Back To The Grind?

Labor Day has come and gone and that means that Summer is over and it’s time to go back to school.  How do you feel about that?  Do you like the Fall?  Do you like routine?  Do you like the change?

For many in Northern Michigan we feel a little cheated because we had a “cold” Summer; so now that it’s back to school we’re not ready for it because we want more summer time fun.

Nevertheless, the reality is that it’s back to the grind and I for one kind of like it.  Don’t get me wrong, I love summer time – shorts, mowing the grass, beach, biking, hiking, relaxing and having fun with family – but I’m ready to get back at a more normal routine.  For me I do much better in life when I have a routine.  For instance, a “typical” week day for me would be something like this:

  • Wake up and at the office early (like 6 or 7am)
  • Work through my daily “to do list”
  • Head out to the gym or local bike trail around noon for a hard workout
  • Grab a cup of coffee and read/reflect/meditate
  • Pick up my kids from school
  • Head back to the office for an hour or so
  • Home for dinner and family time
  • Get to bed around 10

In the fall and winter that would be a typical schedule for me.  I like it, in fact, I thrive in that schedule.   I become very productive within my areas of responsibility, I stay healthy, and I stay connected.  It has taken me many years to realize that I need a schedule like this to help me stay focused in life.  And it all started with goals and discipline.

The Value of Goals

Goals Goals are great because they turn our dreams into action steps.  Goals with accountability can create an environment that allows people to become great achievers in life.  I have been putting goals into my life for several years now.  Each December I create a “Yearly Goal List” that include life goals for several aspects of my life.  I also sit down each Sunday and create a weekly goal list; it’s called my “To Do List”; I love it!  I am so productive when I create a rather extensive “To Do List” and attack it each Monday and Tuesday.  My To Do List and Yearly Goal sheet helps me to plan ahead, become self-motivated, strategize my time & energy and prioritize what I really value.

Creating Your Goals

chartSettingGoalAs I stated early, I set goals for the key areas of my life each December.  I usually go to a local coffee shop and camp out there for several hours as I pray and plan the year ahead.  I create goals for the following areas of my life:

  • Spiritual Goals
  • Relational Goals (Goals that would push me to develop deeper relationships with those around me)
  • Career Goals
  • Physical Health Goals
  • Mental Health Goals
  • Financial Goals
  • Just For Fun Goals

After I write all my goals for the year down, I then talk them out to a few of the close people in my life to hear what they think of them.  If the most important people in my life think the goals are terrible then I need to re-asses my goals.  If my goals pass their test, then I post them on my wall in my office and I create a few calender reminders for myself to go over them throughout the year.  If I find my goals are way off by July I can re-calibrate my goals or push harder toward them.

SMART Goals

setting-goals-2012A tool I have used through the years is the SMART Goal work sheet.  This helps me to create goals that really work and help me to become the best that God would want for me.

A SMART goal would look like this:  I want to lose 20 pounds in 5 weeks, and keep it off for the next year.

  • Specific – 20 lbs
  • Measurable – I will use a scale on a weekly basis to see the progress
  • Attainable – 20 lbs in 5 weeks is doable
  • Relevant – This is a goal for me and it would improve my life/health
  • Time-Bound – I will know at the end of 5 weeks if I passed or failed.

Goals are a great tool to help us move through life.  Some people don’t enjoy the daily grind – I do.  I like the routine and I have found that I actually function best when there is order in my life.  Summer is over, it’s time to get back at it!  I hope today’s blog post was encouraging to you.  Do you enjoy the daily grind?  Do you enjoy routine?  Why is it?  Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear about your goals and the things you do to achieve more in life.

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