Wednesday, January 04, 2012
Here is where the idea of having "Aspects" instead of "Goals" comes from. This is a blog post I wrote on another web site.
Thanks to Julie Morgenstern, I've already done most of the conceptual work I need to do in order to create a workable plan, and this plan isn't based on "goals," it's based on "dreams." In other words, instead of writing up a bunch of goals for each conceptual area of my life, I'm going to describe my dreams for the future and then try to make sure that the things I include on my daily "to-do list" will contribute to making those dreams come true. It's basically an exercise in re-framing. I'm going to try re-framing my life in terms of what I want to be instead of what I think I should be and see how that changes things for me.
Family - My dream for my family is to have strong relationships with all of my family members, especially J, and including my in-laws, and to have children in my home (whether biologically mine, foster children, or adoptive children is not very important to me anymore).
Friends - My dream here is to have enough friends who I can connect with meaningfully in a variety of ways, who I communicate with regularly, and who I feel I can count on in difficult times. Enough isn't a term I'm comfortable defining as it changes depending on what my life is like; suffice to say that it's at least one and probably fewer than ten. :)
Household - My dream for my household is to have a clean, tidy, comfortable, welcoming home that people enjoy spending time in because they can get around it without worrying about breaking stuff (by stepping on it) or ruining things (because it's too perfect), and to have our finances not just "under control," but in a truly managed state.
Personal - My dream for myself is to be truly healthy, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. What does this look like? Well, it looks like me enjoying regular exercise of various types, eating healthy and delicious food in appropriate amounts for me, and maintaining a weight that I am comfortable with. It looks like low anxiety levels and low irritability, fewer mood swings, and less tendency toward depression. It looks like mindful religious observances, including daily devotions and prayer time (at minimum). It looks like appropriate levels of self-esteem, so that negative thoughts aren't the first thing out of my mouth when I'm stressed, and better control of my ADHD symptoms (with or without medication - choosing medication to help with this is in no way a failure on my part).
Work - My dream for my work is more difficult to define. There is much I want in this area. I guess I dream of being intellectually stimulated (perhaps by doing lots of graduate degrees in lots of different fields), of working in a field that will allow me to help other people (perhaps as a psychologist or an ADHD or life coach - or both), of becoming a published author (preferably of books, but short stories are also acceptable), and of only working because I want to, not because I need the money (we might need to win the lottery for that to happen).
Moving on to the plan...
I really don't want to use words like "goal" and "task" this year. So I think what I'm going to do is look at my dreams for each category, and come up with a specific "component" for the year - a part of that dream that I would like to really focus on and try to make happen, at least in part.
And then what I'm thinking is that it makes sense to choose one aspect of each component to focus on every month. Then, when I make my to-do lists each day, I can tie them to the aspects, which are tied to the components, which are tied to the dreams... and everything automatically has a purpose, which is really really cool.
So let's have at the components and aspects, shall we?
Key Word for 2012: Relationships
Components: Regular communication with my family and with J's family. Regular quality time with J.
Aspects for January: Make a family newsletter and send it out. Plan for a "date night" once a week.
Key Word for 2012: Relationships
Components: Regular communication with non-local friends. Regular face-time with local friends.
Aspects for January: Write a letter to a non-local friend. Plan replacement meets with my friend since I'll be working on Mondays.
Key Word for 2012: Management
Components: Organization of the rooms in the house. Organization of and planning around our finances.
Aspects for January: Finish getting my sewing room organized. Do up 2010 financial statements and start working on getting my back taxes filed.
Key Word for 2012: Fulfillment
Components: Regular exercise and healthy eating. Time outs when getting upset or overwhelmed. Daily devotions and prayer time. Following the techniques I've been applying to deal with my ADHD symptoms.
Aspects for January: Try to do something active every day, and eat fruits and vegetables more often. Notice when my stress levels are beginning to get a bit high (what I do once I've noticed is up for grabs; right now I want to focus on just realizing it's happening). Daily devotions right after I wake up in the morning. Make my daily plan the night before.
Key Word for 2012: Achievement
Components: Getting back to school. Finishing and submitting stories and novels.
Aspects for January: Keep working on theory and iUniversity psych courses. Keep working through my writing timeline spreadsheet.
In addition to these, I have weekly Focus points, and then I have my daily Plans, which are basically to-do lists but aren't meant to be as prescriptive as to-do lists sometimes feel.