January 13, 2013

To Goal or Not to Goal

For me, 2012 marked a year of cutting back on the list-making, particularly after realizing that my to-do lists led to more stress than feelings of accomplishment.  What I learned during this time of being to-do list-less was that I was still productive without writing every single thing down that needed to be done, or that didn't really need to be done, hence defeating the purpose of a to-do list anyway.  I mean, really: who wants to shine shoes on a Monday night?  Better yet, who needs to shine shoes on a Monday night?  Not this girl.  Thus, scaling back on the list-making and checking it twice for the past year allowed me to reprioritize what really needs to be accomplished in order to achieve my goals.

Having not written a single to-do personal list in 2012, starting in 2013 I returned to my list-making of years past (inspired by the book, The Power of Habit - Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, I recently read), but with a different, more focused and pared-down approach.  Instead of writing every possible chore/errand/goal on my list that I could or should do in a week, I've since taken to adding to my to-do list only the things that I need and want to be doing.  Taking this approach has allowed me to focus on what’s important in my life and what I need to be doing in order to achieve my personal goals.  This includes  fun, non-chore-y things too, like going to the movies by myself, something I've always wanted to do but have been too chicken to try (stay tuned for the accomplishment of this goal).

There are two schools of thought on goal-making: one school says that the best goal is to have no goals at all; the second says that goal-setting is the key to success. Having tried out both schools, I’ve learned that the best school for me is a happy medium of both. 

Because I find that I am happiest when my life is in balance (which for me is achieved by working out regularly, eating healthy, seeing the people I care about on a regular basis, having a clean and comfortable environment,  getting enough R&R, and tossing a little adventure and there), the things I need to do to maintain this lifestyle wind up top priority on the list.  Anything beyond that does not likely meet my ultimate goal of being in balance, so now gets added to the very bottom of the list, with an “Optional” subheading.  That way, I feel an extra sense of accomplishment if I hit one or two of them, and if not, there’s no skin off my back.  Why sweat the small stuff, as they say? 

I've found my revised approach to the good old-fashioned to-do list to be effective so far.  What can I say?  Setting goals makes me happy, and achieving them?  Even more so. 


Cheri said...

Good luck with your revised list technique! I was such a huge listmaker until I had my son. Then I would just lose them or find them half-eaten in the bedroom or something.

Sarah Woehler Michaud said...

We'll see how it goes. You definitely need to repriorotize when life changes, especially with children. :)