Monday, November 19, 2012

Goal setting

Today I pulled out my goals list for 2012.  Now that the ship is staying alongside, I can actually think about it.  It’s pretty similar to 2011, with some things scratched out and some added.  Actually, it’s the exact same piece of paper.  Every now and again I’ll look at the goals I have and make adjustments or revisions.  I’ve blogged before about how I generally don’t make ‘New Year’s resolutions’ per se.  However, I like to have a few, overarching goals that I’m steadily working towards.

This year’s goals are:
1. Finish Queen's Legacy (1st draught)
2. Finish organizing the house (this one will make other military households laugh)
3. Have more finished models than I started with this year (even one will do)
4. Assemble all the models waiting in the pile

I’ve already readjusted for this year.  Why?  Well, I looked at the goals I had, and realized that I have a pile of models in boxes that I have yet to put together.  I’m also short on space at home.  Thus, I changed the painting goal to one of assembly, so I can get everything built and on the shelf.  The exception is those models that need to be painted during assembly, like troop transports.  Those, though, can be made into sub-assemblies.

The point of that is to show that goals can and should be flexible.  Adjust and adapt to what you think you can do.  Right now, I may not get the ‘sort out the house’ goal accomplished as the sailing schedule for my ship was pretty busy this year.  We’ll see.  At least I have a target.

This brings me to the nature of goals.  Make them things you can actually do.  Not just within the realm of possibility, but within your ability and means at the time.  Also, don’t lie to yourself about them.  If you get them done, great.  If not, then adapt your plan.  Just keep working towards them and don’t make excuses to yourself.  I’ve been working on Queen’s Legacy for a helluva long time.  Changing jobs to the Navy, not enough ass-in-chair time and other reasons have caused that.  Mostly insufficient ass-in-chair time, and really, that’s all on me.  Same as with changing modelling from painting to assembly.  I won’t be able to do both, so I picked the one I need to do before the other.

Don’t confuse goals with a mission or vision.  It was a key distinction when I worked in industry, and remains so in the military.  Your vision or mission may be the ultimate end state.  For example, if I had to put my vision of my (future) career as an author into words, it would be something like: “To continue to gain readership and make a living by producing quality stories that people want to read.”  That says nothing about how to get there.  It’s a nice vision, but it’s something to keep on a plaque somewhere in the office.  Goals are the nuts and bolts steps of how to get there (or stay there).

The point of my ramblings:
  1. Set goals, but be flexible
  2. Make sure your goals fit your vision, but also that they are doable.
  3. Don’t confuse your goals with your vision (and vice versa)

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