School’s back and as ever I have a mix of excitement and determination as another new year starts! Not that I have been to school for some time, but I envy my son going off to join his lovely bunch of friends with the sense of a fresh start.
This feeling of new beginnings in September has been with me since I was about 12 or 13, but it also marks one of the first goals I set myself when struggling with ‘living’ with stage 4 cancer – I decided I would do everything and anything I could, to see that boy of mine start school at 5. As I mark off another year (and that precious boy turns 16 this term), I am aware that this is perhaps the most significant point on the calendar for me – the time when I most clearly see and appreciate what I have achieved. Perhaps the time too, when I can most acknowledge how important having some concrete goals is.
I’m a qualified performance coach and yet I hate goals! Lots of coaching is around goal setting and for a good while since Locke first came up with it, goal setting has driven the management of performance, particularly in organisations, in a way that has been unquestioned. But more often than not I find them constraining – more like gaol (look carefully you dyslexics) – My needs have to be literally life threatening before I can stick with a great, big, hairy goal – you know, one of those SMART
Fuckers Suckers ! Specific – Measurable – Achievable – Realistic – Timed.
I was relieved to discover a couple of years ago that there’s recognition that I am far from alone and that it may be better to set looser, DUMB goals. (There are many words on the go for this acronym but I couldn’t find the one originally introduced to me.) The gist was that goals should give a bit of direction and motivation without the stifling constraints!
The difficulty many of us have is juggling our conflicting commitments whilst leaving room for some spontaneity, creativity and time to appreciate the little things in life and still be in the present moment rather than distracted by future thinking. At the same time if we don’t commit some of our time to longer term dreams and desires, the rest of life’s bits of crap like mowing the lawn and going to the dentist soon fill the week and we’re ‘starting next week’ again to get fitter / happier / better at whatever.
I knew I was in for a busy summer so I put my hands up and declared a break from my blogligations to more thoroughly enjoy time with my family and friends. Now is the time though to review what I want to achieve and consider how best to get there. (This is a constant WIP for me and I apologise if you’re experiencing a Groundhog Day like my family around me!)
The best I can do is define some aims that remind me what I think the greater part of my life is about – and then check in regularly to make sure they’re still the focus of my main activities.
- To strive to be present in my life and focused on the positive (however mundane).
- To help others using my experiences and skills and to recognise what, when and how this is achieved optimally.
- To recognise my need for novelty and deliberately build in some social satisfiers that keep me learning, enquiring and discovering new things about the world, myself and other people.
- To apply the Pareto Principle to my activities so perfectionism doesn’t rob me of control or satisfaction or time to do the fun stuff in life (A whopping big fail already on this blog post!)
- To include time for my health every day – Ugh! I have to acknowledge and recognise the inevitable time commitment that exercise and cooking healthy home made food (perhaps more often than the average person) requires – But discover a way of feeling good about it, in the moment – answers greatly appreciated, if anyone else has found them!
One of the key activities that meets number two is to finish writing my memoir. I’ve been taking another look at my self and the other often unavoidable ‘stuff’ that fills my week. Sadly, because I love the immediacy of feedback and the constant interaction, I have to face the fact that I spend too much time in the blogosphere. OMG! That’s another unutterable in some circles and I’ve gone and said it out loud!
I’ve had some understanding and supportive feedback about Bite Size Memoir and I’m still mulling on the changes I might make so that we can continue this in a way that works well for regular participants whilst remaining fun rather than onerous to manage. I’m thinking creatively. Administratively I’m also considering Fridays as ‘Blog Admin Day’ when I prepare a post for Monday and review comments and whizz round the multitude of fantastic blogs I like to imbibe for my own wider interest.
So whilst we get back up and running, here’s a bite size prompt that was a no-brainer for me. Thank you to Jeanne Lombardo for the one-word prompt idea – particularly of Watermelon. (I’m lining up my own contribution on that one to share a little later..)
Instructions: Roll a dice to choose one or more of the following and pop your response(s) or link in the comments section of this post. Same rules apply as before, although I won’t compile responses in a separate post and I’m putting a two week deadline (22nd September) on this whilst I deal with a backlog of household admin, an empty freezer and more than 1000 photos taken in Sri Lanka – not to mention producing some writing!