in the lake of life. However, true love would have to wait for a true love in my heart.

But, I did dip a toe in the lake of life. And when I did, I discovered a banquet of options that I would need to choose from. I needed a list of likes and dislikes. By the time I was nineteen, I had noticed that people put more actual thought in the features of a stereo system or a car then in the loved one they hoped to acquire. This little issue I thought the height of, shall we call it foolhardy carelessness? So, in a cabin, high in the Rocky mountains, one day I made the list. Yes, a list of what I best required in a true loved spouse. A shopping list as it were. I still have that list. My husband has all but two requirements. He doesn't like to dance, although he can manage a bit. He isn't always a snappy dresser, although he is capable of it. The list was as simple as a height requirement (for ease of kissing). And as testing as the question about dogs. He had to interact with dogs well. For, I thought, if he does well with dogs, it will tell me how he will treat his wife and his children. I don't like dogs all that much. This was merely a test. He is wonderful with dogs. He can't help but play with them and likes to give them treats. I once watched him talk a huge, not-too-happy guard dog to his hand for petting. It took about twenty minutes, but was incredible to watch. He also likes to play and give treats to those he cares for. Does it get better? I'm spoiled.

What was that list? It was a goal. Did I refer to it often while dating? No. But my subconscious didn't let me stop looking until I found the guy who fit the list slipper. I repeated the same with my two daughters. There was a lot of eye-rolling, stubborn grumbling, and I think some under-the-breath name calling, but I made them put some thought one afternoon into completing a list. One had what I thought was out-of-the-box thinking that was likely to fail. And yet, her list did not fail her. She got what she wanted. Yes, she shed tears over other men, but when she found the one that fit the list, she stuck like a burr. Same with her sister. Not too long ago, I found their lists and sent them a copy, for fun, to show them how close they came. Their choices too, were almost spot on.

Is a goal important? Is it important to write it down? Obviously our answers are YES!!!

Lesser goals than personal happily-ever-after goals are also very useful. A few years ago, then WARA president Pat had us write out goals out for the year. I then lost the list for a while. It was a few months after the year was over I found the goal list. I had managed to meet many of them. Not that they were simple things--like getting dressed most days, no, they were writerly related. My subconscious had used the goals as a map that it used to make choices that led me to achieve better that year than any other.

Write yer durn goals down!
Write down lesser goals that get you going the direction you feel you need to go!
Don't forget goals in other areas of your life as well. You're a well rounded person, right?
The time you spend writing down goals is NOT a waste of time. If you have the time, spend some time thinking about and listing lesser goals that will get you closer to the big goals. The big girls call that planning. I call it essential.


Reese Mobley said...

What a great post! Congrats on sticking to your guns and not settling for someone else. Your diligence paid off in spades.

I'll bet you have a bucket list to go along with your goal list. I know I do.

Nina Sipes said...

Actually, I do not. I have a lifelong habit of trying something new every year. My mom has the nerve, desire, and determination of a glob-trotting adventurer. There is nothing she won't try to go down in, scale, jump off of, or eat. She only lacks the cash to go too far though she has zip-lined, and canoed Panama. I am quite staid, (mom says stick in the mud) by comparison. She is 76 this next February and I've thought most of my adult life that anytime I'll get the call to come retrieve her body from some insane location. I inherited only a tiny spark of her. But it is a spark and I treasure it and her.

Nina Sipes said...

My list man has been with me over 35 years now. And each daughter over 10 years apiece so I think there is merit in the list/goal way of thinking.

Rox Delaney said...

Writing things down is the best way for me to remember them. I'm visual. Even better when those things are steps to a goal are to mark them off. That check mark or line through the item is encouraging and often worth a pat on the back type of mini-celebration.

Thanks for reminded me, Nina! And blessing on you and your list guy. ;)

Nina Sipes said...

My lists are so much a part of me that I have a special leather folder for my purse for the mobile ones. It is then broken up by HOME, TOWN, PROJECTS, PAPER, CALENDAR. And I make my own calendars too. I get a really jaundiced eye over these from my uber organized single-minded family, but hey, it is what works for me. I went my own route for these things because it is so much smaller than a commercial organizer and has what I really use in it the way I use it. Older daughter uses a clip and 3X5 cards for her lists. I have a master cleaning list, menu list, and a whole bunch more that I work on erratically. But they are all working better all the time. The household inventory list is the hardest to remember to keep up, but does it ever SAVE TIME. I'm much more effective with my lists than without. Without, I kick back and do nothing--tried it for a year...Oh, brother was that a mistake.

Rox Delaney said...

I did the Sidetracked Sisters 3X5's for a long time. I was just thinking about finding something for my purse this morning, because I'm always in need of something away from home.

We're a week and a half into the new year, so I don't have to think about anything accidentally falling into the "New Year's Resolutions" category, which would be an instant turnoff. LOL

Nina Sipes said...

The first thing I had was a leather photo folder or top checkbook holder. That's the size for me. Then I added a very small 6 ring binder that fits in it and the calendar. The calendar is like a check register. The top is blank and the month is on the bottom page. This allows me to put telephone numbers or driving directions or special events coming up on all that nice blank space on the top. Each month is different in its needs. Harvest in June, Seed cleaning in August. Harvest again in Sept-Oct. Billing in November. And also Education month is September. I have a page for each town I go to in the Town section. I have a couple of pockets (cardstock)that hold lists of good stuff. Like my furnace filter size etc.

My daughter uses a standard checkbook cover for her calendar and adds 3x5s tucked in for her lists.

Starla Kaye said...

I totally agree that it is important to write goals down. Pretty much anything in my head will be forgotten...maybe in the few seconds after I sort of store it there.

Of course, I also occasionally lose things I've written down. But I put my goals on my calendar in Outlook, which shows up on my iPad and iPhone.

Penny Rader said...

I LOVED your post, Nina. Especially the part about your love list. I have something similar in a not-yet-completed story.

I'm always amazed when I hear someone say, "We don't know each other well enough for ..., yet they've managed to allow Tab A to be inserted into Tab B.

Nina Sipes said...

My memory is like a sieve so I over compensate by note writing on every scrap of paper close to hand. Then I never throw out a piece of paper until it is finished. I even tear the pieces up as I finish parts--leaving me with torn little forlorn scraps of meaningful portions until they too are finished. It can take months to get to the bottom of little piles like autumn leaves. But, they're more reliable than my little two-watt brain. I just wish that my habit of writing everything down in ONE place would take hold. So far, not much progress there.

Nina Sipes said...

Thank you Penny. And I totally agree with intimacy before introduction issues.