“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.” – Andrew Carnegie
Remember the classic children’s game Pin the Tail on the Donkey? I see on mommy blogs it‘s still a popular choice of party games for kids. I think it has to be for the giggling fits that follow sharing with friends, getting blindfolded, dizzy and embarrassed by pinning the tail in all kinds of places trying to land on the target.
There are a lot of days that I feel like I am in an endless game of pin the tail on the donkey. Just when I feel I am making the way to the target, the economy tanks, a job is lost, a parent becomes ill or a move to a new home needs to happen and all of a sudden; there I am, blindfold on, dizzy and tail in my hand.
My salvation for these times that helps me get my sense of control back is goal setting. Ask my family and friends how many times that one of my goals was to move into a new house in a new town! By writing my goals down and a date of when I wanted to achieve it, it gave me a direction and meaning to the activities during my days. I would plan out any obstacles that I might encounter and then find out the necessary information about the new home and area. I would plan action steps from color coding my boxes to when I needed to inform the cable company of disconnecting me from one end and reconnecting me to another. And I would continually have in mind the benefits of this goal so I would keep motivated during the time when I would want to collapse from all organizing details.
We all have multiple goals that we are achieving every day and because some of them are routine, we don’t congratulate ourselves on achieving them in the same way that we do with large goals such as graduating college or remodeling the kitchen. But getting across town in time to pick up the kids after stopping at the store to buy some things for dinner which you complete early enough in the evening to have family movie night; well, that is remarkable and at the very least should be celebrated with a bag of popcorn that you remembered to get at the store!
As nurses, our goals have been quality patient outcomes and developing our nursing care plans which guides the results of our nursing activities.
Years ago I reviewed a goal setting program by Zig Ziglar and he emphasized that when we set goals, we need to make sure of the following characteristics of an achievable goal. Remember to take time in your life for you and make your life full of quality outcomes. 1.Are they my goals? 2.Is it morally right and fair? 3.Are my short range goals consistent with my long range goals? 4.Can I emotionally commit to my goals? 5.Can I visualize myself meeting my goals?
Michelle, you were one of my early influencers when it comes to goal setting. I remember your telling me about how you had envisioned one of the places you wanted to live, and how you planned for it, and one day had bought the house you had pictured, all the way down to the red barn you wanted to be able to see through a window. Years later when I was preparing to buy my first home, I pulled out a folder and decorated it, putting a big title on the front that said “There’s No Place Like The French’s First Home,” complete with a picture of Dorothy and her ruby red slippers. Having that folder, and filling it with information as I completed the steps toward our goal was MAJOR. In fact, we figured we were 2+ years away from buying anything. But each time I looked at that folder and put a new piece of information inside it, the goal became more real and more imminent. And we bought our house (complete with white picket fence and flag pole in the front yard) just 8 months later.
Now, when I’m coaching my clients, I encourage them to put together a notebook or file with a bold label, like “Kathy’s Next Step” or “John’s New Awesome Job.” Clients say this has a positive effect on them as they work toward their goals. I have to give you credit for helping me land on a strategy that has not only served ME, but my coaching clients as well. You’ve had a ripple effect you’ll never be able to know or measure!
Love this post! I’m a big believer in setting goals…and now helping agencies to develop theirs is what I do for a living! I’ve learned, like you, that setting goals is important, but it’s also imporant to allow yourself flexibility and creativity in acheiving those goals! Sometimes the path to “D” is jumping to from “A” to “E” and circling back to “D.” For type-A personalities, this can be hard to accept…but life really is more interesting when it doesn’t go exactly as planned!