Chet Skwarcan is an award-winning engineer, writer, and industry innovator in the field of traffic engineering. He is known for leveraging his creativity, logic, and technology to solve today’s engineering challenges.

Intentionally NOT setting goals…

I used to think goal setting was pretty cool, and who doesn’t want to be cool?  In fact, I just designed and ordered 844 t-shirts. They are very cool t-shirts. A lot easier than actually setting goals. Goal setting takes time and there’s Netflix and business books to read (or reread).

Anyway, I’ve been reading about goals lately — which is a lot easier than actually acting on goals.  Kind of wonder sometimes if I should have a binder with daily/weekly/monthly/yearly goals that I update every morning and then again at night (although I’m not sure my goals would change much while I sleep…well, maybe some of them would change, if I had any that is).

“Having goals is essential!”  Now how can anyone argue with a statement like that?  I can see how goals could impact all seven areas of my life, I’m just not sure I want them to. And what are the seven areas anyway?  And what if I only have six? Am I missing one? And I’m probably missing the most important one. Anyway, there is an interesting solution to having goals without actually “having” goals.  It is called the Rule of Synonyms.  My favorite synonym for “goal” (boy, gives me shivers to even type that word) is intention (pretty cool word, eh?).

Now think about doing something intentionally. To intentionally have a career that allows you to utilize your talents and passions so that getting up in the morning is literally the most enjoyable thing you can even think of (in the morning), And to intentionally plan your finances so you’re able to spend more time with family and friends? Well, you get the idear.

I know that being intentional about what I do each day is the only way I will truly realize what’s important to me a month from now (or 20 years from now, or next Tuesday, but not yesterday).  So, why don’t I just jot some things down?  Well guess what, I tried it.  And I tried in all seven areas.  Some things popped in my head, some I hesitated to jot down thinking they were not very good, and in some of the areas I just couldn’t think of any.  But, I did it anyway. I will review it every few days and tweak it as I go.  I have already noticed that while reading or talking with someone I often get another idea of something to jot down.  I am beginning to think that within a few weeks I will have a list of intentions that actually have some thought behind them (although they may not have started out that way – but this whole idea of tweaking-as-I-go versus not-going-until-I-tweak is working out quite nicely).

My tendency is still to be the perfectionist which means it is very difficult to list preliminary (or partial) goals/intentions in the seven areas.  Writing in pencil helps.  Writing fast and non-stop helps.  I scampered through it and then quickly watched TV trying to take my mind off of it.  I also wrote sloppily in case someone else found my notes and tried to hold me accountable  — “I never said I would floss every day – I said I would fish every day – in case I ever lived on a lake and had a fishing pole and worms and stuff”.

Because of inherent overlap between the seven areas, one author suggests focusing goals/intentions around roles.  Roles allow for overlap.  Such overlap occurs between career and social, between family and personal, between spiritual and everything, etc.

My version of Important “Roles”

  1. Me — my health, my brain, my spiritual growth
  2. My Family — my spouse, my children, my parents
  3. My Career — my income streams
  4. My Circle — my friends, my neighbors, my church, my community
  5. My Money — financial plan for business and family

The purpose of roles is to cover the Seven Major Areas of Your Life — jotting down intentions for each of your important roles might make more sense in your situation.  I like the idea of a 5-year goal, 1-year goal, and a short term (weekly or daily) goal to make it real — something I can think about regularly to keep my intentions in front of me.  So, my plan, as soon as I finish writing this blog, is to review the brainstorming I did yesterday and tweak as the spirit moves.  But, even more importantly, I want to think about ways to incorporate a small step into today’s schedule.  It is late in the day however, and I am a non-evening person, so generally, I will review/tweak my goals intentions each morning.  I will only spend a few minutes doing this but I will do it each day.  Because if I know one thing, I don’t want another day to go by unintentionally.

PS  Who wants to buy a T-shirt? Because, c’mon, it’s time to different thinkly.