Having goals and working on them contribute to happiness. The first part is easy. Put that goal on a dream board. The second part is where people often stop. I put a map of blog posts on my calendar for the next few months and did not know that in September, I would still be working feverishly hard on a goal that I set for myself. Working Towards a Goal just happens to be the topic of the week, and that is what I am doing.
My guide for clients and myself, is that the goal should be SMART. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound.
My SMART goal was this.
Specific: A job that would meet my needs in order to stay in my apartment. Probably something outside of education because due to education policy and lack of funding, it is hard for a teacher with 18 years experience to get hired. I also desire continuous employment throughout the year.
Measurable: I will know that I have achieved this goal when I am working steadily, getting paid, and I am able to take care of my basic needs and save a little towards my emergency savings and for some of my bigger dreams that have been set aside for now.
Achievable: I am educated and have lots of experience. I have good connections that can help me find opportunities besides those on-line. I am fortunate to have these advantages.
Relevant: This goal is related directly to me having a life. This goal is related to shelter, food, transportation, and the basic pursuit of happiness.
Time -Bound: I think it is very important to know what your time limit should be as a target, but as we all know, who have done life for a while, we cannot control everything enough to ensure we always achieve something exactly on time. I was hoping to have a job by mid July that would be lasting. I have had to adjust my plan because that time has past. I honestly do no know how it will turn out. It is very suspenseful. I am aiming to have something by October now.
Let me tell you what working on that goal looked like. I applied for hundreds of jobs. I completed on-line essays, took tests, wrote specific cover letters, and customized resumes, I let all of my friends know at least twice that I was looking for work and what kind of work I was looking at, I talked to employers face to face to explore opportunities, I interviewed my friends about the specific work they do to see if that might be something I could do, and I went to some interviews. I tried a new job working in a day-care, gave it my best, and had to leave when they were not paying me according to our agreement. I cannot afford to work just for the passion of taking care of children. Still looking for that independently wealthy, handsome, generous man, to come into my life and say, just go paint, I have the bills. Just kidding. That is not on my dream board and definitely not a SMART goal. Back to the work part. I immediately applied for so many more jobs and I went to Work One to get some ideas on how I could improve my resume and find out what other kinds of jobs I could apply for. In order to get by, I have been cleaning houses and watching a pet. I reopened Promising Connections and offered coaching services and put my art for sale. I have let people know that I am willing to do things that I can do that they may need. Everything has helped. I have a few more days until I decide whether to continue my lease or leave a month early.
Most people in this area actually make $15 an hour or less. They many times have kids to take care of as well. I do not know how they do it. It must be through a lot of credit card debt. My one bedroom apartment is about $700 and I just have to take care of a litttle schnauzer who does not eat much. Internet is free. Utilities are about $150 total a month. I am still paying on student loans and an IRS payment for debt that was “forgiven” from back when I was married. I have a very simple life. I have very little furniture and my car is paid for. It has over 200,000 miles on it. I refuse to get a single credit card in order to pretend I have money I don’t. I currently have debts to pay off and will continue to pick away at that as I am able. I worked full time as a teacher since I have been in Indiana getting the pay of about a 10 year teacher (with 15+ years of actual experience). I did not have enough to live on this summer and needed immediate employment. The daycare job helped me a little, and I am grateful. I am grateful for the cleaning jobs, art purchases, and any other opportunities that get me by.
It is hard to work on your goals. Sometimes they do not work out exactly as you hope. Working on goals is essential to our happiness. It is our reason for getting up in the morning. My other important goals tied to employment is being in Indiana for my mom and being able to not only meet my needs but help others. I was able to volunteer with a friend that directs for the Civic Theater. I was cast as an elephant in a play that retold and adventure of a couple living at Westminster Village in West Lafayette. They went to Thailand and rode a young misbehaving elephant. That was me. I even got to squirt water. I think I entertained people and I had fun. I did some work for Saint Baldrick’s of Lafayette during this time as well. Tomorrow I am helping someone I do not know to move. There were other times that I was able to stop and hold space for others, even while I was working on my own goal. I am grateful for being able to be simply alive.
Sometimes life is a little tougher, but compared to most of the world’s troubles I am wealthy, healthy, and blessed. Each day I do the next reasonable step. I put my energy into to my main goal first and then I make room to volunteer, relax, take in some nature, and enjoy friends and family. Living keeps going on as we work on our goals. If you are in this land of uncertainty with me, let’s take a moment to breathe, in with the good air, out with the bad……back to work. We don’t know when things can suddenly shift. Life is good as it is.
Initial Creative Discovery Coaching Sessions are $125. You will leave with your own SMART goal or goals– the plan. We will also map out how you will WORK the plan. Call to schedule: 651-331-1421