It’s a new year and a wonderful time for revelations and resolutions! I’m not a fan of resolutions myself. It’s not that I don’t like them, per se, rather that I never seem to be able to keep them. They don’t seem to stick. However, being the process-oriented geek that I am, I do like to set goals and create nerdy charts about how to accomplish them. It’s why you’re reading this, because at some point I sat down and said, hmm, I need to write a regular blog for CCWC so people can be offered assistance as well as a fresh perspective and perhaps a laugh or two.
So, my objective is to write these each quarter. Since schools are broken up into marking periods, I thought it would make sense to do something similar. Each season holds an opportunity to begin. Maybe you or your child need to build a skill, or prepare for testing, or write an essay and they are simply stressed, which makes you stressed, and then everyone is stressed! Instead, why not sit down (glass of wine optional, but recommended for parents) and write down your thoughts. If after 10 minutes all you have are doodles and expletives, that’s okay, at least you didn’t stab anyone with your pen.
Let’s talk about goals and objectives. First, it’s always helpful to write these down. Sure, we all have wonderfully lofty goals in our minds and our daydreams take us to places of majesty and insurmountable success; however, the minute the guy behind you beeps his horn because you’ve been sitting at a green light for a millisecond since it turned, the dream and any hope of its reality is completely gone. Delusions of grandeur are fun, but not very pragmatic. How can we achieve our goals, then, if we can’t fantasize them into existence?
Process geek to the rescue! (That’s me, by the way, in case that wasn’t clear, or you haven’t met me and seen first-hand how weird I am. I can’t even clean out my closet without a process chart, which explains why I hardly ever do it, I suppose.) But process doesn’t have to mean knowing every step toward the goal. Process is simply knowing the first step and being willing to take the others that present themselves afterward. For instance, if you (or your child) wants to work in a difficult field to break into, such as music, what can be done? The competition is high; the rejections are plentiful. If you can navigate that aspect, then all you need is a plan. Not a firm plan, because we know those never work anyway, but a plan to move forward. Just one step perhaps, but no side-stepping or cha-cha’ing allowed, only steps forward. Don’t let yourself get distracted by the oodles of aberrations out there that call to you with their absurdity, though those are quite interesting; just now I’m distracted thinking about if gravity is a such a strong force, why aren’t our heads on the floor? Strange interruption to my blog, but valid point, don’t you think? See, now you’re wondering too.
The point is that the intrusions are ever present. I recommend headphones — yes, the big, clunky ones we had years ago. They not only block out noise from around you, but also cancel out any peripheral vision and it’s hard to think about anything other than the fact that you have this uncomfortable, space hat on your head. Then, picture the “space hat” as a brain altering device that assists in goal setting! You see where I’m going with this: Block out the noise, including the stuff inside your head, and write down what you’d like for yourself (or your child), like a major that allows them the freedom to become who they really are, or a school where safety is more than Larry, the security guard from the mall, sitting on a chair at the college entrance.
What are the most important elements for the future? Generally, you will find it is not the high-paying jobs (though those are a nice perk); usually the real goals are those of well-being and happiness. In the immortal and eloquent words of Abraham Lincoln: “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” Happiness is created, not through daydreams, but by purposeful intentions and actions. That’s what your list will have on it: action items, true intentions, and perhaps a small spot for those daydreams, too.