A post or two back, I wrote about my words for 2017: Perspective, Prayerfulness and Poise. I’m letting those words propel me, like the wind behind a boat, into this year that I hope will be one of growth and goodness.
But, we all know that a boat needs more than a bluster to venture far. A rudder to guide it, a centerboard to balance it and a sail to catch the breeze are as necessary as the wind, and so, too, are some specific smart goals to accompany my words for the year. Smart goals are goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based, and they’re meant to add focus and specificity to one’s actions.
I love the idea of having a word (or three, in my case) to give an overarching theme to the year, but I know that it’s the practicality of smart goals that will make living out my words possible. With this in mind, I have created a few smart goals to accompany each of my words for the year.
Most of my smart goals are related to Perspective, for a few reasons. First, it’s my primary word for the year; prayerfulness and poise stem from it and I hope lead towards it. Secondly, it’s a bit of a catch all. The place where I most need perspective is work (I need to not let the petty (and legitimate) frustrations, the causes for anxiety, the at-times-annoying people get to me the way I do), and I’m of the mind that focusing on all the joyful, successful, meaningful and life-giving aspects of my life outside of work will help me remember what is important, thus giving me perspective when I have to deal with the inevitable challenges at work. For this reason, I’ve crafted a whole slew of goals that will direct my attention outside of work. That’s perspective after all, right? (one of my favorite definitions: a true understanding of the relative importance of things).
- Try at least one new recipe from each of my cookbooks. I have all these great cookbooks, but every time I want to try a new recipe, I look on pinterest or elsewhere on the internet, not in them. I thought this would be a good goal to help me enjoy my home more… and delve into a hobby that I always take pleasure in, cooking.
- Read Middlemarch. I have a “Read Before I Die” list and, for the past several years, have tried to read one or two books off of it each year. This is the year for Middlemarch.
- Go on one adventure a month (I have a list of adventures, which I’ll discuss in a different post).
- Complete a full twelve weeks of BBG (this is the exercise plan that I use fairly consistently — I really like it — but hop all over with; having consistency and a sense of completion but completing the full 12-week cycle will be satisfying).
- Decrease sugar consumption by taking sugar-free weeks, or weeks with sugar just one or two days. There is no reason that I should be having dessert every day, if not multiple times a day. With 28 upon me, it’s time to change this.
- Acknowledge birthdays. Send cards, texts, emails or phone calls. Do something to celebrate and connect with the people I love.
- Blog 50 times.
- Connect with my siblings monthly, at minimum. My brothers and sister, along with Caleb and my parents, are the people who matter most to me in the world and I almost always have fun and feel lifted up when I talk/text/snap with them. And yet, I don’t do it enough.
- Get organized with giving. I donate here and there, but in a highly disorganized fashion. I want to consider what causes and organizations I value and admire (and Caleb, too) and get organized about making donations to them.
- Reflect/journal for at least fifteen minutes each day.
- Continue to invest in Spiritual Direction, and integrate what Rosemary (my Spiritual Director) has to say to me into my life.
- When I have a lull moment — in the grocery store line, or the shower or the car — give a “help, thanks, wow” prayer: ask for help with something I need, say thanks for something I’m grateful for, and lift a word of praise.
- A feeling of skepticism accompanies most of my moments of prayer; let the skepticism go.
- Wear heels more, because: look good, feel good, do good. Or, as William James more poignantly wrote, “Actions seems to follow feeling, but really actions and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not. Thus the sovereign voluntary path to cheerfulness, if our cheerfulness be lost, is to sit up cheerfully and to act and speak as if cheerfulness were already there.” In other words, if I look poised, I will feel more poised, and I will be more poised.
- Floss daily and take vitamins at least a few times each week. Flossing is one of those things that I have known for a long time I should do regularly, but just couldn’t have been bothered about it. I figured that 2017 was as good a time to commit to this as any, and I knew that developing this healthy habit would help me feel on top of my life; the same goes for vitamins. These goals loosely tie into poise for the same reason as wearing heals.
- Before going into situations that I know will push my buttons, prepare myself: take a deep breath and say a prayer for composure and remind myself that I have agency and the ability to be poised. Then go act accordingly!