Monday, August 24, 2015

INSPIRATION A to Z (G - Goals)

This post is the seventh in a blog series where I’m exploring various aspects of INSPIRATION. When I chose INSPIRATION as my word for this year, my first thoughts were about finding, acting on and (in some cases) limiting INSPIRATION. I also knew I wanted this word to motivate me not only in my scrapbooking and crafting but also in my physical, spiritual and intellectual goals. During my FUN year last year, I published a two-week series entitled Where Does My Inspiration Come From?, which looked at the many different sources of INSPIRATION specifically for scrapbook layouts. However, in this series, I’ll be sharing a word for each letter of the alphabet (from A to Z) that relates to INSPIRATION along with my random and in-depth thoughts on that word and the various ways it relates to INSPIRATION in our lives.

G is for Goals

Goals are defined as "the objects of a person's ambition or effort" or "things you are trying to achieve." Basically a Goal is "an end toward which effort is directed." Goals often provide the INSPIRATION to do or complete something.

I've always been a Goal-setter. As far back as I can remember, I kept lists of things to do and Goals I wanted to accomplish. When I was working on my Bachelor's degree in the early 1990s, my Goal was to graduate before I turned 25-years-old.

At the time, I was working as the office supervisor for a specialty chemical sales company and taking evening classes at the local university. After signing up for the available courses in the spring of 1994, I discovered that I needed one more course to be able to graduate that May (2 months before my 25th birthday). I convinced the department chair at the university to work with me on an independent study project, and I convinced my boss to schedule a sales meeting so that I could do a presentation on Goal setting as my project. I even created a booklet for all the attendees.

This booklet contains my research on goals, including the definitions of a Goal and illustrations on how our Goals overlap time-wise (long range, mid-range, and short range) as well as in all areas of our lives.

 I included lists about what a Goal should be, the benefits of setting Goals, and hints for success.

There were also several worksheets for the participants to complete during the presentation, like this one specifically helping our sales reps set a sales Goal based on their desired income level.

For the research and two-hour presentation I completed, I earned credit for the final course I needed and was able to accomplish my Goal of graduating before I turned 25!

I recently read the book Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull, in which the author shares a Goal he set for himself - to make the first computer-animated movie. After college, he began working in the (new-at-the-time) computer industry, eventually becoming the president of Pixar, which in fact did produce the first computer-animated movie, Toy Story.

The sub-title of this book (Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration) is a good illustration of how Goals and INSPIRATION are interrelated. Once Catmull's dream of creating that first movie was fulfilled, he set about contemplating and defining the Goal of Pixar. Despite problems that will inevitably arise during the making of a movie and issues that develop in a company with numerous employees, Pixar continually strives to learn and grow as it maintains focus on the Goal - to make films of the highest quality. To accomplish this goal, Catmull and the management team at Pixar continually evaluate and make adjustments for the "unseen forces" that get it the way of INSPIRATION.

The book was a wonderful read as the author shared the story of Pixar and its growth. I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to learn more about the computer-animation industry and those who want to improve their management and problem-solving skills. There's a wealth of knowledge in this book, as evidenced by these quotes regarding goals:

Don't confuse the process with the goal. Working on our processes to make them better, easier, and more efficient is an indispensable activity and something we should continually work on - but it is not the goal. Making the product great is the goal.

The healthiest organizations are made up of departments whose agendas differ but whose goals are interdependent.

The Goals that I'm focusing on currently are the items on my 50 Things To Do Before I'm 50 list. I prepared this list around my 45th birthday last year, so theoretically I need to complete 10 items per year to check them all off before my 50th birthday. If you check out my progress HERE, however, you'll see that so far (after a full year has passed) I've only checked off four items. I do have plans to check off one more of my travel Goals before the end of the year.

And in fact, I have actually made progress on several of the other Goals on my list as well. Here's an update on six of the Goals that require longer time commitments:

Read all the Pulitzer prize winners in Fiction
I've completed 12 of the 61 winners - click HERE to read my reviews of each one. Assuming a book is chosen for this prize in each of the next 3 years, I have 52 to go!

Re-read all my children’s/young adult books 
After my bookshelf re-organizing, decluttering, and inventorying activities this past December, I am now able to track this Goal easily using the spreadsheet listing our books. We currently have 407 (!!) children's and young adult books in our collection. After highlighting the ones I've read in the past two years, I have 340 to go! (It's really not all that bad because about half of those are short picture storybooks, which I'll probably take an afternoon this fall to read through and enjoy.)

Complete 10 scrapbook projects
I've completed five projects (10th Anniversary Cruise albums, Summertime Scavenger Hunt photos, 2011 Visits Photo Album Scrapbook, Gross Family 2014 Vacations & Visits Photobook, and 2015 Texas Spring Break Vacation Photobook), and I'm working on two other projects that I'm hoping to have completed by the end of this year.

Review all paid for scrapbook classes
I'm doing well on this goal and recorded my progress HERE and HERE.

Watch all the movies in our collection
In a post earlier this month, I mentioned that I'd rearranged our collection of DVDs/Blu-Rays and updated our inventory spreadsheet along the way. I'm checking items off this list as a way to track this Goal. There are actually 700+ line items on this list because it contains all our movies, TV shows, documentaries, cartoons, etc . . . obviously my goal is not to watch everything on the list! I simply want to watch the majority of the movies we own, although I reserve the right to skip the zombie, monster, and horror movies that Robbie enjoys but that really do not appeal to me.

Read through the Bible again
I'm currently two-thirds of the way through this goal, so I'll be able to check this one off soon. 

Before I end this discussion of Goals, I have to share the one thing that is essential in the accomplishment of a Goal. It's a single word that I included near the end of the booklet I created for that class so many years ago . . . action! Without action, a Goal is simply something written on a piece a paper or a thought that never comes to fruition.

In summary,  Goals often provide the INSPIRATION needed to move toward (action!) the completion of those Goals, thus the two are intertwined.

What Goals are you working on right now? What action can you take this week to move you toward the completion of one of your Goals? Please share your thoughts on Goals and INSPIRATION in the comments. 

Click HERE to see all my INSPIRATION A-Z posts, or click a letter below to see individual posts.

A(Art)   B(Baking)   C(Creativity)   D(Drawing)
E(Experiences)   F(Finishing)   G(Goals)   H(Hiking)
I(Immersion)   J(Journaling)   K(Knowledge)
L(Learning)   M(Movement)   N(Nurturing) 
O(Organization)   P(Planning)   Q(Quiet)   R(Reading)
S(Style)   T(Teaching)   U(Upcycle)   V(Vacation)
W(Work)   X(Xciting)   Y(Yuletide)   Z(Zzzzzs)


  1. Oh Melissa! What an inspiration you are!! I actually think you should sell your "Goal Setting" book!! Really!!
    My goals seem to just run around in my head and I sometimes lose them.
    I have written "plans" in notebooks and have so many, they're not working FOR me.
    You are so organized! You know exactly what you have and using spreadsheets is fabulous!
    I DO have one thing I've been working on and that's my layouts for my granchildren's albums for Christmas and Benson's birth to 1 year album. I've made some progress and I'm really happy about that! I guess that's a start to reaching my goals, right?
    What a great post Melissa! Seriously.....consider packaging and selling that book!!

  2. You are the most accomplished goal setter I know!

  3. I've always been a goal setter, and I think of myself as a pretty focused person, but you raise the bar to a new height!

  4. I can totally see you "convincing" the department head and your boss to let you do your thing! And I bet they didn't even argue much. Probably just smiled and nodded and agreed. I had that kind of dogged determination in my teens and 20's. It sort of died while I was busy with a full time career and three children and a household to run. I hope to get it back soon! I think one of the dreams of mothers about to be empty-nesters is what life will be like when they are only responsible for the day-to-day lives of two people (because some husbands are incapable of keeping track of their own to-do lists) instead of five [or insert the appropriate number here].

  5. What an enjoyable post. As someone who's always setting and writing goal lists, this really spoke to me.

    I must say, you are highly inspirational and I've always admired how you finish the challenges you set yourself

  6. I am always in awe of your organisation and determination!

  7. As another goal setter I was nodding my head as I read through. I enjoyed reading your 50 things to do before I am fifty post and this update.


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