|I ♥ my day-timer. Like, whoa.|
Let me digress for just a moment. The thing of it is, I love lists. Like, get a little giddy thinking about how I can turn something into an itemized list kind of junkie. The more bullets the better. It feels logical, and broken down like that, doable. There's something weirdly motivating about checking tasks off a list as I accomplish them. Who needs rewards when I can cross something off, put a giant check mark beside it, highlight it? Strange maybe, but then I never claimed to be anything but.
But back to goal-setting...
When I was a beginning teacher, I was required by my school board to create a list of yearly goals for myself, a professional document that would go on file and would be used at the end of the year as part of my evaluation. (Because being a brand spankin' new teacher and everything that comes along with that wasn't stressful enough, apparently.) We were encouraged to format our goals according to the S.M.A.R.T. system: (also known as Goal-Setting For Anal Retentive Folk Like Me :P)
SPECIFIC - This is exactly what I want to accomplish, right down to the number of words, for example.
MEASURABLE - Easy to measure the more specific you are (ex. word count targets, and so on).
ATTAINABLE - I know what I'm capable of, so I don't overshoot, and I'm less likely to fail.
RELEVANT - This is a writing intensive, right? Ergo, I aim to write and/or revise.
TIME-BOUND - Each goal is contained to a particular 24-hour day.
I guess this method kind of stuck. I continue to use it because it works for me. See, here's the thing: I'm a rationalizer of the worst variety and a pro at procrastination. If I come up with a semi-vague plan, the outcome is never what I'm hoping for and then I feel like a failure. If I have only a rough idea of what I want to accomplish rather than a specific "this is what I need to do", I end up racked with guilt for not doing more. Sounds ridiculous, but it's true. This way, if I commit myself to revising one chapter and writing a minimum of 250 words on a new project in a 24-hour day, I know it's a goal I can not only reach, but most likely exceed. Now that's a 'golden goal' if I've ever heard of one. (That's for you, Erin. And Sid. :D)
I don't mention this to say, "Hey, check me out. I'm a wiz at goal-setting." Rather, it's an approach that I've found useful and figured you might, too. If nothing else, it's a glimpse at the method in my madness, a sneak peek inside this wacky noodle of mine. (Scary, I know. O_O) It's the same reason I exercise on the treadmill for the length of a Veronica Mars episode (42 minutes without commercials) and write out a list of everything I want/need to do each day in my day-timer. (See above.) Works for me!
How about you? Do you have a go-to method for goal-setting? Feel free to share in the comments!