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 Post subject: Goals and Stability
PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 9:13 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 3:07 pm
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The following lessons appeared in a previous version of the partner's workshop, but I saved them on my computer. I have occasionally hared them with individuals in private coaching, to supplement their work, but I think they should be shared with anyone who wishes to use them. For me, these lessons were invaluable to the process of developing my vision and values in that they showed me where I spent my time, which allowed me to see where energy was sometimes wasted and could be better spent. They also showed me the value in the mundane. They are tedious, as Jon mentions, and even boring, but they are so worth while (at least they were for me). Enjoy!

Note: These exercises should be done after having already developed at least a rudimentary vision for your life. If you complete these exercises, and feel there is a gap, take it as notice to revisit your vision and make sure it is complete (or, more complete :w: ).

_________________
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. (Viktor E. Frankl)


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 Post subject: Re: Goals and Stability
PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 9:15 am 
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Goals and Stability I

Of all the elements presented in this workshop, none will be capable of producing more stability and balance in your life than goal management. It is one of the most important life skills to master, yet few do. Why? Because it's boring. Well, it can be. Because it is tedious. Well, it can be. Because it requires a whole lot of time and energy to manage one's goals. Well, it can initially. And time and energy are two things that most people in crisis feel they do not have.

Few people learn to master the skill of goal management. And by goal management, we are not talking about merely setting goals--anyone is capable of this. Those who limit themselves to setting goals and then hope and pray that they can achieve them (see: New Years Resolutions) are setting themselves up for failure and frustration. Unfortunately, this is the most common approach to goal management, and its pervasiveness throughout our society has diluted the true value of this skill.

What is Goal Management?
Goal management is the skill of mapping out your goals in such a way as to produce a prioritized, value-based list of activities that you need to pursue in order to live a stable, balanced life. Mastering goal management is to reduce your life to small, obtainable, manageable goals. And because these smaller goals (short-term goals) are based on bigger ones (medium-range goals)...and because these bigger ones are based on even bigger ones (long-range goals)...and because these biggest goals are based squarely on your values...you have created a logic flow that allows you to pursue your life's goals in a balanced, stable, realistic manner. And with the way that these goals will be developed, it will be a manner that you are in complete control of--which is the essence of effective goal management.

Nobody wants to lead a completely rigid life and this is certainly not the pursuit of setting healthy goals. Nor is it to develop an overwhelming list of what you would like to accomplish in a perfect world--though such a list should be incorporated into your plan. The goal of goal management is to provide you with a road map for you to access should you find yourself "lost" in life. Also, it should be capable of providing you with step-by-step directions that will ensure that the goals that you are striving for are both realistic and obtainable.

It is one thing to want a career, to be a better mother, to be a better wife, to lose weight, to go back to school, to make home improvements, to make personal improvements, to pursue hobbies, etc.; quite another to find the time and energy to accomplish these things in an efficient and fulfilling manner. Realistically, many who create such an overwhelming list have based their goals from a core of emotions. And so the consequences tend to be emotional as well: anxiety, pressure, disappointment, feelings of failure, frustration. Wonderful emotions may be produced as well, but the great majority of people do not succeed in such a goal setting environment and so the negative emotions are by far the most frequent. The goal then, is not to base your goals on emotion, but on something much more stable--your values. And this will not be easy at first, though once you have learned to use your values to set goals, you will wonder why anyone would do it any other way.

Elements of Effective Goal Management
There are certain things that you will need to put into place before embarking on the development of such an extensive task. Some of these you have begun already, some you will need to complete over the next few weeks. When you are done, you will have developed an amazing tool for managing your life, and one that you will no longer have to recreate, but merely update as your values change. This means that you will be asked to do something that will not provide you with much immediate comfort, but rather...you are being asked to invest in a project that will demand more of your time, more of your energy, and this will most likely increase your stress level temporarily. So then, why do it? Because the investment that you make here to develop this 'life plan' will produce significant returns down the road. Not the least of which is to regain a vision of what your life is, and to regain palpable control over that life.

Step #1 Time Management
The first step in learning an effective goal management strategy is to take an inventory of your time. Most people take the reality of time for granted. If asked to account for their time, few could give realistic accounts of how much time they actually spend engaged in many of the mundane routines in their life. In addiction, for example, it is not uncommon for those engaged in twenty or more hours of compulsive behavior each week to report five or less hours--actually believing that they have only spent five or less hours in this activity. It is only when they take a daily inventory of their time when such a realization is discovered. If you are in no hurry, considering creating your own time management log. The results of this log will be used in assessing your value-based activities and goals down the road.

Optional Activity: Time Management Log (I highly recommend this, if you want to get the most out of this lesson).
For the next seven days, keep an inventory of all your actions that require time and energy to complete. This information should be documented on a fifteen minute basis, but YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DOCUMENT EVERY FIFTEEN MINUTES. You should, however, document every few hours to ensure that you obtain an accurate representation of your activities. Also, for major blocks of time spent on the same activity (e.g. sleeping, working), there is no need to document say, "sleeping" every fifteen minutes.
Where people most often struggle is in documenting only general activities--thus negating how this information will be used. Ensure that you document what it was that you were actually doing. Entries such as: "6:00-6:30 Dinner" or "7:00-8:00 Cleaned House" are not going to provide much value. Entries such as: "6:00-6:15 Searched through cupboards to see what to make for dinner. Decided on spaghetti. Out of meat, so ran to store to get some. 6:15-6:30 Returned from store. Browned meat, boiled noodles, set table, served dinner 6:30-6:45 Rounded up family for dinner, sent kids in to wash hands, served drinks, ate dinner 6:45-7:00 cleared table, loaded dishwasher, put away condiments" will provide you with the exact information that you will need in the next stage of goal setting.

As you complete this time management log, you may simultaneously complete the next part of effective goal setting:

Step #2 Prioritizing Your Values
While it is important to recognize your values, it is even more important to identify the priority that each value plays in your life. This is not always easy, as the emotional interpretation of values tend to skew their functional value. In other words, being a good mother (while too general of a value for any real value to be ascertained) has a strong emotional connection to it, paying bills on time tends to have less of an emotional connection. When prioritizing, it would be easy to see that 'being a good mother' might be prioritized higher than 'paying bills', but what happens if those bills aren't paid? You can lose your child's housing, their transportation, your ability to feed them, etc.

Emotionally, 'being a good mother' would be the highest priority; but functionally, it is being responsible that allows you to pursue 'being a good mother'. Given that these two values overlap, you should see that it is not always easy to prioritize them. And, it isn't completely necessary to, either. All that is necessary is that you have a general prioritization in place, for times when value conflicts arise and you are forced to make 'the best' decision given a particular situation.

Activity: Prioritized Values List
The next step of goal setting is to develop a prioritized list of your current values. Effective goal management is about the efficient organization of the resources that you have available. Your greatest resource--your values--is what will be used to identify which goals should take precedence. Therefore, these values will need to be prioritized so that your decision-making can be prioritized. For the most part, you have already done this. In lesson four, you created a list of values that defined the person that you believe yourself to be. You will now be asked to take some time to update/expand this list, and then organize it according to it's meaning in your life.

_________________
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. (Viktor E. Frankl)


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 Post subject: Re: Goals and Stability
PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 9:23 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 3:07 pm
Posts: 5200
Goals and Stability II

As you are reading this, you should have a solid awareness of your time management skills as well as your prioritized values list. You will be using these tools to develop a system of goals that will be both attainable and realistic--two of the more common traps that people encounter. Upon completion of this lesson, you will have gained three important concepts:

1) An understanding of how several life skills integrate to form the core of efficient life management. These skills include value management, prioritization, time management and goal management. They are not the only critical skills to develop, as decision making, accountability and emotional management are also important--as are others. But these four are central for providing you with a structured foundation for day-to-day activity.

2) An understanding of skills that your partner will require in transitioning to a healthy life.

3) An actual tool for you to use in managing your life. When we are finished, you will have developed a list of actual value-based, short-term goals that will allow you to eliminate much of the energy spent trying to 'manage everything'. Which tends to be an exhausting and unfulfilling proposition.

Exercise: Continue your work on the skill development activities begun in the previous lesson

Step #3 Filtering the Time Management log through the Values List
With your values list in hand, review your time management log. As you do, pay particular attention to the role each documented activity plays in promoting your values. If you find that many of the activities that you engage in have little connection to your value system, you will also find that you are most likely experiencing life as a draining, stressful, boring/pressure-filled event. And, most likely, you will recognize patterns of rather significant anxiety, stress and/or other type of mental illness/addiction. Why? Because human nature demands that we replenish our emotional selves. That, when a significant drain to those emotional resources occur, that drain must be replenished through value-based activity. If such value-based activity is not available, or you lack an understanding/internal connection to such values...than addiction, mental illness, stress, anxiety, sociopathology, etc. occur. It's like running a car without the oil, transmission fluid, etc. Eventually, it breaks down.

Activity: As you compare your time management log to your values list, circle each activity that IS NOT associated with your values. Should you discover that several values have been forgotten/taken for granted...add them to your values list now. Then prioritize them.

Remember that your values list is a representation of the things that are important to you. Many people exclude such mundane activities like cleaning the house or doing the laundry as being related to their value system...until they recognize what their life would be like if they didn't do these things: the social isolation/ridicule; health/living environment concerns; financial concerns (e.g. being evicted, house condemned). For most, such mundane tasks are certainly associated with your values, and your recognition of this will help to generate more fulfillment from each activity. If you are like most, you will be amazed at how many activities you take for granted in your life. And because you no longer make the connection with how a behavior such as 'going grocery shopping' or 'picking up the dog poo in the yard' is critical to some of your highest values, you become physically and emotionally drained when too many of these 'mundane tasks' are attempted without some sort of replenishment (e.g. recognition/appreciation from others being the most commonly sought; recognition/appreciation from yourself being the most valuable).
This taking for granted of many of life's tasks is the number one reason why people fail in goal management. Rather than including what it is they ARE doing in their lives, they see goals as what they WANT or NEED to do. This can have a devastating effect on time management and goal completion.

Step #4 Developing Value-Based Long Term Goals
Upon completion of step #3, you should have a complete list of prioritized values (to be altered/re-prioritized at any time). The next step in goal management is to begin the process of setting goals.
To be effective, this will not be easy. In fact, it can be quite the overwhelming task. In the PRIDE Workshop, this is where most people drop out, as they are beginning to feel better about themselves by this skill development area rolls around, and don't feel that such an effort is necessary or 'worth the effort'. They have more important things to do. They don't NEED to do this as goal management doesn't really apply to them. Well, that is the attitude difference between those who make a permanent transition to a healthy life, and those who are most likely headed towards an eventual relapse. The former will do what is necessary, the latter will do what they believe is necessary. This applies to you as well.

No, you don't have to master goal management in order to live a happy, successful fulfilling life. But those who do will find themselves in a much more stable environment for healing and/or recovery to occur. And, it will happen much faster. A permanent transition requires the implementation of these life skills, just as the healing process requires your ability to regain control and stability in your life. The structure for your stability is found in the exact life management skills that your partner must also learn--which is one of the reasons why partners who work through the issues of sexual addiction can often develop a much healthier, fulfilling relationship than had ever been experienced prior.

Activity: Long-Term Goals
I. Take some time to brainstorm at least ten realistic, long-term goals that you would like to pursue in your life. This should take you about an hour or so, as it is important to really give them some thought. Hopefully, you will come up with twenty...thirty...or more--as this list will provide the foundation for mastering the skill of goal management.

II. Upon completion of this list, review each goal to ensure that it is value based. That is, that the underlying value(s) are found on your values list. For each goal that is not based on a listed value, either cross it off or add the appropriate values to your list. In other words, if you have a goal that reads, "I will paint the house by August." And you look at your values list and can find no values that would support such a goal, eliminate it as a goal. If, on the other hand, you recognize that living in a clean, healthy home is important to you, but not yet on your values list...then add it.

III. With only value based goals remaining, you will now want to prioritize them. Do this by associating each goal with the highest value(s) on your list. If you value your child's development over your career, for instance, then the goal relating to "I will work with my child to prepare him/her for high school" will take a higher precedent than "I will return to school to get my Masters."
Prioritizing is not an easy task with goals that interact with complex values (i.e. values that are interrelated; values that conflict). Keep in mind that you should be identifying generalities, rather than absolutes. Mentally debating whether a goal should be listed as #2 or #3 is meaningless. Recognizing that goal #2 will generally take precedent over goal #12 is not.

IV. The final task in determining your long-term goals is to reduce those goals to three. "THREE? That's Impossible!" For a healthy life, you might be correct. But you are not being asked to limit yourself to pursuing no more than three long term goals at a time. Instead, you are going to use your three most important long-term goals to develop a realistic plan to achieve success. Once this plan has been developed, we will return to the Time Management log and, realistic time permitting, will add more goals as necessary.

Step #5 Developing intermediate Goals
For each of the three long-term goals selected, you will now develop them so that you will be left with the exact process to be followed in order to achieve success. In order for this to occur, each medium and short term goal will need to meet the following criteria:

First, each goal must be specific. Selecting goals that are too general will not provide the guidance that is so valuable in recovery. "I want to rebuild my marriage." is an example of a general goal that provides little value to you. A more specific goal would be, "I will attend marriage counseling with my spouse for the next six months." Long-term goals can be of a more general nature; medium and short term goals must be specific to be effective.

Second, and this goes hand in hand with each goal being specific, is that each must also be measurable. You must be able to tell when a goal has been achieved. An example of a goal that cannot be measured: "I will do whatever it takes to feel better about myself." An example of a measurable goal: "I will wake up fifteen minutes earlier each morning to meditate."

Third, a goal should be stated in a positive way. It is a fact that you are more likely to succeed in reaching a goal when it is positive, then when it is negative. For the most part, goals that have "I will not..." or "...have no..." are negative goals. They focus on your avoiding or "not doing" something. In almost all cases, these goals can be easily restated into the positive. Example: "I will not secretly spy on my husband." can be changed to "I will engage only in the accountability behaviors that have been agreed upon through our mutual boundaries." Same meaning, but one is positively stated, the other negatively. This particular goal is, of course, dependent on you having developed healthy relationship boundaries that you are both comfortable with--but more on that later in the workshop.

Fourth, all long-term goals should be important to you. You will be the one faced with achieving these goals, and to set goals that you really aren't interested in will be to guarantee your failure. This is why we begin by solidifying a list of prioritized values. Recovery is a good example of this. Many people set a goal of 'recovering from their addiction', but have no real desire to recover. Instead, they pursue such a goal in order to limit the consequences of their acting out, or to put up a smoke screen to divert the attention/responsibility away from what they have done. Each one of your long-term goals must be important to you, and something that you are willing to put forth a genuine effort to achieve. Having a long-term goal of running a marathon--when you can't stand to exercise is to again, guarantee failure.[/list]

Activity: Intermediate Goals
I. For each of the three long-range goals selected, develop a series of intermediate goals that will help you achieve this goal. Each of these intermediate goals should measurable and specific. The time frame for completion is arbitrary, but it will most often exists from one month to one year. How many intermediate goals should you create? That will depend on the long-term goal in question...but in all cases, fewer than three will be insufficient. Example:

Long Term Goal:
"I will take my family on an extended vacation to Yellowstone this summer."
Intermediate Goals:
"I will raise an additional $1,500 over the next three months."
"I will increase my physical endurance to the point of being able to walk ten miles effortlessly by July 1st."
"By June 15th, I will develop and implement a trip plan that will include the registering, gathering and planning of all major travel arrangements, scheduled activities, lodging and necessary supplies."

Step #6 Developing Short-Term Goals
If you are like 99% of the people in this world, your reliance on general, intermediate goals will not be sufficient to assist you in managing your life. Instead, such an accumulation of goals can be completely overwhelming--leading to a lifestyle of always feeling stressed or 'playing catch-up'. The need then, is to split up each intermediate goal into smaller, more manageable parts. You have heard this before, I'm sure. But have you ever taken the time to visualize how such an approach would be implemented in your day-to-day life? Most don't. Most look upon such short-term goals as nothing more than a "to-do" list that keeps the pressure on. And when they fail to compete what is on the list, they have failed. And when the failures continue to mount, they then consider themselves failures. Unable to manage their lives. Unable to organize their lives.

"But I am already organized..."

If you already possess the skills to organize/manage your life, then ask yourself this, "How can I use these skills to help stabilize my life now?" If you are unsure of the answer, then continue on with this lesson.

Activity: Developing Short-Term Goals
Objective: For each intermediate goal, develop a series of specific, measurable short-term goals that will lead to the successful completion of that intermediate goal. For example:

Long Term Goal:
"I will take my family on an extended vacation to Yellowstone this summer."

Intermediate Goal #1:
"I will raise an additional $1,500 over the next three months to finance the trip."

Short-Term Goals:
#1.1 I will work five hours of overtime each week for the next three months.
#1.2 I will place an add in the Thrifty Nickel to sell the items we no longer use.
#1.3 I will reduce our monthly budget for activities by $50 over the next three months .
#1.4 I will ask my boss for a raise on the first of the month.

Intermediate Goal #2:
"To assist in hiking enjoyment, I will increase my physical endurance to the point of being able to walk ten miles per day by July 1st."

Short-Term Goals:
#2.1 From May 1st through May 31st, I will walk four miles a day, a minimum of four days each week.
#2.2 From June 1st through June 14th, I will walk seven miles a day, a minimum of three days each week.
#2.3 From June 15th through June 30th, I will walk ten miles a day, a minimum of two days each week.

Intermediate Goal #3:
"By June 15th, I will develop and implement a trip plan that will include the registering, gathering and planning of all major travel arrangements, scheduled activities, lodging and necessary supplies."

Short-Term Goals:
#3.1 By May 10th, I will have made reservations for camping at Yellowstone.
#3.2 By May 15th, I will have printed out a map of the route to and from Yellowstone--including maps to all scheduled destinations along the way.
#3.3 By May 10th, I will have researched additional attractions and activities that we may participate in and will have made reservations for each as required.
#3.4 By May 15th, I will have inspected all camping supplies and will make a list of new necessary supplies.
#3.5 On May 15th, I will review the progress made towards these goals and will revise as necessary.
In the example above, please note the following:
All goals are measurable and specific. I will know exactly when and if they are completed.
All of the goals are within my control. This is key. For instance, under goal #1.4, my original intention was to put, "I will receive a raise by June 1st." That is beyond my control...and therefore, is not an effective goal. "I will ask my boss for a raise..." is. This is a skill that you will want to pay particular attention to when developing relationship goals involving accountability. You setting goals for your partner's behavior are not effective. You setting goals for how you respond to your partner's behavior are.
Goal #3.5 is a common short-term goal that allows you to reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed by a particular event/activity/project. Some activities are so complex, that they might require hundreds of short-term goals in order to complete. And while you could map out each short term goal that will lead you to that completion, that is not always reasonable...or possible--as you cannot always take into account what the future holds. The answer is to select the most important intermediate goals and map out a successful completion to each. Upon review, if these goals have been completed, then you will add the next most important, etc.

Summary of Goal Development
The 'goal' of this section was not to teach you the skill of goal setting, but to show you the connection between goal management and several other critical life skills. By taking this information and integrating it into your life, you will begin to organize your life in small, manageable, controllable steps. Because each of the smaller steps are founded in your value system, the successful completion of each will be capable of providing you with emotional stability and fulfillment.

Step #7 Time Management
If you have completed the steps as outlined, you should now have a series of short-term steps to focus your attention on. This means that all of the complex issues no longer need your constant attention. This means that once you have created intermediate goals to successfully achieve your long term goals...your long term goals can be set aside. Once you have developed short term goals that will meet your intermediate goals...those intermediate goals can be set aside. This leaves you with only short-term goals that are based on your value system.

Most likely, there will be A LOT of steps...which may be good in a learning environment, but not in reality. In reality, you simply must have the time and energy to complete the tasks that are at hand.

Activity: Prioritizing the Current Short-Term Goals through the Time Management Log
The final step in this process is to take each short-term goal and place it within your Time Management log. If you have completed the previous activities successfully, you should not be able to do this. If you can, you are either setting yourself up for failure or you did not to a good job of identifying your goals. Instead, you will need to prioritize which short-term goals should remain on your current list, and which should be placed on hold until you have the time and/or energy to complete them.
Conclusion: There are several other skills that will be developed as a result of the work you have accomplished over the past two lessons. Towards the end of the workshop, you will complete the last lesson on Goal Management which will cover personal accountability, reviewing/revising goals and establishing emotional balance through goal progression.

_________________
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. (Viktor E. Frankl)


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