Well, the first quarter is over and it’s time to assess how I’ve been doing so far. One of the key aspects to achieving goals is to periodically take a peek and see how you are doing with them. If you are waiting until the end of the year to see how you’re doing, you’re doing it wrong.
In Chip and Dan Heath’s book Switch they talk about how important it is to start small when trying to make a change. It has to be relatively easy to get started. Ideally, you keep doing the easy stuff and gradually move on to more challenging things without really noticing. It becomes a natural progression to keep doing a little more.
With that in mind, I set what I thought were some easy targets for 2014: write 52 blogs (one a week), exercise for 10 minutes a day, and contact my family and friends. The first two targets although simple are pretty concrete and have time restrictions inferred. They might even be considered “SMART” goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound. As for my third goal… I didn’t want to set specfic goals.
My blog writing goal is way off target. If I was writing a blog a week, I should have written 13 blogs already. I’ve written 4.
It’s not for lack of ideas or topics. But I’m still working on my writing routine. It’s tricky finding the right time to write especially if you want to be energetic, creative and focused. And I have fit that in with my playwriting and screenplay writing.
The good thing is that I can still catch up. I only need to do 9 extra blogs to get back on track. So, I can actually do either an extra blog a month or two blogs a week for the next couple of months or whatever permutation I choose. I still feel confident that I can get back on track and reach this goal.
Of course, one of the main reasons for creating this goal was to keep me focused on writing. And the last three months have been fantastic in terms of my writing. I’ve attained 3 Bucket List goals in the last three months! My play Out to the Folks had a professional one day workshop at Theatre Aquarius. I received my first Ontario Arts Council grant for my playwriting. And my play Mommy’s Mask won first prize in the Hamilton Fringe Playwriting Contest.
For the next three months, I will focus a little harder on my routine. I think getting some writing done before I do anything else is the key factor here. I will also make Wednesday my day to focus on the blog writing. It doesn’t mean I will post every Wednesday, but I will definitely write blogs on Wednesdays.
Doing ten minutes of exercise a day has not been a consistent activity, but I have done it more often than not. And I have increased my activity on some days. It’s an example of a goal growing. My initial purpose of the goal was to do some consistent “easy” exercise to help stay healthy and lose weight.
It has grown.
I am actually going to the gym two or three times a week and being more observant about what I’m eating. A friend of mine created a google document and we post our daily weight to each other. Sometimes just the act of monitoring or measuring something helps you control it. I can definitely see the correlation between my poor eating choices and how my weight fluctuates. It doesn’t mean I won’t make “poor” eating choices, but it does help me think a little more about what I’m eating.
For the next three months, I am committed to the minimum of ten minutes a day of exercise. I probably should have made it five minutes of exercise to make it really easy! But as a stretch goal, I will be working out vigorously three times a week and watching what I eat. I hope to get my weight down to 200 pounds by the end of June.
Contacting family and friends is my least specific goal. On one hand, it’s hard to measure it, really. I mean, I comment on people’s Facebook pages and comments regularly. Does that count? I think it does. Of course, a Facebook comment isn’t the same as a phone call or an email, but the goal was to contact.
I was supposed to make a list of people to contact and I haven’t done that. It felt a little mercenary. But it is one way to ensure that you touch base with all the people you want to.
For the next three months, I will work on that list. At least I can see who I haven’t been in contact with for a long time and try to rectify it.
I suppose a monthly review of the goals would be even more effective than a quarterly review. Or even a weekly review… But I will stick to the quarterly one for now. If I find I’ve strayed too much by the end of June, then maybe I’ll try looking at it monthly.
How are your goals going?