Goals… Set and Do Not Forget.

People wander.  I’m referring to the nomads, the ancient jews, and the attention deficit disorder junkies.  I don’t put myself in any of those categories, so I guess I’m referring to the rest of us as well… Read all the self help books you’d like, outside of the need for a spirirtual component in your life, you’ll find that if you want to improve an aspect of yourself, set a goal and stick to it.  Full disclosure, I don’t read self help books…

Some of us were taught to set goals in schools, some were taught by their family, some just learned it themselves.  The weight that goal setting is given in education (at least in the US public schools today) is not nearly enough.  There are examples of it… Task lists, weekly assignments and due dates.  But emphasizing the act of goal setting and completion and how to achieve them, not so much.

And that’s what I am trying to do here now.  I’ve set so many life goals in my past.  Write novels, become a teacher, visit all 50 US states, etc.  Some I’ve met and some I haven’t.  The ones I’ve met have two things in common compared to the ones I haven’t acheived.

They are specific.

There is an end date.

“Write a novel” is ridiculously generic with no end date.  I had no real direction.  I have started many novels (I’m actually surprised at how many I’ve started) and finished none.  I have had no end date, I have had no specific reason to finish them.  I haven’t been driven to work on them during those days (that inevitably come) where working on a novel is not only drudgery but drudgery that prevents me from enjoying pleasure in other activities.

But I’m done with a flag football coaching book…  I await the illustrations from a local artist to complete and publish it.  If those don’t come by my end date, I will publish it without them.  The difference between this book on coaching and the “novels” is the specificity and the timeline.

I’ve coached youth sports for over 20 years.  I decided that I should write a book about how to do it effectively not just for the sport in general but how to interact with the parents and players and other coaches and refs.  It was a detailed and specific concept.  One that, once I started filling in the details, started to complete itself.

I also have a deadline that I created for myself.  One that is still looming.  I want it to be published prior to the spring flag football season…  So I need to have it completed (fully completed) in August.  And magically I have a reason to work on it even when I’d rather be focusing on listening to a podcast in a hammock…

The same applies to this blog.  This is my journey to podcasting and monetizing that podcast/blog.  I have a specific goal, create a podcast, create a book about the process of creating it (this blog), and monetize both.  The monetization of the blog into a book is self explanatory.  The monetization of the podcast is something that I’m still determining the best approach.  And I have created a date to have accomplished the first two.  Podcast will be starting in or before July.  It will be about teaching a single Dad how to cook for himself and his children (incidentally, I plan on writing a book about THAT too, but I’ve not set that goal yet).  The podcast “journey” book will come after that but by no later than November…

I have specifics and an end date, I will make them happen.  And they will not be perfect!  I don’t expect them to be.  Every writer, every podcaster, every creator knows that their creation could be better.  But if I was seeking perfection I would never finish anything…

And one other thing, there can’t be any other things.  The third and possibly most important aspect of setting goals, at least for me, is to not set too many.  Sure, there can be the vague no time goals that don’t have specifics, but those are dreams, not goals.  I’m not going to stop dreaming.  But I’m also not going to set other goals until I’m done and am living within THESE goals.  If I do then I might have to sacrifice these goals in order to meet the next and I will never have accomplished/finished anything.  A goal without a plan is just a dream…

On a side note, I’ve been to 48 of the 50 states, two more to go!

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