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The Art of Listing Goals

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I have so many things that have to be done. I have so many things I want to do but don’t have to do. How in the world do I manage? How do I juggle my priorities and my “fun” projects? It can all just be so frustrating sometimes. I think a plan is in order. Yes, I am going to have to do that dreadful thing and sit down and write out what exactly my “goals” are.

Putting these things in writing is so supposed to be a powerful process in and of itself. It is supposed to convert idea into reality. It is supposed to help map out a path to success rather than just drifting along through life in a rudderless boat. It is supposed to help define achievement and expose distraction. Sounds awfully boring to me, but, seeing as how I have about seven unfinished projects quickly getting nowhere and my other responsibilities not quite up to par either, I’m willing to give anything a try.

This type of strategy is often used by professional athletes and successful business people; the consummate over-achiever, in other words. I’m just regular folk. Well, maybe not so regular. I may consider myself regular but other people that know me have used words like “creative”, “artistic”, or, some of the not-so-nice adjectives like “ADD”, “short attention span”, etc. You get the picture, I’m sure. I guess you could compare me to a magpie that gets easily distracted by any bright and shiny object and hops around from one thing to another. Yes, that’s me. Is there really help for my kind? Can doing something as simple as making a list change my life? It sound so unromantic to this creative soul.

The psychology at work with a list is that it helps a person visualize the goal. This visualization then in turns stimulates motivation. I get very motivated by chocolate chip cookies. I’m not so sure a list will have the same effect.

In the process of making this list, it is also supposed to help a person acquire more knowledge about how they organize their time. Now, this makes absolute sense to me. However, rather than motivate me, realizing just how much time I waste when I actually thought I was minimally productive has had the exact opposite effect. I’m not motivated. In fact, now I’m more ashamed and depressed than ever. My reaction convinces me more than ever that I am the epitome of the neurotic artist.

Now that I am absolutely discouraged to discover what a lazy good-for-nothing I actually am and was blissfully unaware of my condition, I’m beginning to get a little mad at myself for thinking I needed to change in the first place. Working my way through this list of goals was supposed to help build my self-confidence as I check off one accomplished goal after another. Instead, I have to ask myself, “Is this who I want to become?”

I mean, after I think about it, if I suddenly become a level-headed achiever making steady progress through life, what will happen in my marriage? What will happen to my children? It has taken many years of hard work, tears, fears and arguments to get to happiness, acceptance, mutual respect, and deep love. I would rather not have to go through all of that again by becoming a different person that my husband has to get to know all over again. It’s a very tiresome prospect and I just don’t want to add another time consuming project to my list!
And the kids! A neurotic, messy, scatter-brained mother is all they have ever known. According to them, it’s all part of my charm as a person. They find it endearing. How can I traumatize them emotionally by becoming a stranger? What will they think if they wake up every morning to find breakfast on the table rather than wake to me dragging them out of bed because I set the alarm clock all wrong yet again? Where will the pride be when they bring their friends home and there is not some mess of paints and clay and fabric and beads all over the place? They will no longer be able to roll their eyes as they affectionately point out to their friends, “That’s my mom. She’s an artist.” You see, that one word explains everything! It makes all my neurotic messiness okay and cute and acceptable.

I really don’t think I need this “10 Years Plan to Achievement”. It seems I’ve achieved the only goal that really mattered anyway. Everything else is just small potatoes and gravy. Besides, I’ve already gotten bored with this “list” thing anyway. There seems to be a sparkly new bag of topaz crystals that are just screaming to become some earrings or a necklace. I can finish the list later.