Posts from the ‘Goal of the week’ Category

I am proud to report

I am proud to report a quite successful week regarding the accomplishment of last Monday’s goal. I had been letting my exercise routine slack a bit lately, so I resolved to get back into it last week (and continue to keep it up, of course). So last Monday I did a solid three-mile run, and I went back to my usual fitness classes at the rec center last week. I’ve also been doing a little core work at home, and DH and I went on a bike ride on Saturday. I’ve already got a plan for this week, too, and I feel good about getting ramped up again. I do admit that I don’t always feel motivated to do something, but usually I can manage something at least. I certainly feel like I have to answer to you, dear readers, if I slack off on a goal I told you I’d do. ūüôā

This week, DH is out of town for work, so it’s just the dog and me. Part of this week’s goal is just to keep up with the fitness routine. I think the other one will be trying to do some memorization that I keep putting off. DH teaches our Sunday School class, and he challenged our class to memorize a handful of short verses a few weeks ago. I keep thinking about it but haven’t done it yet, so this seems like a perfect thing to tackle in a week. Like just about everything, if I am not intentional about doing it, it’ll never get done!

For the record, while I was a bit tired from staying up too late with a book last night, this Monday was vastly, vastly better than the “three” that I had already had in July. Maybe I’ve had enough Monday to last me through the rest of the month…and, likewise, the last of my days at my job. And by the way, t’s halfway through July now…can you believe it?

Rainy days and Mondays

Evidently I’ve had three Mondays in eight days. That’s rough. I had a normal Monday today and a week ago, plus I had a “Monday” the day after Independence Day. Having one day off in the middle of the week was nice, but I had a difficult time getting going again, even with just two days until the weekend. Today has also been particularly tough since DH and I took a fast and furious weekend trip and only got back last night. It was really great, and more details will follow, but it’s been challenging getting back up to speed. Not having the weekend to keep up with routine tasks at home means I’m a little bit behind now. Plus it was rainy this morning with possibly more showers this afternoon. A rainy day and a Monday…bound to get me down I guess.

Since it is indeed Monday, it’s time for another Goal of the Week. I decided that I need to up the running again. I keep letting things get in the way of my normal exercise routine, but I shouldn’t. Given the Monday-ness of today, I know it might be hard to force myself to do it, but I’m going to, or else. I hope. :-/ But getting the blood pumping would probably help improve my Monday (and whole week) outlook. So I will do it or else. I hope.

I currently am courting two different job opportunities. Both have their appealing aspects, and they certainly¬† have their drawbacks as well. Things will undoubtedly progress as I continue to talk with both parties this week, and it’s quite possible I’ll have some significant decisions to make in the coming weeks. We’ll just have to see how it plays out. All the while I’m still keeping my eyes open for anything else that comes along. Just three weeks left in my current job…trying to stay motivated until the end. It’s hard when my experiment isn’t working as expected, but, after seven years of research, what else would I expect?

 

June Monthly Challenge: Win all the prizes!

It is, inexplicably, already June. Since I already reinstated goal-of-the-week as a way to keep me pumped up during this transitional time, I am reintroducing a monthly challenge for myself as well.

For the month of June, I am going to enter all the sweepstakes and drawings and contests I come across, and hopefully with an increase in participation I will statistically increase my odds of actually winning something! Of course, I really don’t like statistics, so I’m not going to calculate the chi-squared variance of this or anything.

Anyways, this is actually something I’ve considered doing many times before. Just about every time I go to a store or a restaurant, a survey invitation pops up at the bottom of a receipt promising either a percentage off a future visit or entry into a drawing for cash or gift card.¬† And with Facebook, contests with retailers are even more prevalent, where you can enter to win free stuff, gift cards, or even trips. I have to confess that the latter is possibly the most compelling prize to me at the moment, but even if I don’t win a cruise or a trip to the Olympic games (this is a popular give-away right now), I still might come up with something neat!

While my intention is to enter just about everything I come across, there are a few guidelines I will follow in regards to which contests I might choose to decline. If I have to give too much information or if the whole thing is a little sketchy, I absolutely reserve the right to opt out. Also, if the prize is something I am less interested in, then I’ll pass so that someone who might really appreciate it can have a better chance at it. However, if for example I win a free a free kitchen appliance that I already have, I could always sell one and keep the other. ūüėČ Regardless, I do reserve some right to not participate if I deem in appropriate.

DH and I sometimes complain that we don’t really win a lot of stuff. Some people just seem to have a knack for it; for instance, DH claims his sister is one of those people who always won stuff when they were growing up, whereas he felt like he never won squat. However, I will say that we did win a $50 cash card from the bank once. We entered their little weekly drawing and got a call a few days later that we were selected….of course, we were, like, fifth in line after four people they contacted before us didn’t answer. :p But it was a “win” just the same, right?

When telling DH about my plan, he thought it sounded like a fun challenge. He also pointed out that he’d seen part of a show once about people who do this for a living. I suppose if you knew which sweepstakes to enter and you were diligent to enter as many as possible, as many times as possible, you would inevitably win something. However, I cannot conceive of it being lucrative enough to replace my day job. However, I am looking for work, so…. Ok, maybe not.

Occasionally I get phone calls saying that “I’ve won!” something or the other that I don’t remember entering. Worse, I get spammy texts practically every week claiming the same thing. Those irritate me to no end, so I just completely ignore them. I hope that if I actually win something, I will find their contact method legitimate enough that I don’t hang up on them if it’s the real deal (like a real person instead of a recorded message). Oops…

What about you? Have you ever won a contest or sweepstakes? What did you win? I’d be excited to hear your success stories!

Ridiculous

It’s Monday again, and I’m hoping for a more optimistic week than I had last week.

I wasn’t as successful as I imagined I’d be with my goal-of-the-week last week, as I felt kind of sick, tired, and blah and didn’t feel like doing a lot for a few days. I know, excuses excuses, but you can’t help it sometimes. I’ll keep on this goal, though, to gradually increase the quality of my down time. For this coming week, I have a few things in mind to attempt.

My 10K race is a week from today. I’m not so nervous about the running as I am the crowds of people! There were over 55,000 people who ran this race last year, and sure to be more this year. I hope that it won’t be super crazy insane, and at least I’ll be running with a friend. Of course, “running” might be an optimistic term; we signed up for a walking/jogging wave so if anything besets us, like aches or pains or elevation changes, we can take it easy and still feel good about finishing. One goal for this week is to finally get up to 10 km/6.2 miles on a training run. I’m just under a mile away from the mark. I’m hoping to make it happen today, but we’ll see how it goes.

My other goal is to prepare my lunch the night before I go to work so I’m not throwing it together in the mornings. I eat quite simply, actually, but it still requires some assembly. Occasionally I do manage to do this, and I like the result, so I decided to be intentional about it this week, just because it’s the perfect scope for a GotW.

As we approach June, I should also consider another monthly challenge to pursue. That has been interesting and successful in the past, so I should come up with a good idea and a plan by next week. Did you realize that May is almost gone already? Ridiculous.

 

No idea

I try very hard to not use my blog as an outlet to just whine about my life, but I have to say that, while there have been a few bright spots, I feel like I have been repeatedly kicked in the gut by life  in the last week. >sigh< People keep telling me how wonderful it must feel to be done and free and relaxed and not stressed after graduating. They  have no idea. I had no idea it would be this way.

Well, the only thing getting me through this time is the faith I have that God will provide exactly what I need in precisely His timing. Of course, He never promises that what I need is exactly what I want, and He doesn’t promise that life will be comfortable, either. But sometimes you have to go through some pressure to get a diamond out on the other end, right?

Anyways, it’s Friday, so that’s something I suppose. There are a few interesting things happening over the weekend, so I should look forward to them.

I haven’t done very well at my goal of the week, probably because I didn’t anticipate getting sick with allergies and not feeling like doing anything but sit around and mindlessly surf the web or play games on my phone. However, while I did allow myself some leeway, I did manage to make myself do other things a few times. And thankfully I am feeling better…less miserable congestion and sinus pressure though still some lingering sniffles and sneezes.

Here’s to less emotional baggage next week.

Goal of the week, unplugged

I feel like it’s time to start up Goal of the Week again, but focusing more on personal stuff with some work/career related things if appropriate. However, I feel a little bit silly blogging about my current goal of the week, but please forgive the irony. I’ve been thinking that in general I spend too much time goofing off on computer-related devices–laptop, phone, tablet, whatever. I don’t feel like it’s bad to spend time out on the world wide web or playing a few games on a cell phone, but I think I unconsciously use these as an excuse to not make effort to engage myself in other things, particularly in the evenings at home. This is just a small step from being lazy, isn’t it? And I don’t want to be lazy…I feel like I’m prone to be that way, and I don’t want to encourage it. Plus, if this blog has been about anything at all, it’s about being intentional about life, is it not?

So, my goal for this week is to scale back the gratuitous electronics usage. I should really have some rigorous criteria about usage, i.e. time spent or websites/apps visited, but I haven’t gotten that far. I think I know when I’m involved in meaningful electronic interaction versus when I’m just surfing for the sake of surfing, so I’m just going to try to be aware of what I’m doing. If I sit down to check my email, a few blogs, new forum posts, my fantasy baseball team, and Facebook for 15-30 minutes and then find myself randomly checking the weather or the news or playing solitaire for the sole purpose of avoiding getting up, then I know I’d better hop up straightaway and do something else.

Instead of mindlessly web surfing, I could do some reading or play a board game with DH. If we’re listening to a baseball game on the radio or watching a movie or TV show on Netflix, I could catch up on some knitting instead of being on the computer. I could spend a mere 15 minutes each evening on a household chore and constantly keep on top of everything instead of having marathon cleaning sessions on Saturdays. I can also do a little more exercise, too (gratuitous bragging–I ran 5.25 miles tonight…just less than a mile to squeeze in before my 10k in two weeks!).

So that’s my goal of the week. It’s not always a huge problem, but it was kind of bad over the weekend while my parents were in town and we were just sitting around in the evenings. Plus, if this is a habit I have developed, I don’t want to keep feeding it. Therefore, I thought it would be an excellent candidate for starting this challenge back up. Hopefully I can share some positive progress with you all next week!

Lessons Learned: Goal-setting

One of the surprising things that surfaced out of my creation of this blog is the importance of goal setting. While always a list maker, I never, ever considered myself to be a goal maker. However, a list is clearly a set of goals, so it doesn’t surprise me that my time working on my thesis and writing this blog naturally lead me to a more broadened view of making goals.

I suppose I’ve normally felt that setting too many long-term goals was a bit presumptuous. How am I supposed to know what my life will be like in ten years, let alone in ten days? What I want right now might be totally different after I live a little and gain new perspectives on life. I suppose I took for granted that I did have some assumed life goals; for example, as a high school student I aimed at going to college, and after that it just seemed natural to go to graduate school. I thought I would most likely get married and have kids and work in some sort of job eventually. That was a general plan, but I never took for granted that life is not in my control and my circumstances could always change. Even now I make sure I remember that and allow myself to be at peace about something unexpected happening.

So, since the future is unknowable, I felt for a long time that making long-term goals was a little bit meaningless–why say you are going to do something when you don’t know if you will be able to achieve it? Of course, if you live your life day to day with nothing in particular that you are working for, then it starts to feel like you’re just spinning your wheels. So what’s a girl to do?

It has finally occurred to me how one can approach his or her life to make both today and tomorrow as meaningful as possible in our short time here on earth, and that approach is, shockingly, making goals! Now, in my mind I have this broken up into two areas:¬†personal vs. circumstantial goals and short-term vs. long-term goals. As I just stated in previous paragraphs, I was hung up on the uncertainty of making long-term circumstantial goals. However, I have finally recognized that there’s a much broader scope to goal-setting, and if you can nail down this strategy, you’ve found an incredible tool for living an intentional and meaningful life.

Your money, possessions, or even status can be taken from you, but the things you strive for within yourself are immutable. My previous view of goals was purely one of circumstances or material things, but I now understand that goals can also be set to develop who you are as a person. In that case, it makes total sense to always have a number of short- and long-term personal goals. I believe this is somewhat naturally ingrained in us, as we probably do this without thinking: I should really watch less TV; I should spend more time with the kids; I should be less grumpy in the mornings. I’ve set many vague personal goals like this for myself, but I’ve never articulated them specifically, which has lead to varying degrees of success. If you are intentional about setting personal goals and quantify exactly what you want to accomplish (I will read x books this year or volunteer at y places), then you can gauge your progress and motivate yourself to complete it exactly. And you’ve probably created a wonderful habit you’ll benefit from all your life. Now that I realize this, I’m committed to keeping various personal goals for myself at all times.

While I hesitate at the long view, circumstantial goals are still very important, too. There’s certainly in principle no harm in having a material or situation objective to work toward–a nice house, a good job, a big trip–as long as you keep a reasonable attitude about those things. You wouldn’t want to let something you have, or maybe don’t even have yet, totally define who you are, especially if life happens and you don’t achieve it. However, I see circumstantial goals as particularly important in the short-term. Specifically, I think of these as tasks I need or want to get done within a few days, a few months, or even a few years. For example, I want to get into better shape because I’ve been sitting behind my desk all semester. So my goal is to run a 10K, if that works out for me this spring. Having a real event coming up keeps me motivated to stick to my training schedule, or else I might not keep it up. This could even encompass mundane tasks, such as house projects that aren’t as exciting but never get done if I don’t set an intentional goal to do it.

I definitely took advantage of this kind of mindset during my “101 in 1001,” “Goal-of-the-week,” and “Goal-of-the-month” challenges. And because I took the approach of dividing a large goal into smaller pieces, I leveraged a number of small goals to achieve one large career goal, getting my PhD! So there is definitely a place for long-term circumstantial goals in life, especially since the achievement of circumstantial goals can also develop important personal rewards that will stick with you!

Now, the efficacy of goals does directly relate to personal motivation, and motivation stems from a desire to achieve some sort of reward for the completion of said task or goal. Some people respond to a physical reward–I get a piece of cake if I run five miles, or I get some cash if I complete this job. Others respond to mental or emotional reward, like the prestige of an elite career or even just the satisfaction of improving from a previous state. For a list maker like myself, I was surprised to comprehend what level of satisfaction I get just by drawing a line through something–essentially satisfaction at the act of completion itself. If the end reward is not alluring enough for the amount of effort required, then a goal will never be achieved.

Goals are also fantastic for looking back and seeing what you’ve accomplished, especially if you take the large number of small goals approach. For instance, if you wanted to loose weight, you might get discouraged from day to day if you aren’t seeing obvious progress. But knowing where you came from (x pounds or y inches) and remembering your milestones (I did lose 5 lbs or 3 inches off my waist) helps keep you motivated to see the goal to the end.

So, I’m glad that this process has taught me to articulate my feelings about goals, because I’m now excited to leverage this new technique for future personal and circumstantial successes in my life. I hope that my new-found perspective will motivate you to try some goal-setting in your life and see what happens!