In my last article, I discussed SMARTer goals; this week our topic is aligning goals for success.
Aligning goals is a balancing act
Aligning goals also requires paying attention. I use a triangle-shaped Productivity Process tool to guide alignment of every goal, being true to my life mission and purpose. At the base of the triangle, my personal purpose is to experience “Divine connection” on a daily basis, which I can literally feel through inspiring people to realize their potential, expressed through living on purpose.
One level up on the triangle is lists my values, principles and beliefs. In last week’s article, I wrote that my husband and I share a goal to become debt-free by December 31, 2019. John and I each claim personal responsibility for being positive contributors to our family, our community, and to the legacy we can leave, financially, educationally, and spiritually. Both educators and lifelong learners, each of us believes that every person has the right to learn and achieve their potential. John and I want to make sure we can do our part to help people succeed and make positive, thrilling contributions. Commitment, respect, and integrity are among our shared values.
The third level up on the alignment triangle is our long-term goal. Debt freedom qualifies, because it may take three years to achieve. Since my husband and I both teach, and are passionate about our work and the ways we are privileged to serve, we haven’t yet discovered something to retire TO. And we aren’t in a hurry to retire FROM the work and service that “makes our hearts sing.” However, arriving at a point of total debt freedom eliminates a level of uncertainty, and opens us to options for future dreams to come true.
The next level up on triangle is a short-term goal that aligns with a long-term goal. To be sure, if we are reckless with spending, John and I will not achieve our long-term goal to be debt free. We must be thoughtful about the way we spend money, save money, and invest money. We must be wise, so aligning our mutual goals to be healthy, serve our community, and enjoy socializing with like-minded people. We must balance our time to accomplish our work and continue to learn, while investing the time, creativity, and energy to keep our marriage exciting and fun.
Aligning Goals, Purpose, With Daily Activity
Finally, at the top of the Productivity Process model is “daily activities.” My own discipline is to monitor nine different live domains. My typical day includes time to:
- Exercise my body, in the gym, taking a walk, or practicing yoga. I must also self-restraint, monitoring my discipline about what I eat and drink, in order to maintain high levels of energy.
- Exercise my mind through reading, study, and playing Games with Friends (I choose relaxing and fun, instead of stressed and frustrated while I wait for a meeting to begin). 486 words read more here.
- Nourish my spiritual well-being through daily prayer (aided by the Pray As You Go app on my phone, a list of prayer requests, and with John, over meals). I am intentional about staying in touch with our faith community, family, and friends about their successes and concerns.
- Share time with John. Our romance is nourished through never leaving without a kiss, or saying “I love you” when ending a call. We also set aside time together to watch the evening, pray and eat dinner together. Our relationship is also fed by our ability to flexible. For example, when our after-dinner time as a couple is temporarily sacrificed, for one or both of us to meet a work deadline.
- Stay connected with Family. We are dispersed, with daughter Christa living in New York and son Jim living in Chicago, each juggling careers and young children of their own. Christa is my most regular Words with Friends partner, and we manage to text and talk regularly. As couples, we enjoy fun-filled vacations together at least once a year.
- Invest in Community, beginning with living in a neighborhood that mirrors diversity, by every definition. Whether we’re baking and delivering bread for newcomers, helping mentor a youngster, giving time to teach, or funding a scholarship, this area of our lives is fulfilling. As neighborhood watch captains, we work diligently to keep it that way.
- Mind our Money. This forces us to answer the question, every day: “Do I need this, or just want it?” Together, we’re still working on mastery, but we certainly do keep track of where our money is going and why. Plans for 2017 include kitchen remodeling, which we won’t do until we can pay cash. Sometimes I’ll teasingly ask John, “Do you really want to travel to (fill in the blank), or do we want that money in the kitchen fund?” Since he’s the chef, if we break the bank, he’s helped make the decision to delay remodeling.
- Tend to our Career. For each of us, our career is fun and exciting. John is working on an online music theory course, and developing graduate music theory classes that stretch him, as well as his students. I’m in the final stages of designing a train-the-trainer class for my program, Integrity-Based Communications. I’m privilege to partner with smart, savvy people to launch a “next level” training course for corporate and trainer-coach applications. We work alone and together on projects, every day, and enjoy debriefing with one another, whether live, online or by phone.
- Make time to Play. This domain may be last on the list, but certainly not least! We find ways to laugh and play, every day. Often in the kitchen, definitely cooking and feeding our friends, attending a concert, or going out to a movie…there’s always a way to “feed the kid” in each of us. In fact, if you read back through my list you’ll note that the word “fun” appears rather regularly. Often, we’re nourishing our relationships and our lives by combining activities that including more than one domain.
Tool for Aligning Your Goals
If you’re interested in the Productivity Process Alignment tool, please email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you’re inclined to share your experience of aligning goals for success, I’d love to read your comments.