I suppose you could say I was brought up on map reading. Even before I was old enough to drive my dad taught me how to read maps – am I showing my age?! But even to this day I still love maps and truly prefer them for a lot of reasons over apps etc. even though they too certainly have their benefit.
But what I like about maps over say something like blindly following some inanimate object like a GPS is I can see the big picture. I know where I am, and I can see ultimately how I am going to get there and even where I actually am. I can even see if I am heading north, south, east or west! Have you ever had GPS start you off with “head south on…?” How do I know which way is south if I don’t even know which way I am facing to begin with?!
For these reasons, is probably the same reason I love setting goals. Time is valuable to me as well, and I certainly don’t want to waste my time randomly, and blindly heading somewhere I don’t even know where I am going.
Each of these areas – goals and time management fall into what I classify as the “mental part of the health pie.” Other parts of this piece of the pie are budget, career, and our purpose in life. They really can all fit together in most cases.
But let’s talk about goals for a minute. Recently I was feeling a little out of sorts – lacking in motivation, direction and purpose. I mean, of course I know what my specific purpose is – and that is to educate, encourage and empower the Body of Christ and our communities on the truth about health and wellness. I still have no doubt about that. But I had not been feeling like I was making much headway on this path lately. I felt like I was kind of floundering – just going through the motions of life, day to day, with no clear direction. Guess you could say the devil was getting the better of me. Have you ever felt like that?
And then it dawned on me – I did not have my goals for the month of September written down, nor had I looked at my 3rd Quarter Goals to see if I was on track! Wait, did I even write 3rd Quarter Goals? Oh boy, no wonder I was feeling out of sorts – my “map flew out the window!”
I don’t know about you, but I need some kind of direction for my day, week, month, and even the quarter and year. This has been the case even more so since I “retired” from my 9-5 job. There is no one else holding me accountable these days except me. I don’t want to wake up 10 or 20 years from now, realizing that I had been kicking back, eating bonbons on the couch for the past 10 years wondering where my life went.
My direction for my days is a simple running Word document with the day, and date typed out and underlined, and then the things I need to get done that day under that. I typically put these in order of priority. Admittedly, it’s also my memory! If I don’t write things down that I need to do, I forget. Once it’s been done, I have the joy of checking it off! And yes, I am “one of those” who, if I did something constructive, but it wasn’t on my to-do list, I type it in and then check it off. What can I say, it’s rewarding!
For the month, I write out my primary goals in a separate Word document that I want to get accomplished that month. The Action Steps written under the Goal also get plugged in somewhere on my To-Do List as well. There is a much greater chance that it will actually get accomplished if it is written down and assigned somewhere.
I do something similar for the Quarterly Goals. But here I usually include at least one goal in the “Mental” part of the health pie – typically something to do with my purpose, or learning. At least one goal in the Physical, Emotional/Relational, and Spiritual arenas as well. My monthly goals for that quarter are drawn from the Quarterly Goals.
These exercises help give purpose to my life, discipline and structure. Without them, I flounder, and I find myself lacking in motivation, purpose and direction in my life. These are my “maps for my life” – without them, “I won’t know when I have gotten there!” In fact, I truly believe that because I did have them written down (phew, the 3rd Quarter Goals were written!), they were at the very least impressed on my brain. As it turned out, I had accomplished more than I realized I had – I was thankfully still on track.
How about you? How do you know when you have arrived, “when you get there?”