I have been sneaking up on goal setting this year but encountering strange resistance. In probing this (unusual for me) hesitation I am learning some unsettling aspects of myself. I often conduct quarterly and year-end reviews of aspirations, actions taken, and results obtained which then inform goal setting for the next block of time. This process had worked well for helping me focus on my priorities and to take steps in alignment with the goals I had set out. I went so far as mapping the year goals onto quarters, the quarters distributed onto months and the months onto the specifics of weeks and days. Less than perfect in execution, I often found myself significantly off course by the summer which then left me groping to make some vague progress toward the general goal statements but without the granular map to follow. I understood that the idea was to do the quarterly reviews and course correct at each juncture but I found myself stymied by the total lack of achieved results that were planned and desired. Does this suggest my goals were unreasonable? I don't think they were. They were SMART and attainable, in theory. The action steps were taken consistently and conscientiously for days, weeks, and months as planned. The predicted results just didn't show up as 'promised'. The issue then became that the next quarter was based on the premise of having achieved actual results in the preceding quarter and that's when the whole plan would begin to unravel. If the year plan was to go from A to B to C to D and yet each time I checked in I was still more or less stuck at A how should I continue?
This past year, surprisingly, I did see some actual progress:
until it came to a halt.
As the year came to a close, one goal stood out for me: finish the journey to normal BMI. But how? What action steps can I employ? The things that were working consistently most of the year suddenly weren't. It could be the total confusion on this is what is holding me back from setting a plan to paper but I'm not sure. Looking at the graph, it looks like I hit a brick wall; it feels like it too.
Back to the drawing board. Research on goal setting. Personality: Who do I have to be, think and act like to achieve my health goals? I scripted an identity statement that I want to internalize and own:
'I acknowledge my DM2 and take full responsibility for managing my blood sugars by controlling carbohydrate intake and committing to daily movement. I am accountable and conscientious in my choices, behavior and actions; what others choose to do is irrelevant.'
This I felt was needed as a reminder to myself when I want to pretend that I can consume whatever I want without regard to my DM2 reality. When I 'pretend', I am not behaving in a mature manner. When I 'rebel' that is the equivalent of a juvenile temper tantrum. I need to grow beyond these negative patterns and develop loving and kind coping skills that keep me aligned with my goals.
I resurrected a 'project journal' that I have used previously to map out daily action plans figuring a bit of structure can't hurt. Talk about raising my hackles! Red flags and air raid sirens would have been an appropriate soundtrack. WTH?
I realized that the reason I currently don't want to define goals much less commit them to paper is that if I do I will be obligated to take action on them. AND ? ? ? ? ? (this has not been a problem for me before; I am just stunned; flabbergasted; flummoxed)
When I pushed gently, out came a torrent:
> I don't want to HAVE TO be conscientious, obedient, chained to goals
> I Do want the outcomes but I don't want to HAVE TO do the work
> I am so tired of always having to be so careful, strict, and regimented
> When do I get to have fun? (Fun obviously being free of rules and constraints. Not reality)
The problem with basing goals on Outcomes is that lack of measureable, objective progress erodes trust in ourselves, and our abilities and efficacy, which then undermines our willingness to be accountable, consistent, and reliable in our efforts. In my particular case, this challenge to self-esteem, coupled with unemployment (loss of usefulness and autonomy) and an introverted nature (lack of assertiveness) has rendered me indecisive and impotent. I completely failed at boundary setting with DH when we had a priority setting conversation recently and now find myself attached to a list of tasks and deadlines that we 'agreed' on but that don't really take us where I want to go. Yes, I could ask to revisit this subject, but I don't have a better suggestion to offer. May as well do something.
Could cutting the ties to Outcomes help? Could setting process or improvement goals be more rewarding and successful (even if the outcomes remain elusive)? One would think being unemployed would give me more time for my own pursuits and self-care but so far that isn't happening. I may have to go to proverbial 'battle' to defend my rights and worthiness as an individual.
How do you dig yourself out of quicksand and start making progress? Throw me a rope will ya?
Peace and Care