by Nancy Casey
Before you write goals for yourself, think about what you want for yourself in your life. (Here are some writing exercises that will help you do that.)
Then you must list the obstacles that stand between you and what you want. When you write out the actual goal, you are making a promise to yourself to do something very specific that will help you overcome one obstacle. (Here are some suggestions for how to do that.)
When you write a goal, you also decide how often you will take time to review your progress and evaluate how things are working.
What is evaluation?
People often confuse “evaluation” with finding fault. Nothing could be further from the truth. The word “value” is at the heart of evaluation. The central question of the evaluation process is: “What is the value of this to me?” You can write about that in two parts. The first part is note-taking, the second part is a Pep Talk.
Write down notes about each goal
- Review the goal. What, exactly, did you promise yourself that you would do?
- Recall why you set the goal. What do you want that this goal will help you get? Why is this valuable and important to you?
- Measure your success. What, exactly, did you do in order to meet your goal? Tell everything you did right. Did your actions make anything different or better?
- Consider your failures. Nobody is perfect all of the time. Where do you think you fell short? What extra obstacles got in your way? Do you want to change this goal a little bit?
Write Yourself a Pep Talk
When you write yourself a Pep Talk, you take on the voice and personality of the person who understands you the best and believes in you the most. Write your Pep Talk as if you are writing a letter. Here are some things that you can discuss with yourself.
- Describe the best parts of what you did and congratulate yourself for doing them. Give yourself extra congratulations for anything that was hard.
- Remind yourself why you are doing this. Refresh your memory about what you want and why it is valuable to you.
- Point out at least one thing that has changed and why that change is an improvement.
- Look ahead to the future with this goal. Predict what will be smooth. Give warnings and encouragement about obstacles that are ahead.
- Set a date and time for your next evaluation session.
Make evaluation part of your comfort system
Your comfort system consists of all the things that you do to rest, refresh, and renew yourself. When you take time to notice the value of the things that you do, you deepen your understanding of yourself and the meaning of your life. This can be very private. It is also a reason to celebrate yourself.
Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. She has taught writing classes at the Recovery Center and will return again in the spring of 2018. You can find more of her work here. If you would like her help with a writing project, large or small, email email@example.com for more information.