Thursday, April 10

goal setting: what fires me up!

It's been a while since I took some time to write about goal setting - and while I've been feeling to busy to write about how I narrowed down my goals for the year, the year has been chugging right along.  On her blog, Lara Casey (my favorite goal-setting guru) discusses the importance of knowing what fires you up when thinking about goals.  So today, here are the things that keep me going!

  • My marriage - what can I say that I haven't already said on this blog about how important my marriage is to me?  My husband is supportive, encouraging, funny, and my best friend.  If I'm ever doubting or downing myself, he builds me right back up and pushes me to keep going.

  • Spending time with friends and family - fun, laid-back down time is essential to my mental health.  Whenever I start to get cranky, it's usually time to point my car toward my childhood home and go visit my mama.  Whenever I get bored, the cure is spending time with my BFFs and my sister-in-law.

  • Live performances - I grew up in a very creative family - my dad was a drummer, my uncle was a painter, my mama is a DIY-er, and I was always surrounded by music and sculptures and the idea that people make art and create things as a given.  My parents enrolled me in dance classes at an early age, I enjoy making arts and crafts projects, and I will always consider myself a writer even if it stays a hobby rather than a profession.  But when it comes to the arts, nothing fires me up quite like a live performance - whether it's a major concert or a band playing at a dive bar, a college dance troupe performance in the community, a middle school play, or even just a new episode of So You Think You Can Dance on television, seeing artists do their thing makes me more inclined to do some creating myself.

  • Seeing my friends follow their passions - I think it's funny how in high school and college I thought I knew exactly where everyone was going to end up, but people's real lives have turned out to be very different than what they imagined for themselves. The adorable stationery pictured above is from my friend's letterpress studio - a friend I completely thought would be an architect designing eco-friendly houses right now. The history-major friend who swore she never wanted to end up teaching?  Teaches Montessori kindergarten!  A friend from ed school who started her college career in the engineering department is now an information technology specialist for her school district, and another elementary education major I knew is a pilates instructor in New York City.  I think seeing these friends make their own paths reminds me that you don't have to do what people expect you to.  You don't even have to do what you've expected yourself to.

  • Being a teacher students trust - It's often stressful being the teacher students open up to, the one they tell the deep dark stuff.  The art above is student artwork and it told me everything the tough, mouthy little girl who drew it couldn't say.  Yes, kids sometimes come into my room weeping when I'm on my planning period, and instead of handing the kid off to the guidance counselor I know that I'll be spending the next hour in the guidance office with them.  Yes, kids ask me questions that have absolutely nothing to do with English- they know I will keep my promise to never lie to them.
  • Being a teacher administrators and colleagues trust - I hold several leadership positions in my school and it's important to me that my supervisors and co-workers know they can count on me to be positive, helpful, and fair.  I will never be two-faced or put on a show.  I will always find answers if they are available.
  • Listening to good music - In every genre imaginable, I think there is something inspiring.  I feel a lot better when I turn on Pandora or the local radio and just let it play for hours while I'm writing or doing housework.  Singing in the car is one of my favorite antidotes for stress, and I'll find a reason to go on a long drive if I need some time to channel my inner Adele!

  • Reading powerfully written books - For the same reason I love watching live performers.  Nothing helps me stay motivated to write like reading great writing.  I think we are truly blessed to live at a time in which so many of our favorite writers are just a tweet or e-mail away.
  • My yoga class - I love my little Parks and Rec old-lady yoga class.  My teacher is so wonderful and supportive, and the class is SUCH a different world than the classes I took at the fitness center when I was in college.  I have really learned to push myself while listening to my body.  My goal for this session is to be able to put my heels on the ground during downward dog pose - I have very short legs and flexibility is not my strong suit!
  • Approachable recipes - I think cooking can be pretty therapeutic and taps into my creative energy.  When I find a recipe online or in a magazine with great photography, pronounceable ingredients, and a manageable list of steps, I get so fired up!  Cooking "real" meals makes me feel healthier and also kind of like SuperWife.

  • Growing things - I seem to have inherited my mom's love of gardening, and it never fails to strike me as a miracle that my basil plant comes back every year.  Keeping my window boxes and planters full of greenery and flowers gives me an extra dose of pride in my home and getting my hands dirty makes my inner farm girl feel great.

  • Summer days at the lake - I don't take advantage of living so close to a beautiful lake nearly enough.  My soul feels so healthy in those long summer days on the water.


  1. What wonderful goals! I find that when I write my goals down there is a better chance of accomplishing them. :)

    1. Thank you Laura! I definitely want to spend more time doing the things that give me energy and make my soul sing.