As I mentioned the other day, I am a big believer in goals. So much so that I always write them down.
Yet often, when I think of goals, I think in terms of career and professional aspirations. In a way it seems as if this is the way I am wired. (As is the rest of America. We are all about “productivity”. Buncha A-type personalities in the new land, that’s for sure.)
So today I am going to begin with “personal” goals, the non-professional elements that make for a life and not simply a career.
“Be a GREAT father, husband, friend, teacher and business associate.” That’s HUGE to me. And being a writer, I choose my words carefully. It’s not an accident that I use the word “great”. Why? Cause I want to be better than merely good. Now of course, I don’t always rise to the occasion (not hardly!) but I do find that having set my intention to aspire to this level helps me a great deal over the course of a year — especially as opposed to the way I used to live, simply meandering from experience to experience, never having a core set of inner principles to guide me. (BTW, can you hear the Covey influence on my life? That stuff works I tell ya!)
Also on my personal goal list is, “Take care of my physical health.” It’s why I am working to make a greater commitment to yoga. Truth be told, yoga has changed my life (and I am so the “level 1” student that I am not sure if I’ll ever see level 2 — and yet still, yoga treats my body, mind and spirit exceptionally well. I am just a better human being when I do it with regularity.)
Then there’s “take care of my intellectual well-being.” For me this means I must make sure I carve out time to read and write.
Uhm, hello — don’t forget my emotional sanity. I need to make sure I laugh and participate in things that I find to be joyful while recognizing the potholes — the people and things — that make me feel tense, angry, frustrated, hopeless and so on… so that I can swerve away from them at every possible juncture. Look, I ain’t no effin saint and there’s a part of me that is more than willing to lay down with dogs so that I can mix it up and good — but I always wake up with fleas when I do so.
Goal setting helps me to remember this before I ever even encounter these people. (And you know who you are!)
And finally there’s the spiritual side of matters. The key this year for me — I mean it’s a really big goal — is to be more grateful. Gratitude often feels like the antidote for much of the stuff that gets to me and it makes me feel much more deeply connected to God.
That’s right, I said it. I believe (deeply) in God and gratitude really make me feel like I have a connection to this universal spirit more so than so many other things that purport to provide that for me.
No, it’s not the biggest list in the world. (Plus, I do have some specifics to which I will not speak in such a public forum.) Yet I feel that if I aspire to these goals and earn the grade of an A for effort in seeking to reach them this year, the actual results will all take care of themselves.
Focus on the process, know your larger personal aims and put in the hard work — these are my personal goals for 2010… and I think that it’s pretty clear to see that when I attain them (it’s always good to speak in the affirmative when goal setting; nothing wrong with assuming the accomplishment of any of these aims) the tackling of my “professional” goals will not only be much easier but more rewarding as well… because they will not come at the expense of what ought to be the most meaningful to me in my actual life.
Goals: The Personal Before the Professional