Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Setting Goals; and getting out of my own way

Memorial Day (U.S.) is this coming weekend which means we officially shift into more summer-like activities. It also means that the year will soon be half over. So I have been starting to think about how this year is shaping up and how the reality compares to the projections I anticipated at the beginning of the year. I will do a half-year evaluation on my 2007 God List in a later post but this is more about dreaming and taking risks.

My annual God List is more about areas in which I'd like to see God do some substantial work. I tend to put "big picture" issues on it, but even big pictures are composed of small brush strokes. Anyway, the thing I find harder to do is set out specific things I'd like to do, or try, or achieve. For me it takes less gumption to say I want to see God work in my writing development than it does to say I really want to write a column for the paper and that I want to do it well so that people would actually want to be mentioned in my column.

Why? Because as soon as I do a switch goes click and the voice kicks in that says "You can't do that. Who do you think you are?". Christine Kane wrote about this voice in her blog along with insights for dealing with this and other self-defeating mechanisms and behaviors. The voice is a very deeply ingrained memory steeped in growing up in a family that allowed themselves to defined by the social sets' boundaries of insiders and outsiders. The specifics varied from day to day but the statement always started out "You can't (insert specific here), who do you think you are?" I probably didn't hear it every day - because practice teaches you not to repeat actions - but I heard it several times a week over at least 20 years.

However, all of that notwithstanding, I do want to accomplish and experience some specific things before the year is out so I need to put them down in writing and build a plan for making them happen. But it is extremely scary. It's scary that people know what I think I'd like to do and they might get a laugh at my expense. It's scary because I might look really foolish if none of it comes off. But it's also scary that some or all of it might be successful.

How can success be a scary thing? Well, the process of doing something that could be successful usually means moving outside the safe and familiar. Also it often means interacting with people with whom you are unfamiliar; and if these people have any status the angst is even higher. Another reason success can be scary is that it raises the expectations for the future - both your own and those of others. It can be much harder to risk failure after a success. One final reason it can be easy to fear success is that it is short-lived and someone is coming up who wants to challenge your success. So it can be easy to be sucked into the paper chase of it.

In addition to these added-on barriers to succeeding, or even dreaming in the first place, I am a dyed in the wool introvert. So the people interactions, especially with strangers, that are necessary to accomplishing a goal really drain my energy levels. Sometimes it is hard to put something on the list because I can already feel how draining it will be to achieve. But, according to Tim Draayer of Live Your Best Life, introverts can be successful in high interaction careers, even as entrepreneurs.

With all that in mind here are some things I'd like to do: (in no particular order)

- Phoenix; one of our children lives there now and I have never been to the desert southwest

- Camp on vacation in a different part of our state; we've tended to stick to 3 counties

- Take our granddaughter on a train ride; (a shorty)

- I want to make the column a success; not only for me but for the paper as well

- Bike in segments totaling 200 miles; a few years ago this would have been short

- Find another job closer to home but still have time for the column

- Make some improvements in my blog; new skin, organization tools, refine my content

On the surface it looks like a lot but most things are either a one time deal or are a series of small actions spread over time. So what's on your wish list to see or do before the year is over? I'd love to hear about it.

Updated: Christine Kane just posted about mid-year goal review in her blog as part of her Take Action In May Challenge check these out for more tips.


sylvia c. said...


This is a great list.

You inspired me to send out an email I have been meaning to send out for a while.

Action is key!

Thanks and good luck!

Sylvia C.

G's Cottage said...

Sylvia, you are all about action. I can't imagine you procrastinating on anything. You put me to shame.

Scribbit said...

This is a well written post, and I too enjoy Christine's blog.

Syris said...

Deb - You've got a great list there and now that you've got it in writing all you need to do is set the intention to see it through.

If I can do it, you can do it. Staying the course can be hard but as you try new things recognize that you still have limits. Push against them but give it time.

I'm excited to see you taking the first steps. Good luck and most of all have fun!

G's Cottage said...

Thanks Michelle. From you that is a high compliment.

Syris, thanks for stopping by and for your words of encouragement.

Pieces of Me said...

Hi -
I found you through Scribbit.
I'm really taking the time to read through your blog; you have some interesting observations and like you, I too am a goal thinker. It helps to write them down - using your blog is a good reminder and a good way to keep in touch with that part of ourselves. I'll be stopping by more often.

Nice posts!