A close examination of our priorities helps a lot. But often in the process of prioritizing, we realize that we’ve neglected some of our greatest concerns—like our health, marriage, children, or faith.
Priorities. As a writer, I have dropped the ball on some of my most important projects. I rationalize my failure to follow through with lame excuses. But I sometimes struggle staying focused on my main objective—telling the stories that matter most.
My daughter Tara phoned me with a similar complaint about her home life. “I can’t seem to get to the things that matter most to me.”
As Tara voiced her frustration, I understood her dilemma. Day after day, she faces the impossible task of meeting her family’s needs, having four small children in her home.
Prayer. The same issues haunt me, even though we have an empty nest. And I know that I must choose prayer as my first step to address any problem or decision.
James 1:5-6 promises, “If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help … Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought” (MSG).
Like Tara, I frequently ask advice from someone who will give me honest input. My husband Dan offers ideas about my organizational problems. But I also consult other reputable resources, like online links, book, or professionals.
40-Day Challenge. Do you need to reboot your writing life, too? I challenge you to accept this 40-day challenge to tell the stories that matter most to you. I’m working through this process myself.
- Identify the “real meaning” of your work—your purpose, your audience, and the context for your stories. This evaluation process includes answering several vital questions. Why do I do what I do? Who will be reading or hearing my stories? What do I plan to do with my stories? Will I submit them for publication? If so, where?
- Define some SMART goals and write them down. Goals help guide our decision making. Without goals, we often neglect to do the things that matter most.
- S – Specific (or Significant)
- M – Measurable (or Meaningful)
- A – Attainable (or Action-Oriented)
- R – Relevant (or Rewarding)
- T – Time-bound (or Trackable)
- Set up tasks for attaining your goals. Write down several reasonable and do-able steps for achieving your goals to help you plan and focus on the right things.
- Compose a “to do” list, prioritizing all of your tasks. Schedule time on your calendar to work on your goals. This will help you stay on track with your deadlines and defend your time boundaries. It also helps communicate your goals to the people who matter most to you.
- Keep your goals close to your heart. Strange advise, I know. But as I considered the question “Should You Keep Your Goals to Yourself?” on Michael Hyatt’s blog, I found that my experience tends to confirm the statement by Derik Stivers in his 2010 Ted Talk: “Telling your goals makes them less likely to happen.”
I hope that you will join me on this 40-day challenge because when we begin to tell the stories that matter most, lives change and hearts heal.
What goal-setting techniques help you tell the stories that matter most to you?