Posts Tagged ‘Goals’

Progress ReportThe year is fast coming to a close and it’s time again for a monthly status update on how I’m coming with my goals. I first published them here on January 1 – eleven goals divided into the categories of body, mind and spirit. I share updates here monthly as a public way to hold myself accountable. I color-code the goals with green indicating that I am on or ahead of schedule, orange if I am slightly behind schedule, or red if I am dangerously behind schedule.

By now I’m fairly confident how the goals are going to play out by the end of the year – not perfect, but mostly accomplished and I’m just fine with that, especially since they were fairly ambitious. I had hoped that taking another stay-at-home week of vacation in October would allow more catching up on the reading goals, but I ended up working half of my vacation, so not much was done that week toward the goals.

That said, here is where I stand with about seven weeks of 2013 remaining.

Goals related to body:

1. Keep my weight at or below 150 pounds. With my new weight goal as of a month ago being 145 instead of 150, I’m staying below the original goal with no problem. It’s been challenging getting to and staying below 145, but I’ve gotten there a few days in the past couple of weeks. Tracking calories consumed and expended via the Fitbit website is very helpful with this goal. The holidays are around the corner, though, so continued attention to daily efforts here are necessary.

2. Walk/jog/run a total of 10,000 steps per day three days per week – COMPLETE. In terms of total number of days for the year, this was completed in early August. Since wearing my Fitbit Flex in September, I haven’t had any days below 10,000 steps. Wearing it seems to encourage me to reach 10,000 as a minimum more easily than previous motivators.

3. Average at least six hours of sleep per night. With thanks again to my Fitbit, I now know I’m averaging a little over 6 hours per day. It isn’t enough, but it meets the goal I set. I’ll increase this goal for 2014.

Goals related to mind:

1. Read a book every other week. With only 12 books read in 2013, one of which was in October, this is one of the goals I won’t come close to reaching. I’m working on book #13 now. This goal was just too ambitious given other demands. I’ve learned from it and will set a more reasonable reading goal next year.

2. Blog every other day (at least). I took a break a couple of weeks in October from attempting a blog post every other day, resulting in only 10 posts for the month. Therefore, I’m nine posts behind where I should be for the year. I’ll make that up by December.

3. Continue to follow My 3 Words: Ground, Stretch, Reflect. All is well here. If you don’t know what this refers to, read this post.

4. Double the blog’s readership from 10,000 views in 2012 to 20,000 – COMPLETE. This goal was passed in early October. Everything after that is gravy thanks to you, dear readers! We’re approaching 22,000 views year-to-date.

5. Continue to write hand-written letters to my sons. I’m on target here with the next letters to be delivered around Christmas.

Goals related to spirit:

1. Finish reading the ESV Study Bible and read half of The Apologetics Study Bible. Having completed the ESV in September, I’m in Exodus in The Apologetics Study Bible. I won’t complete half of it by year end, but I’m fine with that.

2. Review 100 Bible memory verses weekly. I’m on track with this.

3. Come to some resolution regarding an unsettled situation where I worship – COMPLETE.

I’m looking forward to setting my goals for 2014. My lessons learned for this year combined with new thoughts about possibilities for next year have me excited about some things that I’ll share around January 1.

Ten months into 2013, that’s where I stand on my goals – not perfect, but still satisfying. What about you? How are you doing on your goals for the year?

SchedulePerhaps the biggest lesson I am learning this year is one that I’ve known for a long time, yet must continually re-learn. While it has been good and helpful for me to spell out my many goals for the year related to body, mind and spirit, and to post monthly progress updates here, I have increasingly felt as the year has progressed that I simply have too many of them. I did not allow myself time to relax or to do many unplanned things for fun either by myself or with others. I’ve been busy and I’ve accomplished most of what I set out to do. I suspect all but my two reading goals will be met by the end of the year.

But being busy doesn’t prove that any of that time is meaningfully spent. Filling all of one’s waking hours with activity is no guarantee of significance, either in the short term or long term. So, in a nutshell, here is the lesson I have had to learn again for the umpteenth time:

Do not equate busyness with significance.

This applies in any area of life…

In work, are you doing a lot of things that keep you busy and seem to keep the boss happy? If so, that’s good in a way, unless you have a sense that your time could be better spent doing something with greater significance and long-term impact. Different people can find satisfaction in about any kind of work, so what others consider significant may vary from what you consider it to be. Do what you think is significant.

In education, we can spend so much time studying, pursuing degrees, and learning more for that next certification or license. A real danger is that we eventually look back and wonder where the time went and if it was all worth it, especially when so many graduates don’t even end up actually working in fields that they spent years and tens of thousands of dollars preparing to do. Is such an education a smart path, or could a more significant path be chosen?

In home and family life, busyness can easily be the enemy of relationships. With everyone in the household having their own busy schedule, little time is left for each other. That can’t be what is best for the relationships and for modeling healthy families to the next generation.

In volunteer involvement with other organizations, it is possible to get so busy that we do harm to ourselves in our perceived effort to serve others. I see it all the time in the church when calendars are filled with activities and people feel like they must participate in as many as possible to be a good church member or faithful Christian. Trust me when I say that being super busy inside the walls of the church may be the worst thing for Christians, keeping us from being salt and light outside the church walls in a needy, dark world. Certainly many avenues of volunteer service are significant in improving the lives of others, but it can also be an unhealthy drain on the one giving all the time as well as a potential distraction keeping you from doing something more significant.

Whether the busyness that fills our lives comes from work, school, extracurricular activities, or even volunteerism, we must evaluate the significance of how we spend our time and not just assume we are making a positive, significant difference in our world just because we’re busy. A genuine analysis on that basis might lead some of us to radically change our involvement in activities and organizations. It might cause us to alter our schedule so that we do what is most important instead of what we or others deem to be the most urgent. It might help us actually move from mere busyness to true significance.

And somewhere in that schedule change there must be some down time for rest, relaxation and personal renewal. Without it, you will wear down and burn out unnecessarily. How will you continue to be significant at all if you allow that to happen?

Jeff mini-marathon A 4-26-2008

Me running the KY Derby Festival half-marathon, 2008

Last week I saw a clip on America’s Funniest Videos that showed a little girl walking along looking behind her at something. The Dad was saying “Watch where you’re going” but, of course, the girl didn’t look ahead and consequently toppled to the ground when she fell over a toy. She got back up and proceeded to do the very same thing again – walking forward while looking backward as the Dad again said “Watch where you’re going!” Sure enough, she fell down when she tripped over the next toy.

Kids are prone to doing that. We’ve all observed it. The problem is that we as adults are also a little too prone to looking behind us in life so much that we miss the target of where we should be heading.

Here are some ways we trip ourselves up by failing to run the race before us:

  • We spend too much time worrying about things in the past that cannot be changed.
  • We fail to set goals for the future.
  • We allow others to determine what races consume our time.
  • We look behind us too often to see if others are gaining on us, more concerned about beating them than just doing our best.
  • We run off course because we tend to devote our energy to whatever direction we’re facing, whether or not it’s the right direction.
  • We lose focus on what is most important by allowing constant detours and distractions to interrupt forward progress.
  • We try to maintain a status quo or even live in the past, thereby assuring ourselves of never really finishing any race, preferring maintenance to progress.

It’s right and good to know where we have been, to know our past and to learn from it. But it is woefully inadequate as a human being with a wealth of potential to fail to enter, compete, and complete ambitious life races that can bring meaning to our lives and to the lives of others.

I encourage you to make sure that there is a clear race before you, to keep your focus on that path, and to run the race before you – not the one behind you.

Progress ReportWith the year more than 3/4 behind us, it’s time again for a monthly status update on how I’m coming with my goals for the year. I first published them here on January 1 – eleven goals divided into the categories of body, mind and spirit. I share updates here monthly as a public way to hold myself accountable. I color-code the goals with green indicating that I am on or ahead of schedule, orange if I am slightly behind schedule, or red if I am dangerously behind schedule.

September saw some solid progress on a few goals. Thanks to taking another stay-at-home week of vacation and using it for things other than work, I made a little progress. I’ll be taking another week off in late October to do more of the same. I’m resigned to the likelihood that I won’t accomplish all goals, but I’ll complete most and I’m OK with that. To paraphrase someone who wrote me recently, “Jeff, most people don’t even set goals each year like you did, so it’s OK not to meet every one of them.” I’m thankful for that reminder.

That said, here is where I stand with less than three months of 2013 remaining.

Goals related to body:

1. Keep my weight at or below 150 pounds. All is well on this goal. In fact, I recently decided to back that down another five pounds to max out at 145 pounds. That’s about what I weighed when I was my best at running several years ago, so I want to get back to that number as my maximum weight.

2. Walk/jog/run a total of 10,000 steps per day three days per week – COMPLETE. In terms of total number of days for the year, this was completed in early August. I’m continuing to reach at least 10,000 per day nearly every day, anyway, to maintain a healthy level of activity. I’m enjoying using my new Fitbit Flex which I reviewed here, so reaching the goal is even more fun now than before.

3. Average at least six hours of sleep per night. With the purchase of my Fitbit Flex, I can now track sleep activity and I’m pleased to say that my weekly reports show that I average slightly more than the six hour per night goal. Yay! I’ve never known that for certain. I’m still inclined to increase that goal to seven hours per night for next year.

Goals related to mind:

1. Read a book every other week. I have only completed eleven books in 2013, two of which were in September. I’m resigned to the fact that I won’t make the 26 goal for the year – not even close. That’s OK. I’ve still read more books than in any recent year in memory. I’ll be more reasonable in this goal for next year after this year’s experience.

2. Blog every other day (at least). I’m only 3 posts behind the 140 I should have completed this year to date, so that will be easy to catch up on.

3. Continue to follow My 3 Words: Ground, Stretch, Reflect. All is well here. If you don’t know what this refers to, read this post.

4. Double the blog’s readership from 10,000 views in 2012 to 20,000 – COMPLETE. I’m happy to report that this goal was passed in early October. That means that even though I’m writing half the number of blog posts I wrote last year (when I blogged every day), the average views per post are more than four times last year’s average. Thank you, dear readers, for making that happen!

5. Continue to write hand-written letters to my sons. I delivered to each of my sons in September another letter, so I’m on target with this goal and will write another to them at Christmas.

Goals related to spirit:

1. Finish reading the ESV Study Bible and read half of The Apologetics Study Bible. I used some of my September vacation week to complete the ESV and wrote a review of it here. I have started in The Apologetics Study Bible and, instead of trying to complete half by the end of the year, I’ll give myself through 2014 to complete all of it. Therefore, I’m changing the color of this goal from red to orange. I doubt I’ll complete one-third of it by the end of the year, but I’m OK with that.

2. Review 100 Bible memory verses weekly. I’m on track with this.

3. Come to some resolution regarding an unsettled situation where I worship – COMPLETE.

As the end of 2013 fast approaches, I’m overall satisfied with how I’ve progressed toward completion of the goals for body, mind and spirit. Ideally, I would be on target to reach all of them. It appears that the only ones I won’t reach relate to reading, so I think I simply expected too much of myself in that regard given my other time commitments. That’s a good lesson to learn prior to setting goals for next year which will be more reasonable.

One other major lesson learned this year is that it isn’t healthy to set too many goals. I find myself on some evenings or weekends just wanting and craving some down time without any to-do lists hovering overhead. I will definitely keep that in mind when setting goals next year, trying to build in guilt-free time to relax and have fun. I didn’t do that this year. Body, mind and spirit all need down time.

So that’s the report after nine months of 2013. What about you? How are you doing on your goals for the year?

Progress ReportThe year is fast appearing in the rear view mirror. It’s time again for a monthly status update on how I’m coming with my goals for the year. I first published them here on January 1 – eleven goals divided into the categories of body, mind and spirit. I share updates here monthly as a public way of holding myself accountable. I color-code the goals with green indicating that I am on or ahead of schedule, orange if I am slightly behind schedule, or red if I am dangerously behind schedule.

I am very pleased to let you know that August was an outstanding month in getting back on track with a few of the goals that were in jeopardy. Thanks to taking a week of vacation and actually using it for things other than work, I caught up quite a bit – not entirely, but meaningfully. I’ll be taking another week off in mid-September to do more of the same, so things are looking up.

That said, here is where I stand after 2/3 of 2013 is behind us.

Goals related to body:

1. Keep my weight at or below 150 pounds. All is well on this goal. I stay 2-3 pounds below my max now to allow a little cushion for splurges here and there.

2. Walk/jog/run a total of 10,000 steps per day three days per week – COMPLETE. In terms of total number of days for the year, this was completed in early August. I’m averaging over 18,000 steps per day for all of the days so far in my company’s 100 Day Dash campaign that ends September 10. I’ll keep at the 18,000/day average through the campaign and then return to the goal of 10,000 steps 3 days/week thereafter just because it’s good for my health.

3. Average at least six hours of sleep per night. I don’t measure this, but more nights than not I believe I get this amount of sleep. I know I’m taking more naps than previous years! That’s fun. After the 100 Day Dash, I intend to purchase a device that will help me track sleep. On a related note, I’m thinking about increasing this goal to 7 hours/day in 2014. That would be radical for me, but I think I hear my body calling me to that.

Goals related to mind:

1. Read a book every other week. I have only completed nine books this year. I should have 17 complete by now to be on pace. (Of course, one I’ll finish in September has over 2,700 pages, so I suppose it should count as more than one, but I’m counting it as only one.) I read quite a bit during my vacation and have completed two books since last month’s report as well as a significant portion of the ESV Study Bible that is related to another goal below. I’ll plan on more of the same during my September vacation week. I may not reach the 26 book goal for the year, but I’ll keep plugging away.

2. Blog every other day (at least). I’m glad to report that as of this post I have caught up on this goal, posting 124 times so far this year. Ideas have been flowing with a little more frequency lately (could it be the mind-clearing vacation?) and I have a short list of topics on hand already to write about in coming days.

3. Continue to follow My 3 Words: Ground, Stretch, Reflect. All is well here. If you don’t know what this refers to, read this post.

4. Double the blog’s readership from 10,000 views in 2012 to 20,000. As of this post, I am only a little more than 2,000 views away from this goal, so I should reach this by early October if not late September.

5. Continue to write hand-written letters to my sons. I have written drafts of the next letters to send to my sons. I’m now in the period of several days when I revise them nightly for a while before committing to the final contents. They’ll get hand-written and distributed by sometime next week.

Goals related to spirit:

1. Finish reading the ESV Study Bible and read half of The Apologetics Study Bible. I made up a lot of ground on this goal during vacation last month. I have finished the biblical text of the ESV and the accompanying notes on that text. What I still lack are the additional articles unrelated to specific passages, which is a few hundred pages. I hope to finish that during my September vacation week and then start my journey through The Apologetics Study Bible.

2. Review 100 Bible memory verses weekly. I’m on track with this.

3. Come to some resolution regarding an unsettled situation where I worship – COMPLETE.

It feels good to have a great month in August where I made up some ground. With lots of vacation time built up at work, I’ll continue to take a week off per month for a while to allow time to reach more of these goals than would otherwise be possible. I’m also seriously thinking about my 2014 goals and have started a list of possibilities. There will be some definite changes, although I like the well-roundedness of categorizing them by body, mind and spirit. I’m inclined not to set goals for things have have pretty much become lifestlye habits by now, so I may still do some of the things listed above but just not track them and report on them. I’ll be more realistic in some areas where I bit off more than I could reasonably chew this year. I have a couple of new, ambitious goals in mind for 2014 that I will decide on by year’s end and announce at the appropriate time.

So that’s the report after eight months of 2013 on my goals for body, mind and spirit. What about you? How are you doing on your goals for the year?