Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Code Your Goals

The last week of January. Already. How are your goals coming along? Did you just roll your eyes at me? Crazy, isn't it? The way the hands on the clock keep going around and around and around. Those weekly calendar pages check off, one by one by one.

I purposely made my goals a bit vague this year. Rule number one about making goals: make them specific, actionable, measurable, and time sensitive. I thought, maybe, if I kept the goals in general terms, I wouldn't roll my eyes at myself as time slips by, unproductive, ineffective, goals undone.

Well, I'm not so sure about my vague goals. Perhaps there is wisdom in having a clear, focused idea of where I am headed each day. The journey is important, yes. But a destination is critical, too.

This photo, cropped from the first one, focuses in on the details of the snowflakes. At least as well as my camera and my photography skills can do. Amazing, this morning, seeing the light snowfall we had last night, the flakes, each crisp and ornate and beautiful. Beautiful as a whole, but even more impressive as unique and individual.

An idea I read: when Gretchen Rubin worked through her Happiness Project, writing it, developing her monthly goals and plans, she blogged her process. Her chapters contain some of the comments she received along the way. One of them really stuck with me. The gal suggested to use your passwords as goal reminders. How many times a day do you plug in certain passwords? Use those effectively. Say, you want to exercise five times a week. Set up a password like, RnwlkX5#.

I am not advising you on your password safety. There are general suggested structures for a secure password, and various sites have different guidelines. In general, at least eight characters are recommended, that it does not contain a complete word, and it includes four types of characters: uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special symbols. And, I would add, something easy for you to remember.

Take a goal you want to be reminded of, often. Turn it into a personalized, coded password, and remember it often as you type it on your keyboard, multiple times a day.

In my head, spring is not far away. I know, for a fact, that reality is a bit different than that. Our last frost date is May 12th, and we have seen snow on the last three Mother's Days. That is three and a half months away. What will I have accomplished by then? Will my vague, general goals still be vague and general by then? Yes, unless I change my way of thinking about them.

The last weeks of December, I jotted down a list of things I wanted to do in 2016; a random list, as things came to mind. Now, looking at the list again, I see a need to quantify them. What, how, and when will I do these? How can I make them specific, actionable, measurable, and timed? I made a note in my planner, on May 15th, to reevaluate the list. And, I made up a new password to remind me of a key, priority goal.

What do you think of making a new password, unique to your goals?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


Have you thought about a one-word theme for this year?

Years before, I picked words. Last year was, "Wonder."

This year, it seemed the word picked me.


At first, I wondered, why that word? It sounded too focused on doing something, productivity, or making something, sewing or painting or something like that. But it wouldn't go away.

So, I started a list of thoughts, to catch my wandering ideas.

What can I create?

Order. As I organize and de-clutter and thin out the stuff, I create order.

Clean. As I clean and maintain things around our home, I create a clean, comfortable place to live.

Peace. The work of order and cleaning creates a sense of peace, a peaceful attitude.

And, please understand, these are goals to work towards, not statements of accomplishment.

Calm. As with peace, steps taken bring a sense of calm.

Beauty. In the garden, in the home, order and clean create beauty.

Energy. Goals accomplished, or even steps toward them, create energy toward more steps.

Contentment. Knowing there is progress, knowing the intention is understood, brings content.

Joy. A sense of joy in my work, creating not things, but joy through what I do.

Love. Love, expressed in creative ways.

And other ways, I'm sure I'll learn as the year goes by.

It is encouraging to me to see what I do in all the mundane details as creating something. Even washing the dishes is creating. Seems simple, really. The perspective of, "Create," applies to everything I do. Teaching, learning with our son -- creating opportunities for him. More than doing a task I will be doing again tomorrow, I can enjoy the cleaning, or whatever,  because there is a bigger perspective of creating while I do that whatever.

This is not an original idea by any means. To create, to make a home, to enjoy and thrive in it, is why they call it homemaking. It helps me to focus on a perspective bigger than that pile of dog hair waiting to be vacuumed.

All of it, everything I do, is a tool to be used creatively.