Getting Back on Track: Three ways I create new goals

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Feeling Overwhelmed & Without Purpose

After several emotionally taxing events last year, I had another round of depression that crept in and hung around for several months. Overlapping with that time, but extending until just recently, I had a couple stressful work events that consumed a fair bit of my time and, more importantly, my energy.

Getting Back on Track

When I get frustrated with my work-life-play balance and how I’m allocating my energy and focus, I find it helpful to switch around my bullet journal setups, reevaluate my routines and typical behaviors, contemplate my values and set some new goals. It can provide me with inspiration, excitement and a more optimistic outlook.

The first thing I typically do is review articles about the “Eisenhower Matrix”. The Eisenhower Matrix is a prioritization system for your to do list that emphasizes the difference between important things and urgent things. If you haven’t heard of it before, you should definitely read up on it. The goal is to be working on important, but not urgent, things most of the time. Sometimes I need help deciding what is important, though, and this is where my three methods of deciding goals comes in.  Once I have some goals, my goal-related items on my task lists get stars next to them- they are important and should be given the priority they deserve even if I feel there are more pressing matters.

Method One: Value Sorting

Have you heard of value sorting before? It’s a common life coaching tool. It consists of a deck of cards with values on them. Some examples of values are: “creativity”, “wealth”, “professional accomplishment” and “faith”. You sort these values based on their level of importance to you. Eventually you sort them into five categories: least important, less important, neutral, more important and most important. You can find one online version of the tool here: http://thegoodproject.org/toolkits-curricula/the-goodwork-toolkit/value-sort-activity/

Understanding what your values are is important for living authentically. Authenticity is about living consistently with your beliefs and values. Someone who is honest, hardworking, down to earth and responsible might still not be an authentic person. For example, a person who matches the above description might spend a lot of their time working, taking care of family and meeting the expectations of others; however, they truly have a passion for art and beauty that they are ignoring. They might be a wonderful person, but they aren’t living authentically.

Once you’ve done a value sorting exercise, take a look at your “most important” values. Each time you do the exercise these might change slightly, and that’s alright. You are looking to acknowledge what is important to you at that moment. You should have just four most important values. Brainstorm possible goals that relate to these values. What helps you live more in line with these values? What activities can you add to your daily life that relate to these values?

Method Two: Categories of Self Care

Consider the different categories of self care. If you are unfamiliar with those categories take a look at  another one of my blog posts: http://www.crazycatnerd.com/meowing/2019/2/28/types-of-self-care-a-comprehensive-look-at-self-care What categories do you feel you could give more attention to? What areas would be beneficial for you to focus on? Is there something self care related that you’ve been wanting to work on? Perhaps you already recognize you need to get more movement or better sleep, listen to what your body is telling you and focus on that. But if you aren’t sure, review the self care categories and brainstorm possible goals related to them.

Method Three: Wheel of Life

There are several variations of the Wheel of Life which is another popular life coaching tool that is used for finding balance. If the various aspects of your life were put together to form a wheel would you have a smooth ride? Some of the aspects to consider are career, family, health and fun. Find a template such as :https://medium.com/@chengeerlee/wheel-of-life-a-self-assessment-tool-to-find-out-what-is-not-working-in-your-life-8af1faadafa5 or https://raviraman.com/the-wheel-of-life/ .

Rank your satisfaction with each area of your life on a scale of 1 to 10. Which areas are the lowest? Brainstorm goals for each of your lowest categories.

Setting Goals

Choose one goal from each method- Values, Self Care and Wheel of Life. If any of the goals from each method are the same or similar, I give them priority. If something can help increase both my self care and helps me realize one of my values, I go with that one! It’s important to limit your goals. I chose to do one from each category, but you could do more or less. We are seeking to find purpose and have a clearer path so limiting ourselves to just a few goals gives us focus.

Once you have your three goals, break them down into small actionable chunks. Something that will take you less than three months to achieve. I write my goals in my monthly bullet journal spread along with five actionable steps I can take that month to work towards that goal. When I set up my weekly spread, I take at least one actionable step from each goal and add it to my weekly task list. When I setup my daily spread, I write down three small, achievable tasks that work towards the step I chose for the week.

For example, one of my goals is to establish a blogging routine that I maintain for three months. For the month of June, my goal was to simple write three blog posts. For a variety of reasons, I haven’t been blogging as much recently so I started simple- I just wanted to get some posts written. Writing posts will help me formulate my routine. For this week, my goal was to write a blog post. My goal for today- write a paragraph for that post.

By breaking my goals down into more reasonable steps I can ensure I work on them mostly everyday. This keeps my motivation up and ensures I don’t let my goals fall to the wayside. It makes me feel good to know I’m moving in the right direction step by step.


Moving Forward

This has helped me immensely over the last couple weeks. I feel optimistic about the future and motivated to improve my life. I hope this post gives you some inspiration. One of my top four values is personal growth, so please share any ideas you have with me about goal setting in the comments!


About: What do I want from this site?

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My site is still undergoing a bit of a reboot/reorganization and I’ve been considering how to separate various topics. I used to have separate blogs (all on this site) for the various topics I post the most about (Sims, Bullet Journals, etc…). I’ve condensed down to one feed now, but I do plan to have pages dedicated to specific topics. To help me decide which topics would be turned into their own pages, I took a look at my most popular content over the last year or so. One thing that I noticed was that my “about” page was one of the top pages.

That information inspired me to focus on creating another about page as I currently don’t have one. My idea for the about page is to have a collection of posts about the site and me. That brings to me to this post! The first “About” question I’m going to answer is what I want from this site. Here is what I’m striving for:

Community

The first thing I want is the creation of a community. I have a have a habit of creating communities, or at least attempting to, where ever they fit into my life. For many years, I had Yahoo! groups dedicated to various interests of mine- mostly with friends or real life acquaintances, but sometimes strangers too. When I was younger (highschool through undergrad), I organized group trips of 10 to 18 people for a week long vacation in Maine, all staying in one house. Not all of the people were my friends- we had friends of friends, acquaintances and relatives too. I organized food, activities, games and tried my best to bring everyone together as a group. I now have several Slack communities I manage- one for friends, one for family, one for a game I like to run called Mafia, one for work, and one for a Pathfinder game I run. I also like to arrange group gatherings and trips among friends and family.

Ultimately, I want to have some sort of community here. A community of people with similar interests. There might be a forum, or maybe a Slack workspace. I’m not sure how it will develop, but I want my readers to interact with me, the blog, and each other. I want to facilitate new friendships. I’d like games, events and snailmail swaps. I’m not sure how I’m going to get there yet, but it is my aim.

Discovering Fun

Another thing I want to do is help people add more fun and play into their lives. There are plenty of reasons to be serious in life, but having fun is equally important for ALL AGES. Adults should be playing board games, collecting things that make them happy, and striving to have a sense of wonder and joy. It is important to be creative, learn new things, try new hobbies and seek out ways to make your life more fun. I have a lot of hobbies and I want to share them with you in hopes that you find something that interests you. If you are excited and happy about life you have more energy to get the things done that you need or want to do.

Inspiration, Self Motivation & Accountability

I find sharing my journey quite inspiring and motivating. With whatever hobby or self care practice I’m trying out, blogging about it encourages me. Sometimes I find support through comments or tweets, but also the act of self reporting provides some accountability on its own. Thinking about topics from the perspective of a potential reader brings new ideas, interests and paths to the surface for me to explore further. When I layout a blog post on a particular topic, or am generating ideas for blog posts, I find inspiration for all aspects of my life.

Self Care Awareness

A few years ago, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. Since then, I’ve begun viewing everything with the lens of self care. I’ve done a lot of work with therapy, classes, research, mindfulness, meditation and health coaches. I’ve made some huge leaps in how I feel. I didn’t realize how intensely my mental health could impact my physical body when I started this journey, and I have learned so much about why self care is important. I want to help others become more self aware, and share the tools I have found in hopes they can help someone.

A Job I Love

Yes, someday I do want the blog to generate a little bit of income for me. Right now, it generates $0 and I’m okay with that. Oh, actually like -$50/year due to costs of domain, etc… I don’t know how I want to handle generating revenue yet. Integrity and honesty are very important to me, and I haven’t been totally satisfied by some paths I’ve looked into. I have a full time job that I like well-enough, but I really love blogging. In the future, I’d like for it to produce enough income that I can make blogging my primary job.

Weekly Spread: February 24th to March 2nd

Last week I introduced you to a technique I am using to work on my relationship with time for the purposes of mental health and self care. You can check that first post out here: http://www.crazycatnerd.com/meowing/2019/2/18/weekly-spread-february-17th-to-23rd

Last Week

Here’s the completed version of last week’s spread:

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It looks like I was pretty negligent on my hobbies, so I need to aim for a bit more balance. I ended up adding things to my weekly to-do list, but I checked off more than I thought I would. So, I’ve made a few more slots on the list, but left some of them blank to be filled in over the next couple days. I met my goals for steps, level up life and page views, so I can up my expectations on those a bit. It seems my EBT skills (the graph) drop off on Thursday/Friday which is something to be mindful of.

This Week

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Layout:

Overall, I think last week’s layout worked pretty well. I didn’t use the schedule area (Sun, Mon, etc… beneath the calendar) so I shrunk that area and added a larger sticker. I added an “email” goal bar as I’m trying to clean out my inbox.

I shortened the Self Care area, as I had too many goals. I also increased the blog area.

Goals:

  1. Reduce E-mail Clutter: My inbox is overflowing. This week I want to drop the Google-labeled “important” e-mails from 560 to 510. So handling 50 e-mails.

  2. For my work-based health programs, I plan on walking 52,000 steps this week, doing three sessions of 11 minutes of stretching exercises, taking three mindful walks, getting at least six hours of sleep on five different nights and completing one activity for my Hooswell “Journey”.

  3. In my hobbies, I’d like to spend time playing The Sims, practicing doodling, organizing my Disney pin collection, and working on my next session of Dungeons and Dragons.

  4. For my self care goals this week I’d like to do:

    1. One meditation exercise

    2. 3 extra “5 minute pickups” to help with decluttering

    3. Play a game on Steam that is not Civilization

    4. Complete one task for tax preparation

    5. Start keeping track of my water intake in the Fitbit app

  5. I still need to give you a post about the “Level Up Life” app, but my goal in there this week is to earn 300 additional XP.

  6. I’m starting my next class series with EBT from a local provider, so keeping track of my check-ins and joy points (two EBT techniques) has become a priority. I’m hoping to get more of each this week.

  7. I’ve made a more specific list of things I want to achieve this week. In future week’s, I may do each task more than once per week, but for now I’m setting my goal at just once per week and see what happens.

Thank you for being my accountability! ;) What are your goals for this week? Are there any topics/tasks/goals from above that you’d like to hear more about? Let me know in the comments!

Weekly Spread: February 17th to 23rd

One of my greatest tools for self care and mental health is my Bullet Journal. I tend to keep my Bullet Journal pretty simple, like the original method by Ryder Carroll, with the focus more on planning, goal setting and self-reflection. While I sometimes use washi tape or stickers, or add in the occasional doodle, those only happen when I have time and/or a creative outlet is beneficial for me at that time.

By recording what I expect to do every day and what I actually did on any given day and then comparing the two, I’ve been able to adjust the expectations I have on myself. On a day to day basis, I’m kinder to my self and I’m finding more balance in my life.

I still have time struggles, though, particularly on weekends and with my overall picture of what I am accomplishing on a larger scale. Effectively, my life to-do list is long and ever-growing, even though on a day to day basis I’m forming more reasonable expectations. My therapist has suggested that I start applying the methods I use for day to day on the scale of a week.

Weekly Spreads are a pretty common thing in the Bullet Journal community. I’m trying to keep my new weekly spreads simple while motivating. I’m trying divide my goals by category to help give me an idea of balance. The goals side of my spread involves a lot of self care. I keep a separate work Bullet Journal as I have a 40hr/week job that has plenty of responsibilities and such to keep track of.

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The idea is that when I go to create my new weekly spread, I review the old one. If I didn’t finish a group of goals or tasks, I try reducing the amount a bit or relocating things that are less important to the monthly list. For things that I did well in and can push myself to do more (steps, sleep, etc…), I’ll increase the amount or add more tasks.

This week I have some to-do list tasks plus a variety of goals. I have health goals for the programs at my workplace that I participate in. I created a list of self care tasks based upon the self care categories I recently identified in my research (post about this coming soon). I think the list might be a bit too long, but there were 9 categories and I couldn’t choose. I’ll see how many I get done and adjust accordingly.

Level Up Life is an app that awards you XP (experience points and stats, like a roleplaying game) for completing various activities to improve your life. I increased my XP goal for this week based on what I earned last week. However, on Sunday I purchased a plant for my home which corresponded to a significant XP gain. So, I’ve already completed my weekly goal!

I have a list of blog tasks I need to complete, and I’m going to try to check off three of them this week. In addition to this post, I have 3 more in the works (categories of self care, day zero of our WDW vacation, and a Sims post). I’m also tracking a stat for the first time in awhile.

What are your goals for the week? Do you use a weekly spread?