Here’s what I set out to do in the month of May, 2014, 29 things to accomplish before I turn 29 in May, 2015:
1. Start a new venture (I have an idea what)
2. Participate in 30 days of lists
3. Cook 29 authentic, traditional South Indian recipes and blog about them
4. Send an article to a newspaper/magazine
5. 29 projects with Medha
6. Learn Photoshop
7. Read the Bhagvad Gita
8. Visit the British Council
9. Read all Harry Potter books
11. Make a list of birthdays/anniversaries of family and friends
12. Visit a museum
13. Travel to a place I’ve never been before
14. Watch Smash season 1
15. Learn Telugu
16. Review a fancy restaurant we visit for my blog
17. Have my picture taken with the kids once every month
18. An usie with Prasad every month
19. Get grills done to our home
20. Get a facial done
21. Send out birthday cards
22. Subscribe to highlights genies magazine for Medha
23. Read “the happiness project” once again
24. Clean my inbox
25. Finish onward and upward class
26. Make a folder for the study material related to o&u
27. Once a month list all the things I’m grateful for in my life
28. Finish work on my kids’ album
29. Buy myself something special when I cross the halfway mark.
I’m cringing as I look through my list and see where I am and how far I need to go. This embarrassment is not because I have only accomplished about 11 goals, which means I haven’t achieved half the number of things I set out to do more than halfway into this challenge. I know setting goals and working towards them isn’t easy. Easy is drifting through life, like a leaf blown by the wind.
So what’s up with the cringing, you might wonder. It’s the kind of goals I set for myself. I feel like I didn’t think through some of them. 29 things to achieve in a year is hard, especially when there are time-consuming goals like “cook 29 authentic, traditional South Indian recipes and blog about them” and goals like “29 projects with Medha” that depends on the enthusiasm and patience of a 4 year old and goals like “an usie with Prasad every month” that get forgotten in the frantic pace of certain months. In short, I feel like my goals are not SMART:
- “Start a new venture” isn’t specific, “Start a library” is, but that didn’t work out. Prasad and I thought of buying a Justbooks franchise but when we calculated our investment and the gains, it didn’t work in our favor, so we dropped the idea.
- “Learn Telugu” isn’t measurable. I can speak a bit of Telugu now. I know enough conversational Telugu to get my work done. Can I strike through the goal? Hmmm… I don’t think so. How do I measure how much I know? Maybe I should have set a yardstick for my learning, like, know enough Telugu to read a book written in the language or give a speech to an audience in the language. Now that’s a measurable goal.
- “Learn Photoshop” isn’t an attainable goal for me. Heck, I don’t even want to learn Photoshop. Someday, maybe, but not right now. What I really wish to learn is “Web Design”. I was too dumb to know the difference between the two!
- “29 projects with Medha” isn’t a realistic goal at all. After a few, Medha went “I don’t want to do any more projects!” Still I sprang a couple more on her when she least expected them. It got to a point where I was nagging her to do more “fun” activities together, which stopped being fun, OBVIOUSLY! I’ve decided not to set a goal that relies on the moods of a hyper-active child!
- With so much going on in my life, who has the time to cook 29 traditional South Indian recipes and BLOG ABOUT THEM? Not me!
But I’ve learnt so much from my mistakes. The next time around I’ll try to set SMART goals and REACH them.
Being a stay-at-home mom, who (Thank God!) NEED NOT work outside home (but who can if she wishes to), I don’t have a schedule to follow. I can take a day as it comes, doing household chores, attending to my family’s needs, chauffeuring the kids around, which I do most of the time. But when I plan my day, a whole month, an entire year, I’m bound to get so much more done apart from the absolute necessities. I free up time to read, to write, to cook fancy recipes like Garlic Cream Pasta Sauce for dinner, to play Hide-n-Seek with my kids. I free up time to go after my dreams.