Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Setting Manageable Goals

I've reached far more goals in my life since I started using a system to track them. The key, however, is  that I've discovered goal-setting, and in particular, goal-REACHING is fun. That's right: it may take work and discipline to reach a goal, but there's so much satisfaction in getting there, that it's all worth it.

I'm going to share my system with you, and it's one I've gleaned from countless books on time-management and goal fulfillment. As an author who is also a homeschooling mother of five, I've HAD to study time-management to make my life work. But you are likely just as busy as I am, if in other ways. So this will help you or anyone who needs to get purposeful with their life and know that they're getting somewhere on the treadmill of time.

 I've discovered goal-setting, and in particular, goal-REACHING is fun.

What To Do:

One: Write a Master List of at least 100 goals for the year.

That may sound like a lot, but the idea here is to dream big, think big, and focus on what you really want to achieve.  I include five areas of my life when I write my master list, so if you put about 20 items beneath each of the five headings, you'll easily reach 100 goals. Once you get the hang of this, you'll probably have more than 100 goals each year and wonder how you ever lived without writing down these things.

Two: If you haven't already, separate your goals into five main headings, such as: 

  • Personal (losing weight; getting up earlier; speaking more kindly to your mate, etc.) 
  • Family (turn off the tv at 9PM; have a reading night; eat breakfast together before church, etc.)
  • House and Home (Fix the wallpaper in the dining room; paint the hallway; etc.)
  • Career (finish that regency romance in my files; flesh out the two I already started, etc.)
  • Finance (open a Roth IRA; save a 6-month emergency fund; pay off student loan, etc.)
You may want to put a sub-heading in your PERSONAL section for "SPIRITUAL", but I simply include my spiritual goals within the personal heading. (For ex., Read through the Bible; study servanthood; spend five extra minutes a day in prayer, etc.)

Three: After you've sorted your goals into their proper spheres, now is the time to go over them again and prioritize. Choose first your top ten goals.

  •  If I had to choose only ten things to accomplish this year, would this be one of them? 
  •  Is this a non-negotiable item? Something I simply MUST do, have, achieve, etc.?
Once you get your top ten goals, put them into their own separate list.

Finally, using your Master List as a guide, and your top ten goals, create a MONTHLY goal sheet.
You can do this one month at a time. I love to take out my master list at the end of each month and see how I'm doing on the grand scheme of things.

My January list has 34 items, all from my Master List. Some of them are aimed at helping me towards one of the top ten. Not all goals are one-time things you can scratch off a list. Something like "eat more healthy meals," has to be on-going, for example. But I can still give it a check if I've made progress in that area.

Don't Forget

No amount of setting goals will help if you write your list and then forget about it. Review your list often. I check my monthly list about once a week.

Be Sure Your Goals are Measurable

Again, if I write something vague like, "Eat more healthy meals," how will I know when I've reached my goal? Do I need to eat three more healthy meals a month, or one healthier meal a day? So be specific. Write something like, "Order out no more than twice a month." That is something you can measure, and know when you've achieved it.

What about you? Did you set goals this year? Have you found a goal-setting plan that works for you?
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More about goal-setting in my next post!

PS: The Sale is still on!

At the time of writing this, my first regency romance, Before the Season Ends, was still on sale for only $2.51. Please pass the word!

Thanks, and Warmest Blessings,



George said...


Great post! -- Goal-Setting and Goal-Reaching are, in my very humble opinion, a vital key to a happy home.

Brenda and I do this every year at about this time and it helps us to see how we both expect the new year to roll out. It opens communication and helps to preempt conflict and missed expectations.

We’ve been at this ever since our first date, almost 36 years ago, when the gutsy red-head I later married told me she had priorities in her life, and that she planned to stick with them. Her priorities, in order, were: God, husband, children, extended family, work/career, home, and community. When she told me this, I asked her: “What about you? Where are you on this list?” And she said: “Well, I am all of those things. That is my life.” I asked her for another date, and even though we’ve been married 34 years, we’ve been “dating” ever since.

Over time we have adjusted our planning and priorities to meet changes and new needs in our family’s life, but the core areas and ranking has remained the same.

I encourage your followers, if they are not already doing some kind of personal or family planning, to give it a try. The Bible says it in so many ways: In order to build, we must first plan.


chaplaindebbie said...

Well, I sat down this morning and wrote up a quick outline of your goal advice. I am going to try and do this for the year 2013 and see how much more organized I can be; and to see how much more I can accomplish. Thanks for the great advice. :)

Linore Burkard said...

George, what a great comment! Thank you. I hadn't even planned on mentioning that goal-setting can be a mutual endeavor, shared by marriage partners. You and Brenda sound like a wonderful example of how beneficial this discipline can be--not only for life in general, but for marriage and family. Congratulations on your 34 years, and I'm sure you'll be blessed with many more! Thanks for posting. (And nice to have you here at the blog.)

Linore Burkard said...

Good going, Deb! I'm sure you'll find that every minute you spend on planning is well worth it. They say you can't reach what you don't aim for, so happy aiming! Let me know how it goes for you, and thanks for sharing! I'm honored to have helped.