Monday, September 19, 2011

My new approach to goal-setting

I seen a few people's lists of the 100 things they'd like to do in their life. I like reading them.

Then there's the Day Zero Project where people nominate the 101 things they will accomplish in in 1001 days.

Me, I just can't come up with that many meaningful things to do. I mean, apart from learn to play the piano, there's not much else I want to do which I haven't already done except:

write a few books
take the family travelling
give lavishly to a charity
buy a house.

If I try to think any further I suppose I might like to get a tattoo, go rough camping, or try drinking snake's blood in Laos (only because my husband's done it). But I'm not going to be too disappointed at 90 if I haven't done those things.

In fact, I could fill up a bucket list with all sorts of things which are little more than distractions to my main game.

I like to keep things simple and few, and this year I decided to stick to a list of only 10 things I wanted to have done by the end of the year.

Ten is not overwhelming, like 100 can be. I can accomplish 10 things in one year, otherwise the next. If I have a big goals I can split them into a few years to get it within the 10 things.

At the start of the year I made my list and there are only a few items left on it. Which is great, because at this time of year you can turn your head for a moment and then find that the Christmas season has sneaked up behind you and tapped you on the shoulder with a glass of bubbly in hand. After that the year's over in a flash of tinsel and fireworks.

Sticking to 10 things keeps me more realistic about what can be achieved in a year. For example, this year I only promised myself I would get around to buying (or renting) a piano, not hiring a tutor and learning to play Beethoven's 5th as well.

If I end up moving faster than that then it's a bonus. I see my list as the absolute minimum I have to do by the end of the year.

This is my current list. I didn't aim too high because we have a baby and I didn't want to place a lot of pressure on myself this year:

Monthly retreat/nurturing day or half day out by myself Done
One two-day silent retreat at a monastery
Monthly outing (at least) with friends or mum Doing
Write a feature article on motherhood Done
Bushwalk with the kids Done
Take kids to see fireworks
Take kids on a ferry ride into Sydney Harbour
Take kids to the theatre Booked for November
Take family to the zoo Have tickets, scheduled for next school holidays
Take kids up Sydney Tower Done
Buy piano or keyboard
Teach N to knit Done
Buy journals for the kids to use Done and they're using them too - bonus!

You'll see that it's got 13 items on it, not 10. That's because 10 is the minimum for me, and as I've been getting through things I've been adding others that I'm sure I can fit in as well. Such as the fireworks I can take the kids to see on New Year's Eve.

I've also started one more extra thing this month, which was to write a bit every day, mainly for this blog. And one reward has been an idea for a book! But that's a story for another day...

What approach do you prefer to help you get things done that you'd like to do? Do you set monthly or annual goals? Do you have a bucket list of things you want to do in life? If so, what kinds of things are on it?

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  1. I saw a poster Keep Calm , lower your expectations !
    I love your list Marilyn, it's very doable and sensible.
    I should say I have a 101 list but have not checked it in ages ...due to finish on twins 7th birthday.
    Good luck you can do it !

  2. Thanks Trish - is your list on your blog? Interesting poster, I read recently that the Danish are the happiest people on Earth and it's maybe because they have very low expectations!

  3. At the beginning of the year I did a 10 things in 101 days. I did moat of the things on it too. I like to set little goals and 100 things on 1001 days just seems to big and not achievable at all.

    I did think about doing another 10 things in101 days. Maybe I will on the school holidays.


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