Archive for the ‘goal setting’ Category

Not all change is good. For instance, developing a destructive habit is not a good change. Therefore, having the mindset that “something has to change” but not having an idea of what should change and how it should change is fraught with unnecessary risk. 

I mentioned yesterday about wanting to a better husband. That is a vague goal. It isn’t measurable. It puts out there that I need to change, but not what or how. I’ve seen too many relationships where change did occur, but in the wrong direction. How do I prevent this in changing myself? One way is to consider how to be a better husband:

  • I listen better.
  • I actively help out with the household chores.
  • I put the needs of my wife before my own.
  • I pay attention to my wife’s moods and respond accordingly.
  • I remember my wife’s love languages and show my love frequently using those languages.
  • I actively plan and make happen times when we can be alone – date lunches or nights, weekend getaways, etc.

Admittedly, some of those are still on the vague side and I will need to consider them further. However, note that I have an idea of how to change. I am planning my change. I am acting with purpose. I am actively seeking to control my change.

Don’t just let change happen. Think about how you want things to change. What direction is a positive one for you to change? How will you know you are moving in that direction? What can you do to actively make progress? What can you control? Then take those steps. Maximize the positive change in your life. You have a choice. Execute it. 

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One of my former youth posted something about wanting to prove wrong those who didn’t believe in her. A few of us quickly commented to ignore them. There are several good reasons why.

First, there are always going to be naysayers. You could succeed smashingly and someone is still going to find something negative to say. If you’re energy is invested in proving them wrong, you’re always going to be pouring it on people who will never acknowledge your success.

Second, people who will always find something negative to say aren’t worth your time. The people who believe in you, who stand by you, who aren’t afraid to tell you the truth even when it’s painful – those folks are worth your time. Invest in the people who care about you, not in the people who don’t.

Third, you should be doing what you do because it’s important to you. That’s not to say that you’re doing something for someone else. For instance, you could work the job you are in because you know that it provides the necessary resources for your family. But you’re doing that job because it’s important to you because your family is important to you. You can get caught up into listening to naysayers in such a way that you start doing things for them. You start trying to do things that are important to them. Except, as we already established, it doesn’t matter what you do, you aren’t going to please them. So why bother? Focus on what’s important to you.

With all that said, just because someone doesn’t agree with your goal or your direction, that doesn’t make them a naysayer. As a parent, I have found myself disagreeing with a direction one of my children is taking. However, I’m still behind them, supporting them, loving them, and wanting the best for them. The reason I disagree is bound up in all of those things. Sometimes the direction they are looking at isn’t the best direction for them. So don’t immediately categorize someone as a naysayer just because he or she disagrees with you. Why is that person saying no? What’s the motivation? That’s how you determine who is a naysayer. 

And once you identify someone as such, learn to tune those folks out. Don’t let them discourage you. Don’t let them distract you from your goals. Use what they say as fuel for your fire, sure, but do so in a way that doesn’t become a crusade to prove them wrong, but rather stick to the fact that what you’re doing is important to you. 

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This is a simple concept: you have to put your words and ideas into action. You can’t make positive progress towards your goals unless you do. 

However, so many people don’t. It isn’t that they can’t; they can. Just for one reason or another, they don’t. 

I’m just as guilty. I want to learn Latin. I’ve got a good book. However, I’ve not opened it up for the purpose of actually learning the language. It is time to change that. 

What are you holding back on? What have you thought about but not done? Why not start today?

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January has just passed. How are you coming on your goals for this year? If you made any New Year’s resolutions, how are you doing on them?

Periodically, it is good to take some time to assess our progress (or lack thereof). With one month of 2015 in the past, now is a good time to do so. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Were any of my goals or resolutions unrealistic (too hard or impossible to accomplish)?
  • Were any of my goals or resolutions too easy?
  • Are there any goals or resolutions that aren’t applicable any longer?
  • Did I miss capturing any goals I must/should accomplish?
  • Of the goals / resolutions I have listed after the previous questions, what progress have I made?
  • Of the goals / resolutions I have listed after the previous questions, what are my next steps?

If you have failed at some things, remember that failing is a result, not the end. We can learn from our failures to do better. If you think back to your childhood, if you ever played a sport or practiced an art, you failed many times. However, most failures didn’t stop you. You just practiced to get better. That same mentality should be true of you now.

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There’s a big difference between setting goals and making New Year’s resolutions. Remember, goals should be specific, should be attainable, and you should be able to measure progress towards them in some way. Also, in each case you want to think about what your next steps should be in order to complete each goal.

As a result, the process of setting goals requires more thought and consideration than deciding on New Year’s Eve that you want to lose 20 pounds, be a nicer person, or win the World Series of Poker.Given that we’re at the beginning of December, there is plenty of time to do the mental work of goal formulation before January 1.Therefore, now is a good time to start the process of setting your goals for next year.

It is also a good time to review the progress you made towards this year’s goals. If there are goals you didn’t accomplish, did those goals remain important to you? If they did, what derailed you from completing them? What can you do in the coming year to try and complete the goals which are still relevant? If a goal became irrelevant, why did this happen? How might you better ensure that you don’t have such goals this coming year?

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GundamBeamSaberRecently, Lockheed Martin announced plans for a compact fusion engine, one it believes can be developed possibly in the next 5-10 years. As soon as I heard the announcement, my mind went to a series of Japanese manga and anime, all around “mobile suits” called Gundams. Ever since the first Mobile Suit Gundam, the multiple series have produced both scientific and government inquiry into the possibility of producing a Gundam. There are a lot of limiters, but the biggest one is the power source. If a compact fusion engine becomes viable, it increases the viability of a real Gundam.

In reality, we may never see a mobile suit that approaches the capability of a Gundam. The cost is prohibitive. Still, it’s incredible to dream about. To get to the point where you could conceivably build a Gundam, there’s a lot of math, science, and engineering involved. When you’re a homeschool family like mine is, especially when you have children already absorbed into Gundam, this is a useful dream. Ultimately, it means what are typically banal subjects for a lot of students can be turned into opportunities to build towards the possibility of the dream.

That’s where I’m taking it. When I first proposed the idea to my two high school boys, their eyes lit up. Slogging through Calculus and Calculus-Based Physics and college-level biology isn’t very exciting to them. However, couched in terms of Gundam, and in seeing the possibility of how to make a Gundam, well, that’s a different story entirely. This should be fun and challenging.

As far as homeschooling is concerned, it’s one of the freedoms we do have. We can consider projects and learn based on them. In this case, we’re talking about something that all of us may be working on for years to come, because it would indeed be wonderful to have the knowledge to actually design and build a Gundam. I don’t have that knowledge now. Therefore, it’s not just a challenge to my children, it’s a challenge to me as well.

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Life isn’t fair. When little girls die of cancer, you know life isn’t fair. We can wish life to be fair all we want, but it’s not going to be true.

Unfairness Isn’t Going Away in People:

As long as their is greed, as long as there is hardship, as long as their is disparity, some people are going to be unfair. Those people are going to look out for themselves and their own first. And if it happens to hurt you, too bad. That is, if they even consider your feelings or situation at all. In a perfect society, we wouldn’t have to worry about this. However, under our own power, I don’t believe we’ll ever see that utopia. All it takes is one person who doesn’t want to play fairly to disrupt things. Therefore, fairness is always going to be an ideal and not a reality.

The World Itself Is Unfair:

See cancer, above. There are illnesses. There are natural disasters. There are accidents, like falling and breaking your arm. There are all sorts of events that just aren’t “fair.” We can’t prevent all of them. Therefore, let us not pretend they don’t exist. We are only fooling ourselves.

Fight for Fairness:

While fairness is an ideal, it’s still worth fighting for. When we see prejudice, disparity, hardship, etc., we should do what we can to change things. Acknowledging that we will never reach the ideal isn’t a reason to give up trying.

What All This Means:

Don’t develop your plans expecting life to be fair. Don’t expect people to always treat you fairly. Don’t expect them to always do the right thing. If you do, likely your plans and your efforts will fail. Don’t misunderstand me: in my experience, the majority of folks will try to treat others in a reasonable way, but there are always a few who won’t. Therefore, you have to be prepared for those who won’t.

Also, don’t build/propose solutions that only work with everything is perfect. Expect failures and hardships. Expect unfairness. Build that into how you cope with things. Case in point: any time you suggest an action which is only going to work when everyone is on their best behavior, you are not making a good suggestion. There will always be some folks who know better but will still choose to be disruptive, to be obnoxious, to be harmful. Any time you propose a plan that will only work if “all the stars align,” you are proposing a plan that will likely fail.

As we say in the military, “No plan survives first contact.” The unexpected will come to pass. Be prepared to deal with change. If possible, have resources available to attempt to handle an unplanned situation or circumstance. If you know someone has the potential to be unfair, especially because of prior experience, consider what to do with said individual. Can you confront? Or is bypassing better? Don’t be caught off-guard by unfairness.

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