Goals for 2014: The Messy Middle

Goals Check-up Time!

goals: themessymiddle

My most recent long run was a run of 7 miles. I had run that distance before, but it had been about a year. This time, I’ve been working myself up to running longer distances over the past few months, so I had run 6 miles on my previous long run. It was time to up my milage and continue to stretch my wings – I mean, legs – by running 7 miles again!

Everything went fine for the first couple of miles. The weather was perfect – about 50 degrees with a slight breeze. After awhile, however, my legs began to feel like they were made of heavy iron. I know it didn’t help that I was running at a park, doing 0.6 mile circles. How boring is that? All that energy going out, and I was really going nowhere. The only thing worse is a treadmill! šŸ˜‰

Somehow, I’m still not sure how, I survived (couln’t guess, right?;) I can tell you that it’s a lot better to be on the other side of that run – the DONE part – than to be in the middle! Oh, how good it is to be done! But I learned a very important lesson here.

Many of us have written down goals for 2014. It felt so good to get down on paper the things that we want to accomplish, by God’s grace, over the next year. But let’s face it – it’s mid-March, and a lot of us have lost contact with our goals already.

Here are some thoughts I have about How to survive the messy middle:

1. Keep moving. In a race, especially a half-marathon or marathon, the goal is merely to keep moving toward the finish line. There is only 1 winner in a race, but that doesn’t mean that the rest of us have to give up; we can still put one foot in front of the other and reach our goal just fine.

2. Fuel up! When I get a few miles into a long run, it’s time to break out the fuel, or the long run becomes a short run! When it comes to the Messy Middle of the year, it’s important to fuel our hearts with the Word of God and good, encouraging words. If God is the original source of your goals, then staying in touch with Him will be your source of inspiration.

3. Concentrate on the end. When I was running, I watched the cars driving by and thought, “how nice it must be to sit down – even in a car!” I worked on concentrating on the “joy set before me” – a wonderful yummy smoothie when I got back home! With our 2014 goals, it’s important to remember the end result we’re trying to acheive, and why we want to achieve it.That can go a long way to pushing us forward!

4. Finally, you’re only one step away from heading the right direction. If you find yourself doing NOTHING that you had planned, it’s ok. It does you no good to beat yourself up over lost time. The only thing you really need to do is Turn Around. In other words, just look at your list, find one thing that you need/want to do, and think of your next action item for that thing. Do that one action, and it will help you get moving in the right direction.

How are your goals coming along? Mine are moving along slowly, but surely. But with God’s help and some “running inspiration,” I know I can get through the Messy Middle.

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, and A Mama’s Story Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum href=”http://www.growinginhisglory.com”>Growing in His Glory

How Seasons of Life Affect Your GOALS

Join me for a helpful series called The Organized Me! During the month of January, I’m going to write various posts on goals, mistakes I’ve made in finding “the sweet spot” of organization, and how I schedule my day and my home. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve not arrived in this area – I’m still a work in progress. But I think I’ve learned a few things over the past 30 years of marriage, raising 7 kids in all sorts of situations, and I’ll be sharing them with you! If you missed our last post, you can find it here!

HowSeasonsOfLifeAffectYourGoals

When I was young, I had my life all planned out. After I got married, I would have children until I was 30, so that by the time I was 40, my youngest would be 10 years old and I would be able to do some other things with myself, rather than wiping runny noses and chasing small children.

But God had other plans.

The Lord worked in my life and I willingly surrendered myself to His guidance. When I was 30, I gave birth to Sharon, and at age 34, Lydia came into my life. Then, when I was 36, Johanna was born, followed by Jason when I was a whopping 39 years old! All the doctors had to do is ask “how many pregnancies?” and “how old are you?” and I was unceremoniously dumped into the High Risk category!

So I spent all of my 40’s (in addition to my 20’s and 30’s!!) changing diapers, potty-training, teaching preschool (along with high school!) and kindergarten. I did at least 3 to 4 loads of laundry a day during that 10 year period, which adds up to about 10,950-14,600 loads of laundry! (I read this to My Beloved, and he told me that it’s not completely accurate, since he did at least 3 loads of laundry during that time! lol!) And that’s just in that 10 year period! Tired? Been there. Done that.

I say this, not to get pity, but to help you realize that there are seasons of life. Perhaps I am a little slow, but it took me awhile to realize that whatever season I am in is soon likely to pass.

As my life has changed, so the organization of my life has changed. Schedules have changed, workloads have changed, locations have changed (a million times!) and even I have changed. And it will continue to change, because I have not “arrived” yet. But over the years, here are a few things I’ve learned about goals and how seasons of life affect them:

1. Focus on relationships, not productivity. I LOVE to get things done. Maybe I’m just addicted to that little adrenaline rush that comes from knowing something was truly accomplished, and it was ME that did it. But I need to recognise that I have a personal tendency to focus on getting things done, rather than building relationships with my family and friends, adn this tends to backfire on me later on. My neatly folded laundry won’t hold my hand when I’m crying, but My Beloved will.

2. It’s OK to put dreams aside for awhile, even a LONG while. As long as they are put in your heart by God, you never need to let them go, just let them sleep for awhile. They will still be there when the children are grown, and hopefully at that point you can have the best of both worlds, your loving family AND your God-given dreams.

3. Do your very best to get things done, but don’t stress if it doesn’t all get done. Someday, it’ll take about 30 minutes to do all the housework for the day, and you’ll be left with an entire day ahead of you with nothing to do. I know that sounds far-fetched, but if The Lord tarries, it really will happen. Do what you can, and love on your littles.

4. Develop good habits, even when it seems like that’s the only thing you do. My husband told me the other day, “I’m amazed at how much you get done, especially in the morning.” I told him, “Well, a long time ago, I developed a morning routine that gets done fairly quickly, and mostly while I’m still out of it. So when I finally wake up, I’ve already gotten a lot done.” That’s how it works, one habit at a time.

5. Limit your use of electronics. If you’re anything like me, you get sucked up into the cyberworld so easily. Right now, I don’t have a smart phone, partly for financial reasons, and partly because I know if I had one, I’d be so tempted to be on it all the time. I’m bad enough with my IPad! When I sit down to do email, post on FB, check Twitter, or read blogs, I look at the time and give myself about 15 minutes to do the current thing. Then I get up and switch laundry, do a little cleanup, or do something to get me moving around and spending time with my family.

Don’t be frustrated if you don’t seem to be as organized, or get as much done as the next person. Being a More Organized Me is a process, not a destination. And it’s a process that changes with the season.

What have you learned through the seasons of life?Ā 

Special Announcements:

  • Check out my Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments! It’s a great group of folks – come join us!

Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil isĀ now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and it’s available here!! Check out the sidebar on the right!

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, and A Mama’s Story Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum

 

What I Learned About Goal-Setting from a Stinky Sock…

Join me for a helpful series called The Organized Me! During the month of January, I’m going to write various posts on goals, mistakes I’ve made in finding “the sweet spot” of organization, and how I schedule my day and my home. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve not arrived in this area – I’m still a work in progress. But I think I’ve learned a few things over the past 30 years of marriage, raising 7 kids in all sorts of situations, and I’ll be sharing them with you! If you missed our last post, you can find it here!

WhatILearnedAboutSettingGoalsFromADirtySock--blogbutton

I was backstage at the high school getting ready to go out with the rest of the choir when a little twerp started pestering me. He was probably one of the younger brothers of another kid, and he insisted on irritating anyone he could, finally throwing a used sock at people. Eventually, he turned his stinky sock skills on me, tossing his vile item on my shoulder, which I promptly threw as far as I could. But suddenly it became time to go out on stage, and I didn’t realize it, but he had gotten the last toss.

His obnoxious sock was on my shoulder as I walked proudly out to do my number. Added to my impressive outfit, my grand victorian gown, was an obviously modern – and dirty – sock!

My error? Aside from not smacking the kid while I could, I didn’t look over myself quickly before heading out on stage!

As I think back to that time and laugh at my embarrassment, I have to remember how important it is to check up on things regularly, or something awful may happen! (OrĀ embarrassing!)

Here are a few things I’ve learned from my 2013 goals, mostly from my own failures:

1. I did a good job setting my goals, and making them SMART – Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. I learned all that from Michael Hyatt, a productivity writer.

2. IĀ achievedĀ most of my goals, which is a good thing.

3. My big downfall, however, was that once I set my goals, I never looked at them again! Before I made my 2013 goals, I prayed about them, then wrote them out, made them specific, measurable, and realistic, but promptly allowed them to get lost in the shuffle of daily to-dos. Uh-oh! A sure recipe for failure!

This year, I’m going a step further. I’m praying about my goals, writing them out, making them SMART… AND I’ll be writing out my goals on my calendar. I must confess, that checking my calendar is not a strong point, either, so I will need to work on that as well.

Lord willing, I will try to check my calendar regularly, to see how I’m progressing, and setting aside a little time every month to look at my progress.

I would hate to end up 2014 with a sticky sock on my shoulder! Lord Willing, and with His help, I want to end 2014 stronger spiritually, stronger physically, and with a better marriage and a happier, more cohesive family. Will you join me in making 2014 a great year?

Question: What have you learned from your failures in 2013?

Special Announcements:

  • I have many people who follow along on my Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments! It’s a great group of folks – come join us!
  • Lydia my blog button designer, is available for designing blog buttons for anyone! Please contact me at lisaraub (at) rocket mail (dot) com! She will do a GREAT JOB at a tremendous price.

Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil is OUT! It’s now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and NOW it’s available here!! Check out the sidebar on the right! Lydia did a great job in putting that on, didn’t she??

Linking up with: Monday: Moms the Word, and A Mama’s Story Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum