Keeping a Goals Journal

While working through the Changeology 90-day action plan for my goals I track my weekly progress in a journal.

I buy the hardbound journals in Rite Aid. You might be able to pick them up in Staples too.

Tracking Behavior starts in Step 2 Prep and continues after that. I write in the journal as often as needed and re-read the entries every few days.

There–you can see in black-and-white–or in blue or black ink how you’re coming along.

So far I’ve achieved one 3-month goal. I’m in Step 5 or Persist which lasts the rest of your life.

This requires that you get honest with yourself about what’s going on that is derailing you from achieving a goal.

Measuring a behavior could tend to improve a behavior. When you’re accounting for what you’ve done the tendency is engage in the goal activity.

Keeping track of what you spend money on for example could be the natural segue for spending less.

The goals journal should be a separate one from a regular day-to-day journal.

Using hardbound books motivates me to go back and flip through the pages to see how I’ve improved.

In the coming blog entry I’m going to talk about finding a mentor to help you out in your life and career.

In Step 2 you mobilize your support team. In Step 3 and beyond you rely on these helping relationships.

My stance is that peers should empower each other not be jealous of each other. Jealousy is a form of self-stigma.

Instead of being envious of others I’ve always wanted to “pick their brains” to see what enabled them to succeed.

One mentor was instrumental in my life and I’ll talk about him next.

Creating a Goals Binder

In 2000 when I started my librarian job I bought a black binder with clear sleeves. On the front cover I inserted an index card that I typed my life goals on. On the back cover I inserted the Theodore Roosevelt quote about daring greatly.

I used each tabbed section of the binder to insert different worksheets. One section houses pages that list my goals for each decade of my life. Another section is where I placed the Accomplishments lists. A different section contains sheets of life guidelines I typed up.

Every so often I re-read the binder. When I showed the binder to a woman who was an LCSW she was astonished that I wrote down my goals in vivid detail.

I recommend creating a goals binder. Skimming through it might give you comfort in this time of the pandemic where everything has been halted.

At first you might read the contents every week. I read my own binder every two months.

In tandem with this approach I recommend keeping a goals journal. I’ll talk about this in the coming blog entry.

Combating Self-Doubt

Confidence and self-doubt go hand-in-hand. The point is you can thrive even when the doubt comes on Persisting in the face of self-doubt is possible.

Years ago I did this very thing by creating a list of everything I accomplished in my life by the time I was 50. I was 51 when I typed up this list.

The arrow point is that everything counts whether a big goal or a tiny action either way.

The times when you think something can’t be done are when you can refer to your list of achievements.

In lieu of accomplishments you can write a list of things you like about yourself that you’re proud of.

The goal with either of these lists is to free-write and number each item as it comes to you.

The list doesn’t have to be long.

My list featured 33 items. They were as simple as joining the St. George Library teen writing group to obtaining a driver’s license and as big as traveling to Italy.

Try to keep going until your writing hand can’t go anymore.

Re-read the list when you need a shot in the arm of confidence.

In keeping with this exercise I’ll talk in the next blog entry about novel ideas I have for getting confidence to tackle goals.

Getting Confidence

Years ago I was told not to rah-rah peers with the “If you believe it you can achieve it” cheer.

It might not be possible for most people to have the mental motivation to get into action to achieve a goal.

In light of this reality I want to resurrect something I wrote over 7 years ago.

As the Health Guide for the HealthCentral schizophrenia website from 2007 to September 2015 I wrote hundreds of news articles about recovery that were in the vanguard.

In all the time I advanced these ideas no one else copied what I had to say or has picked up on these things since.

One article I wrote talked about getting confidence as a person living in recovery.

Right here I’ll resurrect this theme.

To get confidence you need to remember that the outcome doesn’t matter. It’s the process of taking action that counts.

In this regard I’ve always remembered what a champion athlete had to say about this:

Venus Williams the star tennis player wrote an article in the New York Times in which she talked about goal-setting.

Her ultimate criteria for success was to ask yourself if you feel good. In my take the outcome is irrelevant as well.

It is the striving to achieve something that counts more.

The prize belongs to those of us with the courage to try, to risk, to fail, and to try again.

Years ago I bought from a local trophy shop two medals that hang from red-white-and-blue ribbons. One spells out GOLD. It was my reward for lifting weights at the gym.

The other is a baker’s cap and three spoons that signified my budding hobby cooking from recipes.

As the Health Guide I championed that to feel good about yourself you should have a hobby you like to do.

You don’t need to excel at the hobby to feel good. That’s the point.

My premise was this: working out at the gym or at home entitles you to claim you are an athlete.

You are a bona fide cook or chef when you create mouthwatering meals.

Gaining expertise then I countered was a way to get confidence.

What do you think?