As we pass through this very welcome and needed time of cultural retrospection and change, many people feel helpless in the face of institutional racism and all its manifestations. Institutions are made up of people and people change and are inspired by people. In previous blogs, we have advocated for crossing cultural lines. Before we can be effective in crossing lines we need to line up our goals and aspirations and break them down to time grounded doable steps and we need to do it in a way that honors all of who we are. In such a way that we are not only going for the “goal” but also building the emotional/relational experience, we are stirring for into the process.
Goal setting is thought of as a “male” activity. Men are stereotyped as being goal-oriented while women are more relational. Studies of men and women show that both sexes have masculine and feminine sides and that emotionally healthy individuals will embrace both their “masculine” and “feminine” sides. It’s more accurate to say that within all people are the relational/experientially oriented self and the goal-oriented/”get it done” self. Often when setting goals, we lose sight of the relational side, the side that is concerned about how things feel, about the process to the goal. Healthy goal setting honors all of who we are and we will tap “how” to honor all of who we are in the process of setting and achieving goals, particularly in the arena of cultural change.
Often when we goal set, we want to “get it done” and quickly. Honoring our relational side demands taking hours, even days. If we are completely honest about the process, once we have goals that are relationally grounded, we will be revisiting them and tweaking them weekly if not daily. Goals are a life-time process. There is no “I’ll be happy when I get there in relational goal setting, it’s about being joyful on the journey as well. Start with a pen and paper. NO ELECTRONICS. Writing goals in our own hand engage us more intensely in the emotion of the process. It grounds the goals in us more.
Give yourself days and be content if you simply write for ten or fifteen minutes, or if your a work for hours at a time kind of person than go for it. Either way, remember that you will be revisiting your goals over time. Write out goals that cover all the areas of your life; mental, physical, career, family, finance, social, and spiritual. Let yourself dream big, list anything that comes to mind, we will be editing in the next step. You want to have at least three goals for each area and yes there will be overlaps between areas.
Most of us spend a lot of time in the house we want, the car, the vacations. Stretch a little here. Make sure you include your cultural change aspirations. What are the lines you have yet to cross in terms of race? In terms of class? In terms of wealth? When you recognize injustice, how will you stand for what is right? If you hear people having a judgment filled “racist”, “classist” or any other kind of “ist” conversation, how will you meet that conversation?
Remember that when we hear things that are just not right, we want to ensure that our subconscious minds are not absorbing that conversation. We need to stand for what we know as TRUTH as opposed to individual truths. We need to ensure our mind does not receive talk that drives separation and raises one individual up above another. It may be a simple as saying “I won’t receive that” to the speaker. It may be more dramatic. How would you want to deliver that message? If anger is part of the problem, how will you deliver the message without slipping into judgment and anger yourself? These are all valid considerations as you dream your goals.
The steps below are taken directly from the Zig Zigler Goal Setting Process and will add more relational aspects to your process. Remember, this will take at least ten hours and when you are done you will have learned more about yourself than you have in quite a while:
Wait 24-48 hours then answer the question “why?” for each item you have printed on your Dream List. Space is provided for you to do this on your Things I Really Want To Be, Do or Have sheet. If you can’t verbalize in one sentence why you want to “be, do or have,” then it truly is a dream and not a real goal. At this point, you should cross it off your list.
Ask these five questions, all of which must have a “yes” answer:
1. Is it really my goal? (If you’re a minor living at home, an employee or a team member, some of your goals will be set by the coach, director, parent or employer.)
2. Is it morally right and fair to everyone concerned?
3. Is it consistent with my other goals?
4. Can I emotionally commit myself to finish this goal?
5. Can I “see” myself reaching this goal?
NOTE: Answering these questions will further reduce the number of dreams on your Things I Really Want To Be, Do or Have sheet, so scratch them off as well. Answering questions #2 and #3 will be very helpful in making important decisions in all areas of life, especially financial.
After each remaining dream ask yourself these questions:
1. Will reaching this goal make me happier?
2. Will reaching this goal make me healthier?
3. Will reaching this goal make me more prosperous?
4. Will reaching this goal win me more friends?
5. Will reaching this goal give me peace of mind?
6. Will reaching this goal make me more secure?
7. Will reaching this goal improve my relationships with others?
If you can’t answer “yes” to at least one of these questions eliminate that item from your list of dreams. Careful: Don’t confuse pleasure with happiness. Be sure to consider your family when you answer these questions.
Divide the remaining goals into three categories: Short range (1 month or less); Intermediate (1 month to 1 year); Long-range (1 year or more), and mark them SR (short-range), I (intermediate) or LR (long-range) on your Things I Really Want To Be, Do or Have sheet. GO AHEAD – DO IT NOW. By taking this step you will be able to quickly determine whether or not you have a balanced perspective between what needs to be done now, versus your dreams for the future.
1. SOME goals must be big (out of reach – not out of sight) to make you stretch and grow to your full potential.
2. SOME goals must be long-range to keep you on track and greatly reduce the possibility of short-range frustrations.
3. SOME goals must be small and daily to keep you disciplined and in touch with the reality of “nitty gritties” of daily life.
4. SOME goals must be ongoing.
5. SOME goals (sales, educational, financial, weight loss, etc.) might require analysis and consultation to determine where you are before you can set the goals.
6. MOST goals should be specific.
A “nice home” is not as good as “3,000 square foot, Tudor-style home with 4 bedrooms, 3 full baths, 2 living spaces,” etc. Some goals, like improving your self-image, becoming a better parent, or getting a better education, are more difficult to pinpoint. Those that are less specific should be broken down into specific, tangible steps. For instance, a step to becoming a better parent could be “spend one hour per week one-on-one with each child.”
From the remaining goals, prayerfully choose the four goals (remember, balance is the key) which are the most important things you need to work on right now and record them. If this is your first organized goal-setting experience, you may want to start with two or three short-range goals.
IMPORTANT: As you set a new goal, also record it in a journal or a place you will review several times a year. You will be encouraged tremendously as you record the goals you reach throughout the year. Your confidence, self-image, and goals-achieving ability will improve dramatically.
Record these four goals (at least the ones that are Intermediate and Long-Range) on a General Goals Procedure Chart, and work each one of them through the process as shown in the examples.
ACTION STEP VIII Take the additional goals you have listed on your Things I Really Want To Be, Do or Have sheet and record each on a General Goals Procedure Chart. Work each goal through the process as you did in Action Step VII. Refer to the examples for a format to follow. DO IT NOW. Remember, motivation comes after you start the project.
CONGRATULATIONS! You have invested more time in planning your future than most of your friends, relatives, and associates will ever invest!