Goal-setting. Revisiting an old Friend

Songdove Books - ACE Goal ChartI’ve run across this concept twice now in less than 24 hours!  When I was going to grade school, part of my education was spent in the ACE program.  ACE is short for Accelerated Christian Education.  It’s a great supervised self-study program that teaches the child not only the basics, Math, English, Social, Science, etc, but this system teaches goal-setting along with education in the Bible, early church, missionary biographies, and more.  I still have a stash of ACE weekly goal charts sitting right here at my desk.

The concept was simple, each day had to have a goal of a certain number of pages in each subject’s PACE, or packet of accelerated education, otherwise known as your workbook.  When you accomplished the number of pages you’d set for yourself, you crossed off that space on the goal chart.  If you couldn’t reach your goal, that was your homework when the day was over.  This taught the child how to gauge their capabilities and to adjust their goals accordingly.  I graduated from this system of education.

Adult life for me however, did not start with much more than one real goal, and that goal eventually got derailed altogether.  Everyone in life needs something to live for, something to strive for, and something to reach for.  Very quickly, those three things found their meaning in trying to survive.  Earning enough to pay the bills became the highest goal I could reach for.  Next to that, always ensuring there was time for my Lord’s House was a weekly goal that I generally put my foot down to make sure it happened.  Many times I could have chosen work over God’s House, but my faith meant more than my income, so working when I should have been in my Father’s House was a rarity.  My love for being in my Father’s House led to attempted balancing acts between work, raising two kids on my own, and church ministry involvement.  This balancing act led to many schedule and time management challenges, leading many to believe that I was some sort of super-woman.  Going non-stop was the name of the game and slowly but surely my body was giving more and more signals that it couldn’t handle it.

In the meantime, a dream of writing a book to share how God was dealing with me and teaching me, was born.  This would eventually become the first real non-survival goal I’d had in many years.  This goal would be realized in 2012 when I published “Becoming the Bride of Christ: A Personal Journey” as a six-volume set with a Leader’s Guide.  Suddenly there was more to life than the rat race I’d been on for over 20 years.

Songdove Books - Grad cap name tag on grad giftMy next book would come along as a grad gift to my children, and guess what?  “Mom’s Little Black Book: Godly Advice for the High School Graduate” would include calendars for pacing personal devotional times, charts for managing the housework in a timely fashion, a sample budget sheet for income and another for grocery shopping.  Clearly, my ability to understand goal-setting had not wained these many years.  Even as I talked with my kids about any dreams they had, I would talk about the steps required to realize those dreams.  It became my desire to encourage the dreams my kids had, and to help them discover ways they could work toward those dreams and turn them into reality.  I am pleased to say that my daughter is thinking about those goals, and considering when and how she’ll put them into practice.

Two more books would come along, “Practical Thoughts on Becoming an Author” and “Dressed for Eternity”, released in the Fall of 2013 and Winter of 2014 respectively.  In addition, I would find myself once again working for myself under my own business name, FCS – Fact Computer Services Co.  Generating new clients requires marketing and promotion equally as much as getting out word of my books.  But while writing a book was a concrete goal that I could see develop and come to fruition fairly easily, the idea of marketing and promotional goals has seemed far more nebulous.  Measuring how well a given effort or campaign does has also been somewhat nebulous inspite of seeing many articles and tools available for the concept.

Songdove Books - The Book Marketing ChallengeA chiropractor that my family is seeing right now presented a goal-setting workshop that he’d like to offer his clients in the near future.  Flipping through it showed many interesting ideas that have clearly been thought out.  Week three of the May 2014 book marketing challenge featured an article that contained a very concrete example of using guest blogging to promote my books.  After all these years of survival, that in reality, are not over yet if my bank account has anything to say on the matter, it’s good to finally start seeing some concrete examples of goal-setting that I can consider putting into place in my own life.  There are some people out there who have taken goal-setting to a minute level, and are lovers of todo lists.  For them, life just doesn’t happen if they can’t scratch something off that list.  It is their way to stay disciplined, focused and continually moving forward.

I will be releasing my next book, “A Year in Prayer With Jesus” hopefully later this summer, with a launch date for the Fall.  This book has a goal for launch.  It appears I need to carve out some time just to examine what I want for my monthly income and how I’ll go about reaching that goal; what I want for book visibility and sales, and how I’ll go about reaching that goal for each of my current books, and seriously ask myself where I want to be if the Lord tarries and we’re here on this planet for another 10 years.  Sometimes just putting one foot in front of the other is a goal all by itself.  Over the past year, regaining my health has been a goal and I’m starting to see it happen a year later.  Decent health is needed for many of the desires I want to or need to engage in.

It appears time needs to be made for some personal examination and goal setting again.  It feels good to say that, let me tell you!