Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Planning a Year’s Journey

mountain_highwayDesigning and engineering the journey

Planning the coming year can seem as fraught with hazards and uncertainty as cutting the right-of-way for a highway through the southern Rocky Mountains. While both platforms seem to be anchored in place the reality is that under all the illusion of solidity the whole thing actually is quite fluid.

The civil engineers who design the highway plan for the surface to be solid and durable enough to support the vehicles and yet allow it to be flexible enough to float on the crust of earth amid projected shifts in conditions. Fluidity and uncertainty are important issues to deal with when planning a life in transition. How does one create and set measurable benchmarks while allowing for adjustments so the objectives can remain relevant (instead of becoming obsolete) without being too wishy-washy?

“What do you want to accomplish this year?”

When I realized that my word for the year would be accomplish and a major question I would be answering was “What do you want to accomplish this year?” I borrowed the “Bucket List” idea and wrote down some things I would accomplish if time, cost, and income were no object. For the first time I felt a connection to such a list; and it is a potentially doable list though perhaps not in one year.

From the list a pattern emerged where everything fell more or less into ten categories. Several items overlap into more than one category which is okay; and really could be a bonus. These ten categories divide into the two areas of personal and professional which I consider a less important consideration this year.

The unavoidable reality for this or any other year is that time, cost, and income will never be “no object.” So I went back to the list and from the perspective of “if this were my last year what would I want to accomplish” and picked those things to work towards this year.

Categories and criteria

Instead of being brutally transparent I have decided not to share every specific item but instead the categories and the criteria by which I will consider each accomplished. This way I can work on my first choice item or if conditions fall out of spec I can modify or change the item to meet the criteria of the category. This feels more like a win-win situation and I can definitely use that at present.

The list:

Career/work – work or business that produces income over investment and taxes

Financial – increase income; reduce debt (bonus: retire one debt)

Writing – research and tell more stories; publish a new work or in a new venue (bonus: pay)

Self-care – fitness, nutrition, emotional/spiritual/physical health+wellness; property maintenance

Photography/art – equipment and skills upgrade; find a new outlet (bonus: recognition or pay)

Relational – foster and broaden local relationships; build online community

Biking – weekly destination rides; train for and complete at least one half-century ride (bonus: 2)

Travel – at least one trip out of town with a three-night minimum stay

Volunteer – one regular slot; plus at least one on-call activity per month (bonus: direct a project)

No category – public speaking; create a talk, presentation or story for an audience (bonus: give)

Also, every item and category is represented on my vision board even though I did not consult it before making up the lists or the categories.

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2010 Word of the Year: Accomplish


Melissa Donovan said...

You're so organized! I have a massive bucket list, but I think I would go crazy if I tried to categorize everything. There are just way too many gray areas. And I consider myself a pretty organized girl! My hope for you is that you have fun pursuing all of your accomplishments :)

Deb said...

You know I didn't aim to categorize the list but as I was reading through it these patterns emerged (and I can't ignore a pattern).