Goal Setting and Journaling Catch-up

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So, as promised I am checking in on you to see how you are getting along with setting up and using your system of goal setting and, of course, sticking to it.

Personally, I am really enjoying using the leather journal I made for myself and I think you too should be using a journal which gives you joy. This week’s blog is going to feel as if it is all about me, which I try not to do, but the only way I know how to help you is to share how this process is working for me. If you have particular struggles you would like my help with, please do get in touch. I am here for you.

I know that we are only four weeks into the New Year but already I have identified things which are not working so well for me. I imagine that some of you are in a similar situation. Firstly, Don’t Panic. I do seem to use those two words a lot in my blogs, but really, don’t panic. No one else needs to know, this is your journal, your record of your journey through 2021. Life isn’t fixed and changing things to suit you as we go through the year is just as it should be.

Going through my journal, here’s what is and isn’t working for me and how I intend to change things. Hopefully, this will help you make the changes you need to keep yourself on track.

The first page I look at daily. I love the image of stones balanced on top of each other which I chose; it is the perfect reminder of my word of the year and what I am planning to follow for the year. Under the picture and the word Balance I have written five other words. Gratitude, Health, Strength, Kindness and Power. These words are important to me and I make the effort to face most of them daily.

With Gratitude I am learning to be more aware of things happening around me and saying thank you for them more often. I am writing the three most important gratitude’s daily, but more of that later.

For Health I am trying to move more. I struggle with low back issues and find standing still a real problem. So, I make sure I move around after sitting for 30 minutes to keep the blood circulating and I have a step monitor on my watch so I can ensure I reach a minimum number of steps every day. I have also decided to start doing a few minutes daily on our exercise bike, starting with just five minutes and seeing what I can work up to.

Strength has not been an easy one to deal with so far. For me this is not about physical but rather emotional strength. The number of people in my circle who have died in the last 12 months has been difficult to deal with and my family are facing challenges with older members in ill health. The struggles which come with that have been hard, so finding a way to stay strong and not build a wall to keep those emotions out is challenging, but that’s life, eh?

Kindness and acts of kindness are something I have practiced most of my life and have instilled into my children. To me it is one of the most important character traits we can all display.

Power This is a bit like Strength but more about using my skills to make sure the ‘right’ thing is done. We are all powerful in our own ways and it is simply having the courage to do the right thing which makes us different. I remember when I was about 12 years old witnessing a fight outside my school which ended with the boy who lived opposite me being taken to hospital. When the police arrived at their house, I told my mother that I wanted to tell them what I had seen. She told me “No. Don’t get involved in other people’s problems. It is none of your business.” I was furious. I just felt in my heart and soul that she was wrong, that she was frightened of doing the right thing. So, at school the next day I reported it to the headmaster and was thanked as I was the only person not involved in the fight who had come forward. I made a difference. I used what I felt was my power of truth.

So, the next couple of pages are working well for me. I am using the keys daily and remembering to write up the index, only because I know that six months down the line it will be the quickest way to find the pages I want.

I am adding to my Hopes and Dreams pages and I am happy that most or some of them will come to fruition.

Having the whole year printed out over the next four sides has been helpful in that I don’t need to go and find a calendar, although I do still use my online calendar as I also set reminders to ring a bell for meetings. Having the whole month over the next two sides isn’t really being used. I will set it up for February just in case, but I suspect I will drop that. The daily tasks are working brilliantly for me. I am finding that I put everything into Monday’s list and spill into Tuesday, too. The rest of the week doesn’t get used that much but I am happy to stick with it for now. I do love transferring the uncompleted items into the following week and putting crosses next to the completed items. It is giving me a real sense of achievement.

I wasn’t sure if I would really use the next four sides. I intended to but wasn’t convinced I would keep it up. On the Check in page, I have split it into three categories. Emotionally, Physically, Spiritually. Initially I wrote about how family and friends are coping emotionally but quickly realised that this journal is not about them but about me. I also noticed that when a huge problem came up in week two, my concentration was off, not many things were crossed off my lists and I was feeling annoyed with myself. Reading back the short sentences I had written there reminded me to be kind to myself. With Physically, I congratulated myself for taking action and with Spiritually I have tried to recognise that I am small in Planet Earth terms, but I have my six words to back me up for the year.

The Brain Dump has been fabulous. I know that I am the only one who will read this so I am happy to throw the crappy stuff at it so that it is done and dealt with and I can move on to the next pages.

The Habit Tracker pages haven’t really been used yet. I have good intentions and I do plan to use them, but I will get there, or not, and that’s all OK. The Gratitudes page is the one I have changed the most. I had planned to use the one page for the whole month but quickly realised how good it feels to recognise the good things in my life on a daily basis, particularly during a pandemic. So, I have turned it into a weekly page and am loving being able to think back over the day to all the positives and to pick out the three most important ones to me.

As I had promised myself that I would organise my time better this year, I also took the time to plan out things for the whole year to make my life easier. One huge item is this blog. There have been weeks when I have been stuck for what to write about and when to write it so planning out the year has made me feel much more in control and my wonderful editor is also delighted [Ecstatic! Ed] that he knows what to expect and when.

Planning for a whole year can feel very daunting so if this frightens you, don’t do it. Aim for six months or if that’s too much go for three months. You should have some idea where you are heading, though, in order to be able to succeed with your goals so anything less than three months ahead is not ideal and, I suspect, you will give up more easily. Having invested time now to plan ahead means that you are more likely to want to capitalise on that invested time and will make your year easier in the long run.

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