Entries in goals (5)
Now that you've got a bit of this year behind you, I know a couple things are likely true. First: you can already write 12 at the end of each date with no more than a momentary consideration. Second: if you even bothered thinking about personal resolutions, you've already forgotten most of them. Happy new year.
How would you like to try something a little different this year? Instead of just thinking about who you'll be a year from now, send a message to that one-year-older you. You can write anything you want and have it sent to you at any future time you want, but here's what I'm going to challenge you to do...
- Go to futureme.org and enter your email address (make sure you use and email address you're planning to keep during the time period) and subject into the form on that page.
- Write a letter to yourself. If you're not sure what to say, I'd encourage you to copy the questions below, paste them into your letter, and then answer them as honestly as you can.
- Now pick the date to receive this letter to yourself. It can be a year from now or many years from now. As long as your email account is still active, the letter will be sent to you. Making the letter private means that nobody else ever sees any part of it. Making it public simply means that others can read the message, but it appears as an anonymous message without any information that identifies who you are.
- Send your message and respond to the confirmation email sent to you (to keep people from misusing the service).
---------- copy/past below into futureme.org ----------
Right now, what provides the greatest contentment in my life?
What provides the greatest discontent?
I hope the future me is more...
I hope the future me is less...
What relationship would I most like to see change?
What is one significant thing I could do to improve that relationship, even if nothing else changed?
Will I do it?
One thing I want to tell the future me before I go:
---------- copy/past above into futureme.org ----------
That's all. A year from now, you'll get a letter from the one-year-younger you. In-between now and then, I hope you'll experience some good changes.
When we are in a place of marital distress, there are several natural responses that may be working against us. One of those responses is to spend every waking (and every dreaming) moment trying to figure out how to improve our marriage. It is understandable. We are worried about our future, or very unhappy, or sick of our situation, and/or pretty darn angry.
What this response looks like is arguing with your spouse in your head, obsessing about how little your spouse has changed, thinking about how unhappy you are, critiquing your spouses every move, strategizing about how you can compel them to change, and many more possibilities.
My next blog will be for the “Avoider” of conflict, but this blog is for the “Pursuer”. The Pursuer is the one who normally tries to fix the relationship, the one who can talk about the marriage for hours on end, the wife who can list her husband’s faults in alphabetical order, for the husband who calls his wife 20 times a day. I think you know who you are.
Sometimes, our most natural and instinctual reactions are the ones most capable of hurting our spouse. They are also the ones we need to pay attention to the most. If you are the “Pursuer” in your relationship, but you don’t feel like your chasing is helping your relationship, I suggest the following beginning step: Think less about your spouse. Stop trying to change them. Spend more time and energy thinking about what you can do to be a better spouse. Find some ways to have more fun in your life. Go out with some friends. Take an art class. Join a Bible Study. Think about going after the goals and dreams that you are putting off until you feel better in your marriage. Give your spouse a little space. Back off a little bit, and who knows, maybe that space you create will be exactly what is needed.
We are into week two of 2011, are your resolutions set? Last week, Melissa talked about setting realistic and achievable goals for 2011. So now what? You've set your goals, you believe they are attainable, but many of us have no idea what to do next. How many years have you started off with the best of intentions only to fizzle out around week two or three? Here are four simple ways to put your resolutions into action:
1. Put them in front of you: You need to spend time thinking about, evaluating, and encouraging yourself DAILY towards your goals. With the hustle and bustle of life it is easy to go three or four days without even thinking about them. The easiest way to do this is to put them in your line of sight. Write out your goals, make it BIG, tape them to your bathroom mirror, your closet, your car dash, anywhere where you are going to see them daily. Then, every Sunday switch the location so you don't get used to seeing them and stop actually noticing them.
2. Create action steps: When you first set your goal, create a list of action steps you'll need to do to accomplish this goal. For example, if you want to get in shape, your action steps might include: setting a certain number of days to go to the gym, adjusting your diet, finding a workout buddy, etc. Break your goal up into doable chunks. Re-evaluate these action steps every Sunday. Look at the progress you've made or not made and make adjustments as needed. Notice your strengths and the areas you need to work on and set new action steps for the week ahead.
3. Celebrate the little victories: If you wait until you reach your goal to celebrate, you'll be missing out on the journey. It takes a lot of work to change how you do life on a day to day basis, and you're DOING IT! That's a big deal. Think about how you like to celebrate and make a list of those things including, but not limited to, a pedicure, massage, a special lunch with friends, a night out, new book, whatever, as long as it is rewarding you for the changes you are making. Then celebrate the little victories along the way.
4. Ask for help: Sometimes we like to think we can do it all ourselves, and sometimes we can, but more often than not we need help along the way. Find someone who has achieved what you have and ask them to sit down with you and tell you what has worked for them. Pray and ask God for the wisdom, strength, and courage to make the changes you need to make. Friends are fantastic as well. Ask someone to encourage you along the way. If needed, even counseling can help. Remember, it is not a sign of weakness to ask for help, rather maturity.
You CAN achieve your goals for 2011!
It seems as though it is that time of year again that the resolutions go into action. Losing those few pounds, determined to start an exercise program, spending less money... I think it is important to remember that resolutions are not bad things in and of themselves, however, I caution you about setting yourself up for failure. In other words, set reasonable goals that are achievable and attainable. Don't set the bar so high that you fail before you start. Remember that goals are just that, goals. They can be unfulfilled dreams or they can be things that you have wanted to start doing for a long time. It cannot be reiterated enough that goals need to be realistic and overall, have fun with them. Don't forget to ask for help along the way! I hope 2011 can be a good year for everyone.
What do you think would happen if someone led you to the middle of a wide open field, blindfolded you, and then told you to walk as far as you can in a straight line? I can assure you of one thing: You wouldn't be able to do it. Researchers have actually studied this and concluded, for reasons they can't completely explain (experiments ruled out the most logical assumptions), that blindfolded humans tend to walk in circles.
Of course, this all changes as soon as we can see any point of focus like a tree, a mountain, or the North Star. When we see something fixed, we can walk straight. But, when our eyes are covered or when we are only looking down, we begin moving in a more circular pattern even though we believe we are moving in a straight direction.
People walk through life in circles, too. They think they should be making progress, but are frustrated to discover they are getting nowhere or ending up in a place they don't want to be. This happens because they don't have a point of focus and they don't have a clear perspective of where they are headed or who they are becoming. Most of the time they are simply too fixated on their feet and so concerned about taking the next step that they fail to see a point of focus around them.
A year from now, wouldn't you like to be able to look back and see that you've been walking straight? Would you like to avoid another year of walking in circles? Try doing these things:
- Set your focus. Take some time to consider this question: Who do I want to become? Think more about character, and less about circumstances. What are the qualities that you want to be true about you? Write these down. Taken as a whole, this description is your focal point for your life's walk.
- Choose your steps. Look over your list of "becoming" qualities and make a list of 3 to 6 specific, measurable things, you can do during the next year that will help you toward your goal. If you're serious about change, these should be a bit challenging but achievable. Decide that you will work on these things. Tell someone else about them.
- Make a signpost. On an index card (or something similar) write down the things you've determined to do. Put this in a place where you'll see it often. Let it be a reminder to keep your eyes focused in the right direction.
- Send a letter to your future. Go to futureme.org and write an email to the person you hope to be a year from now. Again, focus less on your circumstances and more on your character (the kind of person you want to keep becoming), especially as it affects the relationships around you. This email service will send you this private message on the future date you specify. It will be a good reminder to either keep moving forward, or to get back on track again.
So, if you're frustrated with the circles you've been walking in, look up and fix your eyes on something good. The old adage holds true: If you aim at nothing, you're bound to hit it every time.