My Life, Supported: On Setting Goals, Asking For Help + Breaking New Ground
First, a reminder that, if you’re thinking about signing on for Your Life, Supported!, now is the time to send me an email (caroline AT awishcomeclear.com). Rates go up for sessions booked after July 1…
…which is next Friday. (Unbelievable, isn’t it?)
Now’s your chance.
In honor of the aforementioned changeover, I rewrote my support plan + tracking tool this week. In doing so, I made a fascinating discovery: I’m in a different place now than I was just 2 months ago.
2 months ago, my support plan included goals for every area of my life. At the time, I was pleased with the result. However, in just 2 months, I wanted to do a complete rewrite.
As I rewrote my goals, I realized that:
- The scope of the goals was limited, because there were too many of them. Home goals, work goals, writing goals, self-care goals, exercise goals…it was overwhelming. I was trying to be a Renaissance Woman, excelling in multiple areas.
- There was no visible area of focus. The goals reflected the important, but not the essential.
- After a month, I’d stopped using my tracking tool because it didn’t highlight my actual priorities.
Nowadays, my goals for A Wish Come Clear are more important to me. These goals are specific, ambitious and just scary enough to keep me on my toes.
I won’t ignore the other important areas of my life. But I will distill my determination into a smaller set of goals, for a bigger impact.
We don’t have infinite energy to be diligent. Our inner child rebels against the thought of too much structure and too many rules. When you try to weigh yourself down with too many goals, that inner child says, “You want me to do what?! And how often? And you want to track all of that? Forget it! This is why I’ll never be an adult!“) As such, it’s important to give yourself some leeway.
In the Support Planning process, we list the major areas of your life, and ask questions to help you reflect on what’s going well and what could change for the better. Then, as we build your Tracking Tool, we consider the 3 goals that you want to zoom in on. I ask you, “What’s so important to you that you’re willing to track your progress daily?”
This process has helped me with racking focus — shifting from the foreground to the background. In my previous plan, I’d listed my writing goals along with everything else, as though my writing was as important to me as, say, running three times per week.
It was a form of protection, of pretending. But I’m not pretending anymore.
This website is foreground for me.
As such, my 3 main goals and sub-goals are all about supporting the work I do here. We’re gaining momentum as we approach the 6-month mark, and my goals reflect that.
Here’s a summary of what I’m focusing on this quarter:
1. Establishing regular sleep + wake times. I’m shooting for 7am and 10:30pm, respectively, 6 days/week. Why? Because lack of sleep is like kryptonite for me. When I get my sleep, everyone’s happier. When I get up early, I have more time to be creative. I have more energy (which leads to more exercise, and other healthy choices.) This single commitment to sleep will probably do more for my health and happiness this quarter than anything else I could choose.
2. Reaching a wider audience. (Since this is a major goal, I have 2 sub-goals in my Support Plan.)
3. Building my business (Since this is also a big goal, I have 4 sub-goals.)
What’s changed since I made the shift to fewer goals?
1. I’ve started asking for what I want. This is revolutionary for me. Before, my default thought-setting was, “I probably won’t get [X], so I won’t bother to ask.” Now, I’m changing that to, “I may or may not get [X], but if it matters to me, I’m going to ask for it!” How did I get to this point? Partly out of necessity, and partly because I was beyond inspired by Ash Ambirge’s story. If you’ve not read it: she risked asking her readers to buy her (as-yet-unwritten) first book on pre-sale…because she had no place to live, no money and no one on her side. And her readers came through.
When I read something like that, it dares me to be brave. As such, I’ve begun making a practice of asking. For example, I’ve been wanting to pursue copywriting, but I didn’t know where to begin. So, I reached out to friend and mentor Dusti Arab for advice. Next thing I knew, I had my first real copywriting gig.
2. Without meaning to, I’ve begun taking calculated risks. This includes asking for what I want, but it also includes things like trying new poses in yoga or taking on my first support planning client. It seems as though the more risks I take, the more rewarding they become.
3. I’ve become less critical of myself and others, because I’m focused the only work I can do.
What can you look forward to from A Wish Come Clear in the next few months?
1. Additional guest posts and copywriting projects that align with A Wish Come Clear’s mission and vision.
2. A new book launching here by the end of the year.
3. I’ve considered my posting schedule, and decided that I’m going to aim for one fantastic post per week, on Mondays. This will allow me to write well for you and be faithful to my writing goals (and my full-time job!)
And so I want to say thank you.
You’re the reason that I can dream big and work hard. You are what keeps this site going.
And this site is, in Ash’s words, “the vehicle that made all the difference in the world for me, the moment I finally started letting it.”
What’s your area of focus at present? What are your goals? Tell me in the comments!
About Caroline McGraw
I'm a would-be childhood paleontologist turned full-time writer, digging for treasure in people and uncovering sacred stories in ordinary days. I grew up in New Jersey (think peaceful suburb, not Newark), graduated from Vassar with honors, then served as a live-in caregiver and program director at L'Arche Washington DC. Nowadays, my husband renovates our historic 1901 home in northwestern Alabama, while I try (& fail) to keep our cat Bootsie from developing an epic tuna fish addiction. It's a beautiful life. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.