With each new year I find myself thinking about where I want to be at the end of this period of months. I seem start off with similar goals each time: eat healthier, exercise more, be kinder to my family, read my Bible more faithfully, etc. I believe if I engraved this list of aspirations on a golden plaque and mounted it on my bedroom wall I could probably only change the years from one year to the next and never really alter my goals the least bit. It's not the most inspiring way to begin and this year I found myself discouraged at the thought of just erasing the "10", replacing it with "11" and attempting another round of vague feel good ideas.
It has taken me over a week to wade through my lofty ideas and ambitions for the new year. Some are reasonable like: have the baby. Others are more on the ridiculous side: after having the baby and possibly foot surgery and 6 months of recovery reach my prepregnancy weight from before Jonathon. Maybe in Heaven...
One of the things I did accomplish last year- which was not on my goal list- was to read a book about goal setting and thus, I'm strongly considering scrapping the old mantra and replacing it with a new concept to me.
This idea I read about was creating "S.M.A.R.T. Goals".
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for:
Measurable(capable of measuring success)
Attainable(not dependent on another person's attitudes or actions)
Realistic(small enough chunk to actually be successful with)
Time Oriented (have a deadline).
With this in mind, I scrapped the old generalities and added some S.M.A.R.T. to brighten up my dusty list.
I changed "Eat Healthier" to:
For the first three months: keep a food journal, come up with 3 healthy snacks I enjoy, replace evening snacks with water or herbal tea, and note in my journal when I am really hungry or "emotionally hungry". Reevaluate at the beginning of April.
For "Exercise more":
Set a goal to walk for 20 minutes, 3 times a week until the end of March. Reevaluate then.
Instead of "Be kinder to my family":
Develop 2 new ideas for ways to show love during discipline and practice them for 2 months to see how they work. Set aside time at least once a week for a longer one on one time with a child to talk to them, listen to them or focus on their interests. Show kindness to Brandon by picking one of his pet peeves and working to change that habit- write it down and check back each month to evaluate.
To replace "Read my Bible more faithfully":
Purpose to read the New Testament through this year along with my oldest two boys(not depending on them, just doing the same thing) using a Bible reading chart set up for this amount of reading. Use time on Saturday to catch up on any reading missed during the week.
I'm convinced an entire year is way too long for me to make a goal and not check on it between now and then. Since I have always tended towards three month phases (or so I'm told) that seems like a good amount of time to work and then check on my progress. At that point, I can make it harder or easier depending on how I'm doing in a particular area. Three months will be a good transition point anyway because I will have a new little boy to care for by the end of March and that will change a number of things in my life for a while.
The other thing that I'd like to focus on this year is to find ways to build up encouragement in my life and put away despair and discouragement. I'm going to look for inspiring thoughts to print out and put on my walls in places where I'll see them. Write notes and put them in drawers or books that I read. Change my desktop to be something that builds me up each time I look at it. And look for other ways to be encouraged and press on. My hope is that I can bounce some cheerfulness off onto my family rather than throwing grouchy at them so often. We'll see. It's all got to be written down but I'm already working on it.
And to end on a lighter note, Jeff has declared that he wants to be a Daddy when he grows up- which apparently includes checking email, cooking, cutting grass, and making fires. This is one of the best goals I can think of!