We're halfway through the year. Already.
Instead of setting new year's resolutions this year, I decided to re-evaluate at the beginning of each month what was most important and pick a few small things to focus on. At the end of the month, the list refreshes completely and I start working towards new "goals" - (Yes, I use the word loosely). My word for 2012 is "choose" so each month, picking these small tasks helps me to remember I am choosing what I do and how I spend my time each day.
I have found this method of goal-setting to be pretty inspiring. It works well with my personality, as I totally believe if something sits on my to-do list for too long, I should toss it out the window. As you'll see below, I have not accomplished everything on my lists each month. Although I would LOVE to cross everything off, the focus of these goals is more to bring intention into each month and give me a chance to reset every few weeks.
When I look at the past six months (with things I actually accomplished underlined), it's clear that these lists have held the fun & creative stuff. They are not chores. They are not of the "keep the house from looking like a bomb just went off" or "spend less money" variety (which are also things that I am always trying to do). I like to think of these lists as the positives - things I am choosing to add to my life.
I also notice that each monthly list actually reminds me more of that was happening the month prior than the month I was actually working on the tasks. Obviously, in late February, Paul had just returned home, so my goals list for March was more tongue in cheek - I wanted to enjoy our time together. And then the month of April was stressful and difficult for the two of us. The simplest thing I could think to put on May's list so the month could be better was to "be kind" to Paul. That might seem like a strange thing for a goals lists - I should be doing it anyway, all the time, right? But for me, it was about making it a true intention and thinking more carefully about what I said to him and how I spent our time together. In May, something major shifted in my attitude. Our relationship improved & I noticed a difference in how I felt, both physically and mentally. Making a conscious effort to "be kind" helped me to change my attitude on a lot of other things and I think was responsible for a lot of the good that developed in May and has carried on to June.
Before wrapping up here, I want to address the no email checking goal I set for June because I spent so much time talking about it at the beginning of the month. I'd say I succeeded about 35% of the time. But really it felt like 100% because while I thought the point was to set and stick to a hard and fast rule, it turns out the point was actually to free myself from email stress. And that happened. Saying I "couldn't" check after 6pm meant I had an out. I didn't have to check. I did a good job being present and not pulling up email on my iPad or phone in the evenings. But if I had an extra 20 minutes to myself at my computer at 8:30pm and wanted to open my inbox and tie up loose ends before morning - I could. And I did. Goals, and this one in particular, should help to relive stress - not create it.
I really could go on and on about goal-setting, reflection and making small life changes that add up to big ones. I have thinking about all of this so much because I am currently developing a workshop for Big Picture on the topic of goals. (yay!!) It's something that I had never thought of but when it was suggested at our brainstorming session something immediately clicked. A-ha! This is exactly what I want to teach. More details on the class to follow.