An Illustrated Goal Guide: The Action

Goal Guide Part B Final1 FOR WEBGoal-Guide-Part-B-Final2



Hey Guys!

And here it is! The second (and final!) part of the Illustrated Goal Guide! It’s a biggie, I know. There is so darn much helpful stuff out there. I actually chopped out whole sections because they were basically just me, being like – “and, and, OH! This is really cool, useful, and interesting too, and this! And this! Let me just digress for 4 pages…” Lol.

I feel good about what I’ve put together now. I really tried to work in all the most important, practical, evidence-based things I’ve read, in the simplest way I could. I’ve been working through it myself with some of my goals.

For example, getting more exercise. I KNOW, most generic goal of all time. But seriously guys, I’m starting to worry about myself! Those who knew me at a certain time in my life may be shocked, but I’ve sort of become horribly inactive. I mean, I’m busy, and still do a fair amount of kid schlepping and sprinting for trains (which totally counts as working out), but with bike season kinda on hold, the amount of dedicated exercise I do is frankly frightening. My 20 year old running, fanatically rock-climbing self would DIE.

So. Very simply, I’m going to walk through this one goal, using part B of the guide. My apologies if it’s mundane! I’m just thinking, some people really appreciate an example.

GOAL IDEA: Get more exercise.

Is this going to be challenging?
Yes. I’ve looked at how adding dedicated exercise to my life will conflict with my current schedule and habits (see Part A). It’s going to be tricky. But truly, it’s starting to feel kinda silly to be hunting down paraben free lipstick for goodness sake if I don’t exercise. Know what I mean? I concede, it’s a priority. Sigh.

Is this specific enough?
No. “More exercise” is way too vague. I could add a tiny bit and tell myself I’m doing better. Specifically, I’m shooting to add 30 minutes a day, or 4 hours a week, to be a little more flexible.

Goal: Where am I going?
I exercise 4 hours/week, every week, for 1 month (February 9th – March 9th). I’ve specified 1 month because when a goal is ongoing in nature (like quitting or building a habit) it helps to set a shorter term goal. It feels good to have a set point to shoot for, and to celebrate when we reach it. After a month, I’ll reassess and set a new goal (that’s important!).

Starting Point: Where am I now?
This is embarrassing. Except for wildcard weeks where we go for a hike or something, I maybe get an hour of dedicated exercise (kid schlepping/household stuff that makes me break a sweat not included. I FEEL THE NEED TO SAY THAT!). Mostly, it’s brisk walking. My little sister, Steph (who happens to be a semi-pro cyclist), is probably choking right now.
I do like to walk along the Rhine, though. And I make an effort to hustle the scenic route instead of taking transit into the city when I can. Ok, when it’s convenient. And sunny.

Action: How am I going to get there?
Well, I’m not joining a gym. I’ve done that no less than twice, with best intentions. In the past, it’s worked for me to: 1) Make it social (multi-task! It’s a friend date and exercise!). 2) Make it functional (I need to go anyway). 3) Make it fun (feels like a break!). With this in mind, here are my mini-goals:

  1. Find and sign up for yoga (or another) class with a friend. (60 min/week)
  2. Walk to the city centre 2/week, once for lunch with Achim, once for a playdate/errands. I’d like to say I’ll walk back too, but I know myself. (30 min. 1 way, 2x/week)
  3. Walk to/from a coffee shop to work once a week. (40 min/week)
  4. This one may cause marital conflict on account of zero space in the apartment, so it’s on one month probation. I will buy a second hand stationary bike and use it thrice weekly. I’ve seen them all over the buy and sell websites here for a pittance (which perhaps I should heed as a warning…?). Armed with the right podcasts, it might work. (30 min/3x week)

Total Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes.

Progress: How will I know that I’m getting there?
I’ll make a calendar with my tick box-able mini goals each slotted in, and post it on my bulletin board (this includes the logistics of getting the bike, finding a class, etc). At the end of each week I’ll tally my hours. I’ll also write a short follow-up post at the half-way point, and at the end of the month.
Also, progress will be feeling more positive, alert, energetic and warm (when I’m inactive I get so cold!).

And that’s a plan!

So I hope that was helpful! It was for me! 🙂 I’ll be shamelessly leaning on you guys as my commitment device now. Don’t worry, you don’t have to do anything, just knowing I told you is enough!

I just want to point out one more thing. The goal above is one where I basically knew how to proceed, I just had to work through it and make a plan. That’s why I didn’t have to set any learning mini-goals. But I’ve got lots of goals where I really don’t know what I’m doing. Like, stuff with this blog. For example, I’m still not fully clear on how to hone in on a good community of followers. As a blog lover, I have some ideas, but at this point if I set a goal to, say, have 1000 unique viewers per week by July, and set a bunch of mini-goals based on what I already know, I’d probably end up frustrated. That’s a case where it makes a lot more sense to focus on learning. Figuring out how others build community, honing in on some good resources (experts, other bloggers), learning how to use certain social media tools more effectively, figuring out SEO, etc. Know what I mean?

And that’s that!

Guys, I’m seriously so curious to hear what you think of the guide, if you find it helpful (or not!), and how you’re doing with your own goals! Any successes? Running into any issues? Do you have any ideas to add? Or advice for me on my exercise quest (other than don’t get an exercise bike!)?


P.S. Again, sources used to create the guide are listed here, if you’re interested.

10 thoughts on “An Illustrated Goal Guide: The Action

  1. Johanna

    Lane, I LOVE it! This is beautiful and helpful. I’m going to share with all my teacher friends. Makes me wish I hadn’t just left my sweet class. Sigh.

    I have one little goal at the moment- no big, long-term ones because I kinda figure I am just going to have this baby and then all other routines and, well, everything that I am doing will just go straight out the window. But my little goal is to finish ALL my marking and my (late) annual learning plan) by… tomorrow? I mean, it HAS to happen before the baby comes, and I do NOT want it hanging over my head! But it’s particularly difficult to focus on such things when I have baby related stuff to do…

    Ok. It just came to me. My goal (it sounds little, but it is ambitious) is to be IN a café by 9:30 tomorrow morning, and then not to check Facebook until I am done my marking. It feels monumental. But it is measurable, right? What do you think?


    1. Elena

      Hi Johanna! Thanks so much! A ton of the research on goal-setting is in an educational setting so I think the guide def makes sense as a teacher resource. I’ll be putting together a downloadable pdf version in coming weeks – man, I would have totally loved that as a student, but of course, I’m a touch biased. 😉

      Lol, I think both mini goals are great- but I’d re-word the facebook one positively, as an “approach goal” something you are shooting for, rather than avoiding. Our brains just like that better. When we focus too much on NOT doing something, it’s kinda like not thinking about white elephants or whatever.
      So what about making the facebook checking kind of a reward for undistracted marking? Thw goal could be something like “I will stay on task and complete my marking by ___(time)___”. Stick a post-it note up reminding you of your goal, and plan to check facebook (and maybe get a little treat to go with it!) when you have finished. 🙂

  2. Julie Hancock

    This is awesome Elena. I love that you gave us an example! I think it would be really cool to have a worksheet of sorts too – something that we could print out and fill in by hand to help is visualize the steps. I know you are really busy and creating something else on top of all these great illustrations may not be feasible, but I think you could create something spectacular to go with this!

    In any case, I’m really digging your blog. Have a grand time in Canada!

    X Julie

    1. Elena

      Hey! Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, Julie! You know what, I totally agree that the guide needs a further incarnation – I’m not certain it’s in it’s most useful form yet. I am thinking a printable pdf booklet with a little more explanation, but that is even better – making it a bit of a workbook. It’s something I’ve got simmering, for sure… we’ll see what I can pull together! xo

  3. Bia

    I Love the art on your blog!!!! It’s so “young” and refreshing like a spring breeze!
    You see, after trials and trials I did figure out the pattern of “goal- plan- do- check” but when it comes to checking , well…”Huston we have a problem!” My checking system doesn’t work ; as in I get bussy with other things , forget , get lazy etc !!! and A WEEK goes by and my to dos gets behind because of my irregular checkings! 🙁 . I tried making a schedule or pairing it ( the checking) with regular activities like after breakfast or before shower or before bedtime…it just doesn’t happen regularly!
    I would love if we could compare some ideas or if you have a piece of advise on this!

    1. Elena

      Bianca, I am with you! Staying accountable is definitely the biggest challenge for me! I think that part actually probably warrants a whole post of it’s own. So far, the most effective strategy I’ve found personally is to set up a system of mutually beneficial accountability with another person. There are a lot of ways this can work, depending on the goal. For example, if it is a study or project related goal, set up regular dates with someone doing similar work, to brainstorm, get feedback or edit one another’s work, etc. It works on two levels – sets a distinct time to check in, and keeps me on track, because frankly it’s kinda embarrassing – and a waste – to not be ready for those dates! For smaller and more personal goals, this isn’t always feasible though! I’d love to hear more specifically about your goals and where you run into problems and maybe I can come up with some things to try!

      p.s. Thanks for the comment about the art! I’m so glad it appeals to you. 🙂

  4. Lucky

    I'm one of that small minority that thinks that Oswald did it, and that he did it himself. Oswald was a paranoid nutcase as the Soviets knew all along. Kennedy was hardly the first world leader to be murdered out of the blue by a lunatic (remember Henry IV of France; Queen Victoria suffered 5 asatissnsaion attempts, all by lunatics).I don't think any cabal murdered Kennedy.I do think that Oswald made a lot of people's fondest wish come true.Be careful what you wish for Mac (or Brad).

  5. Pingback: The YOSC #10: A follow-up (and a name!) - Elena's Treehouse

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