“The flowers of tomorrow are in the seeds of today…”
I first heard about setting goals when I was twenty-something. I loved the idea. I’m a dreamer. For several years I would, excitedly, as the new year dawned, write down all the things I wanted to accomplish and the self improvements I would make. My goals would always include losing weight and eating healthier. I may have stuck to my plan for a short while, but I don’t remember experiencing any lasting changes. What was so exhilarating on January first felt like failure on December thirty-first.
One year an awareness came to me. I realized I’d been randomly making lists without consulting God about what His ideas for me were. I began to pray and fast and ask God what He wanted me to accomplish. This changed everything. I realized His plans were much more manageable and doable. “His yoke is easy and His burden is light”, I thought.
I realized something else about goal setting. My “goals” were just fun ideas: lose weight, eat healthy, read my Bible, etc. There were no steps to reach goals, no completion dates and far too lofty expectations. A goal is the end toward which effort is directed. It’s something you’re trying to achieve. What brings success is a step by step process that results in the specific accomplishment we desire.
A few suggestions:
Ask the Holy Spirit to bring His purposes to your mind. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10.) It helps me to think in terms of the various roles He has already assigned to me: wife, mom, business owner, mentor; and ask what is next in these areas.
Jot down the ideas that come to mind in stream of consciousness style, knowing you can hone in on the main elements later.
Try to end up with one or two goals in each area that you’re considering. If you make a long glorious list like I used to make, you’ll be frustrated.
Choose reasonable reachable goals. Drinking sixteen ounces of water each day when you usually drink none will be a win! Walking around the block or a set distance four times a week may be more doable than vaguely stating you’ll join a gym and work out six times a week. Joining a gym is great, just don’t set yourself up for failure.
Make goals that will challenge you but are attainable.
Create specifically written dated goals so you’ll know when they’ve been achieved. Keep track of daily and weekly progress. Set the frequency for your action steps and keep track of your progress.
Commit to the process more than the goal. Focus daily on your processes and habits that you’re developing. Your goal may be obtaining a master’s degree. Track the number of pages you need to read each day or the hours you study in order to cover all material by a certain date. If we focus only on the long-term goal it can seem obscure and impossible. It’s easier to track our daily processes.
Post your goals and review your daily plan often. It helps me to write action steps on my calendar.
Pause and consider why you’re setting goals. For instance, I’m eating healthy and exercising because I want to enjoy my granddaughter and future grandkids :). I read inspiring and challenging books daily (C. S. Lewis, the Bible, etc. ) because I want to grow in my faith and reflect Christ to those around me. I read books and listen to podcasts about minimalism, organizing and staging so I’ll benefit my clients.
I hope my ideas help! Here’s to a happy and productive 2017!
‘”Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment “as to the Lord.” It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received.” The Weight of Glory, by C.S. Lewis
I love helping folks stage their homes when they are selling. Staging makes an enormous difference.
I also enjoy helping clients stage to stay. If you are living in your home— as opposed to marketing to prospective buyers— your home should tell your story.
I have been privileged to be invited into many homes since I launched my organizing/staging business thirteen years ago. I’m honored and humbled that clients would invite me into the most private —and sometimes most embarrassing— part of their lives.
Observations I’ve made when visiting homes:
If a house is hidden behind overgrown shrubs and trees it says, “Go away”.
A dirty or cluttered entrance is not welcoming.
Most people don’t know the best way to arrange furniture.
They do not have a specified purpose for each area.
Pictures are hung too high or incorrectly.
Traditional design principles are not embraced.
Clients are stuck with old furnishings that currently don’t work.
They have been talked into purchasing furniture that does not meet their needs.
They make an erroneous assumption that a container of some sort will make them organized.
They plan a costly and expansive construction project thinking their problems will be solved.
Tips for making your home truly yours:
Create areas for conversation so that you can look another person in the eye when you’re chatting. Don’t line the walls with furniture.
Every little spot does not need to be filled. Empty space is restful for the eyes.
Decide what is the main purpose for each area or room. Do you play games, visit with friends, read or watch television? What furnishings are needed?
Think creatively when choosing pieces of furniture. Repurpose second-hand items to suit your current needs.
Don’t get bamboozled by impressive ads of expensive pieces that look like they’ll solve all your problems. Make shopping decisions based on your own unique needs.
Choose lamps that are adequate in size. I’m surprised at how few lamps I see in homes and how small they are. I often ask, “Where do you read?” Lamps are important for warmth and ambience in addition to reading.
If you have a rug in your main living area, make sure it is large enough to incorporate furniture into a warm cohesive unit.
Locate the focal point in your room–usually the largest decorative feature— if possible set your sofa parallel to it.
Make sure your accessories and decorative pieces are things you love and use. Have just enough old things to weave the stories of generations together. Don’t obliterate your current life with all the old stuff.
Be open-minded. Furniture items eventually become a part of the wall and you may not realize that your crowding can be alleviated by simply moving out one item.
Before embarking on a huge reconstruction project bring in the experts! You may be able to solve your problems by rearranging and repurposing.
Lastly, don’t design your home around what you think other people will like. Create an environment for you and your loved ones! When you are comfortable in your home the feeling is contagious and others will want to share it with you!
Having a beautiful home isn’t an end in itself—its purpose is to provide joy and peace in the place you live.
“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” Maya Angelou
Once upon a time back in the 1980’s, there was a bright handsome young man who held a degree in chemical engineering. His career at a Paper Mill required involvement in various professional organizations that supported his job and company. For quite a few years he held offices in one particular group, and eventually moved up to the office of Chairman over a regional chapter in the national organization.
In those days he was rarely home. His beautiful* wife stayed home with the four children while he spent too many hours at work. When he travelled, his wife was tasked with packing his suitcase. It was especially important to make the best clothing choices for the conference in which he would give a speech to a very large group of professionals.
As he was dressing and prepping for the meeting he noticed he had no shoes. His wife, who happened to have joined him at this particular meeting, had forgotten them! Panic ensued. Without the benefit of cell phones, an urgent search was made for size elevens. Alas! A son of one of the members relinquished his dress shoes and saved the day! This dear husband (of mine) squeezed his feet into a nice pair of dress shoes that were almost large enough. I vowed to never travel again without a packing list! True story.
How to create a packing list
Simply write down everything you might need for a trip. Take your time and list every possible item that could be needed for all seasons and occasions. Then while you’re packing, just skip over the things that aren’t pertinent for a particular excursion. Leave nothing to memory and you’ll forego that nagging feeling– “Oh no, I forgot the …….”. It has eased my mind so much to use this list. I’ve also created lists for specific trips or experiences such as hiking. I typed my lists on Word documents and made several copies— keeping one in my suitcase and another with cosmetics.
cosmetics: list every single item
Etc. – You get the idea!
You may have a much better memory than I do. But if you’re like me, there is huge relief in depending on a list rather than on my brain. Actually, that’s the beauty of lists. Having a permanent list rather than re-writing each time we pack saves a lot of time. When you’re hurriedly packing it’s hard to remember everything. Anything we can put to paper or the notes section of our phones will free our brains to focus on other important things.
Do you make such a list for packing? If so, I’d love to hear if it has been as helpful for you. What crucial things have you forgotten to pack?