One at a Time

I love lists. I love goals. I love crossing things off my list and announcing a goal met. But sometimes I get a little carried away with my lists and goals. Sometimes my lists get so long and my goals so lofty that I can’t cross anything off and another year passes and goals are not met.

And it’s not that I don’t have the greatest of intentions. Often I get so fired-up inspired and feel as if I can take on the world.  {Cue the Indiana Jones theme song Duh Duhduh Duh… Dudduh Duh… Duhduh duh duh…. Duhduh duh duh DUH!!}

And it’s not that I can’t do any one of the items on my list. It’s that I can’t do ALL of them at once. But I try to!

It goes down something like this:

I hear a speaker, read a book, wake up from an inspiring dream, have a brainstorming conversation with a good friend and the eyes begin to sparkle, the wheels begin to turn and the list begins with not one, not two, but 3 millions things to be accomplished by one person in an unreasonably short amount of time even for a super hero!

But I take it on because I can!

I’m going to:

  • Run 3 miles EVERYDAY
  • Blog 3 times a week
  • Volunteer at the local hospital every Friday
  • Learn to speak a foreign language in under a week
  • Menu plan for the entire year
  • Cook fresh food, from my garden. everyday of the week (3 meals a day)
  • Send everyone I know an encouraging letter by the end of the month.
  • Lose 10lbs by giving up coffee cold turkey
  • Publish my first book by the end of August
  • Write the enrichment curriculum for the entire year by the end of September

And the list and the aspirations go on and on

It’s not too bad at first. Day one of goal attaining is busy but the thrill of success is addictive. Day two, I’m a little tired from the day before but I’ve got the tiger by the tail! Let’s do this! By day 7, I’m worn out.  Goals are falling off the wagon right and left and I really have nothing to show for my effort but red eyes and a crushed spirit.

And I give up or postpone my lists and goals…until I hear another great speaker or read an inspiring book or…you get the picture.

But recently I had a “what if” moment.

What if I made my lists and goals just like always but then I narrowed them down to goals that I actually wanted to meet.

And what if I  was realistic in my goal setting instead of creating unrealistic timelines and expectations

And what if I took it one step further and only did one thing at a time.

Yep. What if I went after one and only one goal with reckless abandon until I could cross it off my list.

And then picked another goal that I went after with that same undivided passion as before.

I’ve played around with this a little bit. Thanks to an inspiring movement called Finish Year I made three simple goals for this year.

1. Tell Marshall and Dominic that I love them every day.

2. Write one blog post a week.

3. Mail one handwritten note per week.

Now this is a great movement and I love it but I bet you know what’s coming. Even with these three simple goals, I don’t meet all of them. Have I mailed any handwritten notes? Just one. So this goal although honorable has not happened…yet.

But with my new resolve to cross things off my list one thing at a time I think it’s about to start happening.

I do tell Marshall and Dominic every day how much I love them. Honestly this one comes so easily that there really wasn’t any effort required.

Blogging once a week. That has started to come more naturally as well. But it has taken time. And I’m not thoroughly convinced that I’ve got this one mastered. But…in a few weeks, after I’ve successfully blogged at least once weekly, I will view this goal as attained. I will also view it as habit {which ultimately is better than being crossed off of any list}

And I will move on to a handwritten note a week.

Now. A few thoughts.

Does this mean I won’t write any notes between now and when it becomes my priority goal? Not at all. I just won’t hang my head in shame if I don’t write one each week, either.

This also doesn’t mean that I won’t try to cut back on the caffeine or get outdoors for a run here and there or work on any other goals I have on my proverbial list. But again I won’t beat myself up over a goal unattained.

I’ll take my goals one at a time and work on them til I succeed. Until they are a part of me. And then I’ll move on to the next thing.

But I’ll take on each line item one at a time and be proud of my albeit short list of accomplishments. It may be short but it will be much better than a long list of the should have, would have, could haves of the past.

So I’ve shared my top three goals for this season. One is a habit. One is getting there and another is waiting to be tackled when the time is right.

If you made a list of priorities and goals, realistically narrowed them down, what would be the first thing that you would start working on?

Patty Parker

My name is Patty Parker. I write about finding beauty in the every day.

One thought on “One at a Time

  1. “One is a habit. One is getting there and another is waiting”. I love this Patty, you encourage me with every blog post, twitter and photo.

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