Goal Setting

September 3, 2008

The best way to reduce your impact on the environment or to save money is to have a plan of what you want to accomplish. The best way to that out is to write down your goals. Lets say you want to reduce your energy use. You might start out making a list of goals.

  • Turn off all the lights when I leave a room.
  • Unplug all appliances when not in use
  • Every time a bulb burns out, replace it with a CFL
  • Line or rack dry my laundry

OK, so now you have some measurable, accomplishable goals. You can go further and track every time you do one of these, or for look at what your electric bill is now, act on your goals and see what it is in a month. Comparing energy bills from month to month really shows how achieving your goals pays off.

Let’s say you have a bigger goal. You want the entire house, including garage, attic, and basement cleaned and organized. This is a big goal that needs to be chunked down into smaller goals. First, set your time frame. A job this big should be done over several weeks, or weekends depending on when you have time to work on it. Do you share the house with other people? They need to be in on the planning of this one.

Ok, so your goal is, “The entire house, garage, basement, and attic will be organized and free of trash starting now, June 21st and ending September 21st.” Set whatever timeframe works best for you, but setting a timeframe specifies your goal and makes it measurable.

Now, pick a place to start. I suggest in the house because that is a success you will see every day, and success leads to success. Pick a room to start, say the kitchen or the living room. Let’s say you pick the kitchen. The method you follow here you will duplicate in all the other rooms. First, throw out all the obvious trash. If it stinks, is broken, (for dishes and plates if it is cracked), or is beyond repair, throw it out. If it is good, but you don’t like it, set it aside to be donated to your favorite charity. Just because it is no longer right for you does not mean it is not perfect for someone else.

Now that the trash is gone, and all the donations are set aside, clean. Wipe down all the counters, the cabinets, sweep and mop the floor, wipe down the stove and fridge. These two appliances should be cleaned inside as well, and you can do that now, or on another day. Of everything you kept, put it where it goes. All plates, glasses, and silverware in their drawers, broom and mop stored in the broom closet and any knickknacks you keep, should be cleaned and put on display.

Look around your sparkling, organized kitchen and smile. Drink in your first success.

Repeat for every room in your house, and the garage. A few points to keep in mind:

  • Keeping track of your donations allows you to claim them for a tax write off.
  • Whatever you are keeping needs a home. Invest in storage containers that work for you if you do not currently have enough storage. Piles are NOT okay. Drawer organizers ARE your friend.
  • Be realistic. If you haven’t sewn that button back on that shirt by now, you never are.

This is just one example of how goals can work for you and how a big goal can be chunked down into smaller goals. Tweak the process as you go along and adjust your goals as needed. Need two days for one room? Fine. Get ahead and finish two rooms in one day? That’s great!

Goal setting will work for every area of your life. Write them down, then ACT.

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