|Writing books is one of my goals|
In those 15 years, I changed career from assistant features editor at The Press to theater reviewer, retired from that post in 2009 and published three books. I returned to my maiden name, lost my father, moved across town, changed churches, saw my son marry and move out on his own and learned to make pottery. The preparation for all those changes is reflected in my annual goals.
That first year, the year I would turn 50 in October, I made a broad assessment of who I was and what I wanted out of life. And I wrote it down. I decided the purpose of life is to know God better and everything else is just a step toward that goal. No sense making a small goal if you want a long life!
I divided my quest into two main realms: self improvement and world interaction. Self improvement includes Spirit and Physical. The world includes Finances, Career, Experience, People and House. Last year I added Earth. Under each category I listed smaller goals and areas I wanted to improve. Some were easily attainable and measurable such as "call Mom every week" while others were elusive, such as "lose 30 pounds."
Every January I look at the goals I set for the previous year and list those I have completed, as well as listing accomplishments for the past year that weren't part of my "plan." Then I list a set of goals for the coming year. If a goal for the past year wasn't accomplished, I decide whether it is still something I want and if it is, it gets added to the new list. That 30 pounds, for instance, was carried over year after year with little progress. Each year I would add suggestions about how the goal might be achieved with daily walks, or a new diet, or whatever. Finally in 2011, through doubling my exercise time and reducing meal portions, I lost 15 pounds! Losing the other 15 was on the list for 2012 and I have to admit it didn't happen. But I kept off the original 15, and the second 15 are back on the list for 2013.
Goals, I discovered, are not a "to do" list but a "doing" list. Using a DailyWalk Bible, with readings divided into daily chunks, I've read through the Bible, cover to cover, three times in the past 15 years. And still I read verses that I don't remember reading before.
So how am I doing on knowing God? I'm only more in awe. But I know myself better. That first year I discovered I had a problem with anger that I had never addressed and I'm still working on it. I know so many of God's people better because my career shift got me out into the community more, and I'm consciously working on maintaining better relationships with family and friends. My career has blossomed in exciting new ways. Retirement has expanded my world in directions I never expected back in 1998, including spending a quarter of the year in the Florida Keys with a wonderful man who has taught me so much about love and myself.
And when I look back in my folder of annual goals and accomplishments, it's all there.