Goal-setting, accountability – how to get things done

 

Goal-setting AFL

 

Goal-setting – a skill I learned well in my twenties – usually stands me in good stead when I want to get things done. Finish a doctoral degree, declutter a house, learn a new crochet stitch? Set a goal. Job done!

Although 2020 brought many problems as COVID-19 spread around the world, I managed to maintain my usual goal-setting skills. A couple of lockdowns hardly fazed me. Instead, I enjoyed the peace and not having to go out.

Living in Western Australia, still able to move, work and play freely, reminds me how lucky we are. No restrictions, no masks. Only hard borders to the outside world and the other states tells us of the pandemic. Oh, and the media! Another story altogether.

This year brought a set of problems, different from COVID-19 to my family. We were rocked to our core by the tragic death of my younger daughter, Anne, on 27 December 2020. Loss, grief and mourning take their toll. They demand commitment and hard work. For months, I felt old and frail. My gait and fitness slowed. My coping skills took a hard knock.

I had to learn all over again the ways to get on with life. As I learned, I wrote blogs about strategies. Baby steps on the road to recovery after loss. Poetry, permission and how to make lentil soup. Over the past couple of months, things have improved. Although I still miss and mourn Anne, the pain has diminished, a little. As well, I’ve regained some momentum. I’m fitter, faster and no longer simply ‘get on with things’.

Serendipity to the rescue

A few years ago, I joined a Mastermind Social Media group (with Amanda Kendle Consulting) when I wanted to improve my blogging skills. Earlier this year, I decided that that commitment no longer worked well for me. I didn’t enroll for the first semester. Instead, I began to think again about writing a novel, a dream I’d almost given up on.

At the beginning of this semester, however, Amanda restructured our blogging group (Almost Famous) to target more accurately the current needs of participants. The group would include writers of different types. We were interested in social media, but as well would have an additional common goal. Other groups she facilitates include people with different common interests.

When I received Amanda’s email, I couldn’t help but think how serendipitous this news for someone interested in writing. The new initiative was completely unforeseen. I enrolled.

Goal-setting and accountability

The group meets regularly, either face-to-face or through Zoom. We’ve now outlined our long term goals in terms of writing. ‘To finish the book I’m writing,’ ‘To find a publisher,’ or ‘To work out what I want to write,’ for example. We’ve set goals we want to achieve for the next couple of months. Goal-setting came naturally.

Each meeting, we talk about our successes in the last fortnight. We’re a chatty group, and this takes a while. Sometimes we discuss the things that have not met our expectations. There’s lots of laughter, chat and encouragement, because we’ve developed strong friendships over the time we were a social media group.

Targets

We use the second part of our meetings to set concrete targets for the next fortnight. These short term goals include steps which lead to our long term goals. They fit the following categories and degrees of difficulty.

  • Minimum targets.  The smallest units of work we will perform by the next meeting.
  • Targets.  Achievable goals that can be met without excessive stress.
  • Outrageous targets. These include activities almost, but not quite, outside the realms of possibility, given our present circumstances.

Committing ourselves to targets, and Amanda’s encouragement (and the record she makes of our commitment) lead members to strive to do the work.

I’m grateful to Amanda (an amazing facilitator of small groups) for this new initiative and to the members of Almost Famous for their encouragement and support.

I’ve linked this to the Weekly prompts word challenge – unforeseen on the site of my friends Sue W and CG

 

 

 

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13 Comments

  1. I am deeply JEALOUS!! Don’t know what else I can say. I always look forwArd to your blogs as they tempt me, challenge me, delight me. This one? Sorry dearest friend – all I can say, all I can feel – I”m JEALOUS!!

    1. No need to feel jealous, dear Elizabeth. This is not a writing, but a motivational group that encourages members to actually set goals. Let’s talk about it next time we have coffee. Mxx

  2. Your goal setting is similar to my list ticking. I make lists and tick off when I’ve achieved the ‘goal’.
    Sorry for the delay, I’ve only just spotted this. And thank you for joining us again, Maureen.

    1. I list tick, too, Sue. It’s the really big projects, like attempting to write a book at MY AGE, that feels daunting, and as if I need some special magic formula to get it done. Joining you is my pleasure.

      1. I continue to admire all you do, Maureen.

        Your post made me think about goals and if there was anything I hankered after achieving. I realised there were none but now I’m unsure whether that is a good thing or a bad thing. So for now it’s back to the day to day tick lists!

        1. Thank you, Sue.

          You seem to achieve a lot for a person who thinks she no longer wants to achieve! But not hankering after anything seems a very peaceful state.

          1. You are right, Maureen. It is a peaceful existence.

            It used to be very different, every moment of my life was busy. I was a professional volunteer, at least that’s what my husband called me.
            Today I am quite content with what I do. 🙂

            1. I like that you are content with what you do, Sue. I guess I’m still hoping for a little miracle in the form of at least a few short stories that I publish before I hang up on writing. It’s a juggle, because John is unwell and I spend a lot of time doing menial tasks.

            2. Oh, dear, I’m sorry to hear that John is unwell.

              I understand what you mean about menial tasks taking up much of your time, and how you may feel a little resentful, when you’d like to push them aside so that you can focus on your books while you are of an age where you are well enough and still want to do them.

              You are a little older than me but I think I might be the one who feels age and vulnerability the most. You achieve so much.

              I began to feel this way after Graham died, but perhaps that was depression, who knows.

              Having Covid has slowed me down too, both in mind and body.

              I no longer feel ill, which is a wonderful welcome bonus, even so, I’m limited in how much I do before I become breathless and fatigued, but if I don’t push myself I’m absolutely fine.

              I’ve said before how much I admire you and your drive.

              I do hope John’s illness isn’t serious., love to you both.

            3. My internet has been broken for a few days. Thank you for your concern about John. He is 85, and has several serious co-morbidities. I’ll be 84 in November, but am stronger and fitter, for which I’m grateful, although I sometimes tire.

              I’m sad for you that you experienced Covid and long Covid, but glad you are felling a little better. Thank you for your kind words, Sue. I’d like to know you more, and more personally. My email address is mhelen@iinet.net.au if you ever want to write. Mxx

    1. Thank you, Michele. I think our posts and life styles inspire each other. I wish we could meet in real life.

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