Creating Realistic Goals

I have a bad habit of setting up unrealistic goals for myself. 

There’s nothing wrong with setting goals that stretch you, but be careful to not beat yourself up during the stretching process. 

I am working on a writing project that is definitely stretching me!

The project is helping a phD candidate in an electrical engineering program turn his research into a written dissertation. 

Reading the material and translating the data takes time–which means that setting realistic goals is important. 

I’ve been working on this project less than a week and I’ve already logged in 5 hours. 

Setting realistic goals keeps you and your project collaborators on the same page. 

There’s also no shame in being honest about your limitations and potential time constraints. 

I already know that having this proposal completely finished by Friday (what we agreed upon last Saturday) will not happen. 

I am working diligently to get as much done as possible, but I have also communicated this fact to my employer, the student. 

What I am learning as I begin this journey is that you can never go wrong in planning and goal setting by telling the truth. 

Why I can’t care

” I can’t care about that…” 

A friend of mine was telling me how someone else perceives me. I appreciated the input because I’m not a sociopath (meaning I’m incapable of feeling one way or the other).

If there’s some kind of weirdo behavior that I’m exhibiting and someone else notices then I want to know. 

The reason I said, “I can’t care about that” is quite simple:

I’m a recovering people pleaser. 

In the situation being discussed, there was absolutely nothing I could do about this person’s perception.

So, I just can’t care. 

The alternative is that I become an obsessive, anxious maniac who can’t function when said person is around.

No thank you. Not interested. Been there, bought the t-shirt. 

We can’t control how others think of us. Even if we could control it, that’s not a healthy way to live.

I don’t want to be a robot, so everyone else has to be a robot? Where’s the health in that situation?

Perception is a double-edged sword.

You’re in denial if you think it’s possible to not have a perception about someone, yet you have to be on guard against faulty perception.

I have learned that a faulty perception is the first step toward a bad judgment.

I’m actually proud of myself today because I spotted a situation that is beyond my control, decided to let it go, and articulated why I was letting it go to someone else (i.e. my friend and now my readers). 

This is a step in the right direction.

 

Healthy Introspection

Introspection: the examination or observation of one’s own mental and emotional processes.

I am an overly introspective person.

Is there a group called Over-Introspective Anonymous? 

If so, I need to go because the amount of time that I spend thinking things through is astronomical.

And annoying…..

There’s nothing wrong with knowing what you believe.

There’s nothing wrong with critical thinking.

It’s just that some of my “thinking” is actually tied to people pleasing. 

Ouch.

I am a recovering people pleaser and perfectionist. Old habits die hard. Just when I think that I’ve gotten it under control….

Well, you know how that sentence ends.

If your thoughts constantly revolve around “What will people think of me?” then that’s a sign that people pleasing is your motive. 

Eleanor Roosevelt once said:

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”

Loosen up!

It’s okay.

You’re okay.

Keep moving towards your dreams.

Put away the measuring stick. There’s no need to compare yourself to others. You’re not them and they’re not you. 

I say all of these things as reminders to myself, but I know that we’ve all been there.

This is when the healthy use of introspection comes in handy. 

I only noticed my old habits creeping back in after reading through my last few posts and thinking back on several conversations from earlier in the week.

Now I know what areas need more attention. 

And it has nothing to do with what someone else thinks and everything to do with me growing, which is the natural byproduct of healthy introspection.

A standard of grace

The line between business and customer, ministry and church member, can get blurry pretty fast. 

You can NEVER forget that numbers, statistics–the bottom line–represents a person.

Whenever I get frustrated, this is what comes back to me. 

You’re talking about a person, Audra, take a chill pill! 

Whatever problem I face (real or perceived) can be traced back to a real life person. A person with their own personality, flaws, interests, hurts, hopes, and dreams. 

He or she also has a list of problems….

A little grace can go a long, long way. And here’s another thing to consider: 

Most of the problems I face can be traced right back to me. Did I mention that I am not good at giving grace to myself?

About that….

Don’t forget about extending a little grace towards yourself. We all make mistakes. It happens. 

Let me be clear: There’s nothing wrong with having a bottom line, a set standard to aim for.

Just be sure that the standard you set doesn’t become more important than the people you serve and live/work with. 

I’m finding that having grace as my standard is the best way to go. It keeps everything in perspective.

Navigating Construction Zones

  Construction zones are everywhere. I drive through two to three each day. The world around me is exploding with new buildings and improved roads. When I think about redeveloping an impoverished area or new businesses starting up, I get excited. 

My favorite kind of progress , though, is when people change for the better. 

The terrain of pain, shame, and hopelessness transforming into a landscape of beauty and joy right before my eyes. 

And we are all progressing in one direction or the other. No one lives in a neutral state. 

We all have construction zones. 

Like I said earlier, construction isn’t bad, but it can be tricky to navigate at times. Traffic jams will happen when heavy machinery is in use. 

Keeping people at a distance until construction is over is not a good idea. 

Getting frustrated at the construction zone surrounding a friend’s life is pointless. 

What’s the answer then?

  • Keep your eyes on the everyday progress.
  •  See the improvements and additions as victories. 
  • View difficulty as the temporary setback that it really is. 

Our lives will always have some kind of construction zones in them. 

Demolition projects, remodeling, additions, or touch ups. The level of construction depends on the person. 

Learn to navigate the changes gracefully. This is one skill we all need to master–for the sake of others and for the sake of our own sanity.