Sunday, January 12, 2014

Setting Goals 2: Couleurs de Provence and a Realistic Date

Couleurs de Provence
I signed up for a month of "small" goal-setting exercises at Daily Challenge.  It seemed like an appropriate thing to do in January of a new year.  However, the "small" challenges seem really HUGE and difficult to me.  Today's challenge is even more difficult than yesterday's.

Here is the challenge:

Stop settling for "someday" and set a realistic date for reaching a longtime goal instead.

How to do it
Think of at least one of your goals that has "someday" as the due date. For example: "Someday I'll organize my book collection," or "Someday I'll send an email to that person I've lost touch with." Instead, identify a realistic date for when you can reach that goal. The length of time isn't important - maybe it's three months from now or maybe it's a year. The next time you mention that goal, pledge to replace "someday" with the specific date you chose.
This may not seem that difficult, but to me it is.  Or, it feels that way.  The thing is, the BIG goals, the ones I really want to accomplish, are not things I can easily set dates to.

My BIG goals include losing weight, finishing the first draft of the novel I am currently working on, finishing the children's book I am currently working on, finishing other books and big projects I am working on or keeping on fire on the back burner.  None of those are things I can set a date to.

I will, instead, set an intention, which I mentioned yesterday:  Completion.  My intention is to complete one project before I start the next one.  This sounds relatively simple, but is actually really complicated, because I have multiple projects already in progress and projects of various sizes and projects with various deadlines.

I'm having trouble figuring out how to wrap my mind around this.  For example, I like to alternate doing art with writing, because it cleanses the mental palette.  I also have poetry and fiction projects going.

I was impressed by Henry Miller's "Commandments."  Especially commandment #1, which I need to seriously consider.

I don't want to make "commandments."  I do want goals and intentions. And I want to come back monthly (at or near the beginning of each month) and evaluate my progress and remind myself of my goals.

I got all panicky thinking I had to make some huge commitment to finish something major by a given time, but then I reread the assignment and saw that the examples are small things like getting in touch with someone you hadn;t seen for a while.

I just recently did that, got in touch with an old friend I hadn't seen in maybe 15 or more years:

Oops, caught her with her eyes closed.  It was a treat to see her.

But, that's not solving the current problem, to stop procrastinating about something.  I get panicky making commitments about the future, so I say to myself, I stopped doing my exercises when I was sick, and then I was busy with NaNoWriMo and the holidays and traveling and I really want to get back to doing them, so I go do them.  Finally.  Now if I can just do them again tomorrow.

And I've been wanting to put the new CPAP masks and hoses on, so I go do that, and then I'm on a roll and change the sheets on the bed.  I've been wanting to move the couleurs de Provence pigments from the cute little containers they came in to something usable and practical so I go do that.  Finally.

That helps with some procrastination, but I didn't set a future date for something I will do.  Ugh.  Why am I hating this SO MUCH?  Why am I finding it so difficult?

OK, here goes:  Tomorrow, I will call the dermatologist and make an appointment.  I've been putting that off-i do not want to do it.  But I will.  There.  Bleah!  And tomorrow, I will do my exercises, also.    I need to do it for three days running or so to reestablish the habit.


John said...

I understand your frustration in wanting to get things completed, it is so easy to let this become a cudgel to beat ourselves with. Don't forget to enjoy!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

It would be nice to find an appropriate balance between accomplishing appropriate goals and relaxing and enjoying. When I am painting, for example, I usually am enjoying myself. Also, when I am writing.

I probably just should not have signed up for this track, because setting my own goals in my own way is easier and more pleasant and less stressful than doing it someone else's way.

a/k/a Nadine said...

This is reminding me of when I was focusing on the "do it now" mantra I read about in a book. For example: when I was watching TV and thought about getting up to put away the dinner leftovers, I usually put it off as long as possible (next commercial break, over and over). But I would remind myself "do it now" and that would sorta force me to get up as soon as I thought about it. I've let that go and need to get back to it. But I'm so good at procrastination!

Good luck with your goals!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Me, too! AK!