Liminal Luminous

The shining threshold
Living well Spirituality

SMART and joyful goals

This time of year, like most people, I sit back and review where I am in relation to where I wanted to be.

I set myself various goals, and for the most part, I am happy with where I got with them, I achieved most of them, others less so. Here’s the thing, I have taught business courses, I know full well about SMART goals – specific, measured, achievable, realistic, timed – and then planning to make those goals happen.

One goal I set myself – to get a studio, is completely outside of my control. There is a waiting list and there is nothing (legal and moral) that I can do to change that. The goal should have been – write a strong application for a studio, which I did.

OK, so that one was a mistake. But another was to make £xxx money from my creative work each month. And then I didn’t make a plan as to how I was going to make that happen. The figure was essentially picked out of the air, with no basis aside from it didn’t seem too much money to ask for. Not the best way of making things happen really.

This year, I decided that I wanted my goals to be really measurable, I have an accountability partner, where we say our 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the week and report back on it at the end of the week. I find that to be helpful.

As I was writing my 14th goal for the year, I decided to talk to my husband about them all, and if he wanted to have any input. Once again he told me he didn’t like to plan and was happy with life as it is. This pulled me up and I talked to a couple of other friends and it turned out that they don’t make plans in this way either.

And then I look at other people online at how they live their lives and make their detailed plans. The question is, I think, are they more joyful than people who don’t plan?

I want joy to be the abiding part of my life. This was triggered by reading Pen Wilcock’s  52 Original Wisdom Stories where one of the characters reflects on what joy means in their life and how they run on adrenaline, which can often turn into anger. Yes, that’s me. But I want to run on joy, like Jesus in John 15 (as the character points out)

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

He says that it can be a fundamental part of our lives. The Dalai Lama seems to run on joy too and let’s face it, he has a lot of reasons NOT to be joyful and yet, it radiates out from him.

How can I incorporate being joyful into my goals for the year? Well, it’s surrender, to our higher selves, to God’s will, to our Buddha nature.

Hmm, it’s not like I can tick it off a to-do list. And yet, I do believe that if I hold that as my centre and ask if this action is contributing towards it, or stepping away from it, then maybe I can. I do like to make things SMART though….

2 Comment

  1. I often set intentions rather than fixed plans – I find it less stressful. Intentions for 2018 include more time for good quality rest. Like you, I want a studio, but i can’t afford one, so I have other intentions about the things I think could move me towards that and that will be good things in their own right. I think sometimes its more about plotting a trajectory than trying to control everything.

    1. Yes, excellent idea and that is more what I’m thinking for this year. So many things I want to do – be a good musician, are rather hard to quantify, but practicing at least one instrument for half an hour a day means I am heading in the right direction

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