Monday, March 1, 2010

What is this Ten-Weeks Goals You Mentioned?

by Chris McGinty

I would imagine that as this Daily Blog progresses there will be a number of references to our Ten-Weeks Goals. I should write up a quick explanation of what these are. This way when we mention them, we can just link it to this explanation.

I believe that people fail on New Year’s resolutions for two reasons. The first is that it’s a trite tradition that is simply lost on those who aren’t goal setters. It’s one of those things that we do as a society without much thought as to why. What ends up happening is the average person just picks their worst habit, and resolves to quit doing it. In 2010, I’m going to stop pissing on Nathan’s shower curtain every time he wins at Net Runner. The problem is that this kind of thing never lasts long.

The second is follow-through. [Lord] Brian Tracy talked about the fact that if you write down a list of goals for the next year, and then put the list away that you’ll be surprised by how much you’ve accomplished from that list. He goes on to say that if you wrote your goals each day, it would turn your brain to meeting these objectives.

The idea for the Ten-Weeks came from a few thoughts. The first is that I would work eight hours a day five days a week, you know on those rare instances when I had only one job. But I’d rarely ever heard of people spending that kind of time on their own self. I set out to do just that. The early incarnation of this was to list 16 items each day that were about 30 minutes each in execution. Some would be shorter to make up for those that ran long. At the time I was only working one evening job and home with the childrens during the day. My list would include reading, writing, and housework-matic.

I’ve rarely managed to do all 16 items consistently for more than a day or two. I’m not sure what to say about this. I’ve theorized that it would be better to set aside eight hours each day and have items that I’m allowed to work on. I believe that this has to include some goal-based things as well as some recreational stuff. We’re talking about eight hours of self time after all, some fun stuff has to be in there somewhere.

The Ten-Weeks Goals were the result of taking a lot of these thoughts and using the idea of resolutions (or goals) but more frequently and less arbitrarily than once a year some where around January first. The smallest standard sized notebook is 70 pages, and that’s ten weeks if you list the days one per notebook page. There are 52 weeks in a year. If you start on the Monday whatever week January 1 falls, you will have five ten-week periods and two weeks off around Christmas. This year it falls like so:

Ten Weeks #1: December 28, 2009 to March 7, 2010
Ten Weeks #2: March 8, 2010 to May16, 2010
Ten Weeks #3: May 17, 2010 to July 25, 2010
Ten Weeks #4: July 26, 2010 to October 3, 2010
Ten Weeks #5: October 4, 2010 to December 12, 2010
Holiday Times: December 13, 2010 to December 26, 2010
Next Year Starts: December 27, 2010

The idea is that you make a list of what you’d like to accomplish in roughly two and a half months, and then you break those down into what would be required per week. It’s suggested that you are realistic about what you will do. No need to list eight hours of work daily if you have no chance of completing it. Start small. Set aside an extra hour or two for your goals and see what you can do in that time. Maybe you can move it up a bit.

My suggestion is to only plan about half of whatever allotted time you are using, so that as unexpected activities come up you can fill in the blanks. I set myself to so much writing each day (about three hours) and so much reading a day (varies.) Beyond that I try to keep items open for goals that aren’t ongoing, and anything I need to do in life like filing my taxes or paying my cell phone… sorry, trying to remember if I’ve done those. Yeah, I’m good.

Ideally, one would have most of their notebook filled out prior to the start of the Ten Weeks. The reason would be to fill in important dates like you would your calendar; when there are birthdays, when there are concerts you’d like to go to, and when your bills are due. Next would be to fill in the for sure activities for each day. Plan to write six pages a day, list them. Plan to read a specific book on a specific week, list each chapter or specific pages to make sure you get it done. Plan to shoot the first episode of Season Three over ten weeks time, well then, you need to have three minutes of usable footage done each Thursday meeting. List it.

From there it’s just a question of adjusting your goals both weekly and daily to account for not just setbacks, but things that proved easier. The most important thing about this system is to literally use your notebook to track everything, and to look at it multiple times a day. For ten-weeks, this notebook keeps track of your life, with your help of course. My biggest issue is not filling it out in advance, and not looking at it daily. I have one week until the new ten-weeks begins. Perhaps I should get started.

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