Monday, August 05, 2013

Goals - August 2013 revision

Since 2010, each summer I set out a list of goals / areas for self-improvement for myself for the coming year. Let's review how I've progressed since my February update on my 2012-2013 goals.

Set reasonable, achievable goals
Also, Stop stressing about how much I can't accomplish
A roller-coaster of success. In the smaller, day-to-day type things, I'd say I achieved this goal. However, as you'll read in a future blog post, I made some epic-scale miscalculations / poor decisions about time-management between March and June, that effectively revoke my earlier statement. Let's call this one a wash (for now).

Sub-goal: Punctuality
Still measurable success. My follow-on goal is to take a step further: aim for being early rather than just punctual. Aka, plan for bad traffic and other unexpected hold-ups.

Avoid procrastination
I'll get back to this one. Ha. Get it? No, actually, I'm doing decently. I mean, everyone procrastinates to some degree. I would argue that the majority of my procrastination has been of the form: "project A is not urgent, but project B is, therefore, I must post-pone my plans for project A and instead work on project B right now." My next step is to identify which of the "urgent" things are actually important. See Randy Pauch's lecture on time management for further explanation.

Focus on tasks that matter
Loaded question. Mmmm... Still sorting through the emotions on this one. See a future blog post about my casting database work from March - June. This again relates to Randy's time management lecture.

Focus on people that matter
This I have done.

Take one thing at a time
Constantly reminding myself, "just do this one thing, focus on this one thing", because otherwise I thrash. I'm working on how to reduce the "clutter" that induces thrashing, like having too many separate todo lists, or physical todo piles, etc.

Accept that I cannot solve every problem
The first couple weeks in July have done wonders in this area for me. Trying to keep it up.

Strive toward better anger management
Rocking this one. My friend John has been a great anger management counselor, and I'm doing much better at biting my tongue.

Move on from Minnehaha
As I wrote in my mid-year update, moving on has been a very natural progression. Emotionally, I needed that slow transition. In July, my successor successfully rolled the back-to-school forms database for the new school year, which was our last major "transition" hurdle. Additionally, I added an "I don't work here anymore" auto-reply to my Minnehaha email, and no longer check it regularly. I call this a healthy success.

Eat more healthfully
I'm trying. Also my doctor insisted I keep a food journal (as related to my Crohn's; he called me out on all my excuses, because, well, I have a smart phone that can take notes, so, I don't have any valid excuses). Tracking what I eat has actually made me more conscious about it. Sugar is still present, but I'll think twice because I know I need to journal it.

Take responsibility for my own actions
I haven't consciously thought about this one in a long time. I'm definitely getting better at admitting fault, which is related (though not the original intent of this goal). Yes, I'd say I'm owning my responsibility.

Sub-goal: be discerning about whose opinions I let matter
Still succeeding. And still work to be done (always :)

Second sub-goal: find my value in the Lord; aka, be myself, and do so unashamedly
Over the past month I've been pushing hard on the first half. For years I have defined myself by the measure of my job / career, income, number of friends, relationship status, number of blood donations, the movie projects I've worked on, and so on. That is not how God sees me. And therefore it is not how I want to see and define myself, because each of those status symbols is transient: I could lose any of them at any moment. I saw this happen to one of my best friends a year and a half ago: he lost his career, his business, and most of his "friends" (fair-weather friends, and let's be honest, I'm judging pretty harshly). Point being: I am forced to acknowledge that I do not completely control my life. Therefore, I so strongly desire to find my value in something eternal, which is what Jesus / God offers me. That cannot be taken away by life's happenstances.

Regarding the "be myself": I only know how to be myself, so I desire to worry less about what other people are seeing and respond with simply: "This is me. Deal with it."

Spend time with God
Overall success. Pushing myself to do even better. I've committed myself to making it to at least one of my churches each week (I'm part of both Jacob's Well and Upper Room). Interesting story: on my way home from Iowa a few Sundays ago, my car stopped wanting to accelerate (broken O2 sensor) - I did make it home okay, but then didn't want to risk taking the car out that evening. I told my parents I was just going to stay home, but they knew I'd come home early specifically so I could go to my evening church service, and so they offered that I could borrow their car. Had that not worked out, my friend Joe also offered to make a special trip to pick me up in between services. Read whatever you will into the story. I read it as God affirming my longing to spend time with Him. (masculine pronoun for convenience only)

Continue maintaining a healthful life/work balance
Absolute fail March - June. Success otherwise.

Take more risks
Yes. As specifically relates to the fear of failure of asking someone out, I've done well at getting over myself. (still single and looking, though).

Don't ever settle
Continuing to do this one too well. Spending 3 - 4 hours looking for the perfect fold-up lawn chair, for example, may not have been the best use of my time. Four stores later, I ended up going back to the first store and one of the first chairs I looked at. However, I definitely feel I did not settle :)

Take a vacation
I've visited friends in Iowa a couple times, and have plans scheduled to visit friends in Los Angeles later this year. I do still need to get better at taking time for me, though.

Mini-vacations also count, I think. There was a moment on the 4th of July, I was with a group of friends sitting out on the grass relaxing, when someone asked what time it was. I realized: I didn't have my phone on me (it was in a bag a few dozen feet away), I didn't know what time it was, I wasn't connected to the world, and that was okay. You might call this "living in the moment". I desire more moments like that.

Always speak my heart
I'm going to re-frame this one, to not only speak my heart, but continue getting better at speaking what I hear God asking me to say.

For 2013-2014, I continue to hold all the above goals, and I'm adding a few more:

Let go of some grudges
Years later, there are still grudges I hold in my heart, that I need to let go. Specifically: several "friends" who took advantage of me financially, certain past and present Minnehaha employees with whom I butted heads, a former pastor, and the list probably goes on. I really need to get over this.

Gossip less
Years ago, my co-worker Cathleen commented to me her respect that I didn't gossip around the workplace (something like that; I lack an eidetic memory). This has stuck with me, and weighed heavily the last few years as I've found it less and less true anymore. I suppose one might argue that there are different types of gossip, some more or less harmful than others, but for once, I'm not interested in the semantics.

Being where I should be
Earlier this summer, while I was at a friend's going-away get-together, another group of friends repeatedly texted asking why I wasn't hanging out with them at Merlin's (our go-to restaurant/pub). I replied that "I'm where I need to be right now", and would join them later. In this case the decision was easy: because my friend would soon be facing sentencing, and we didn't know how long he would be going away, there was no question that I was where I should be. Granted, punctuality is another goal of mine, but there are times when you need to drop everything and simply "be" with a person; my goal is to continue that discernment, to know in-the-moment where I am supposed to be, and live it out.

Know thyself
I desire to know myself even better than I do now, and, more specifically: to understand my motivations. At any given moment, why am I feeling what I'm feeling? If I'm elated, is it because I'm finding value in something eternal or transient? If I'm depressed, is it because, despite what I might have tried to tell myself, I set unrealistic expectations and was let down?

Recognize when there is no one "right" choice
Wild guess: most choices aren't between "right" and "wrong", but between "right" and "right". And that is okay. My goal is to be more comfortable in that lack of a dichotomy.

Thus concludes my list of goals for 2013 - 2014.