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Goal setting

By setting clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in the achievement of those goals. You can see forward progress in what might previously have seemed a long pointless grind.

The six steps below were gleaned from Messies 2 by Sandra Felton.

Six steps to accomplishing what you want

  1. Decide exactly what you want.
    • Do some creative daydreaming - how do you want your house to look? Be specific.
  2. Decide what you will do to get it.
    • Decide what you are willing to give (or give up) in order to get it.
  3. Set a time limit.
    • Put a date on when your goal will be accomplished. Be realistic! We are probably talking in terms of months here.
  4. Make a plan.
    • Decide exactly how you will accomplish your goal. Begin right away, whether you think you are ready or not.
  5. Make the above steps definite by writing them down.
    • Write your goal on a piece of paper and then put it in a definite place and keep it there - not floating about the house.
  6. Read aloud the statement you have just written, twice a day.
    • Read it when you get up in the morning and when you go to bed. Form a mental picture as you read. The more focused you are on your goals the more likely you are to achieve them.

Further goal resources:

Life Strategies Dr Philip C McGraw , Hyperion Jan 2000

Joe's Goals A goal tracking website

Alice: Which road do I take?

Cheshire Cat: Where do you want to go?

Alice: I don't know.

Cheshire Cat: Then... it doesn't matter.
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Good goal guidelines

Be positive. For example, "I am going to wash the dishes after every meal" rather than "I will not let the dishes pile up."

Set performance, not outcome goals. This is very important. You should set goals over which you have as much control as possible. Goals based on outcomes are prone to failure due to events beyond your control.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Chinese proverb

Believe in yourself

Sometimes people hesitate to set goals because they don't really believe in themselves. The chatter inside their head is full of self-doubt. One of our members used the technique of writing a letter to her own self-doubt... effectively borrowing Donald Trump's signature line, "You're fired!" Ten short days after writing this letter, she was hired for a job that was better than the one for which she was interviewing... because she could assume a confident air and say, "I can do that!" Her letter to Self-Doubt appears below:

forest trail

Exploring another part of the forest.
Photo courtesy of Script.

Dear Self Doubt,

You are the one who has always, always been there for me. You taught me sooo much. However, the time has come for us to say goodbye. I will miss your gentle whispers of, "don't try this, you don't want to fail". I know you had my best interests at heart. All those years you encouraged me not to lose weight, (in fact, to keep gaining more). I know you just didn't want anyone to love me, because there's always a possibility that they could leave me. And that would be painful. I appreciate how you've always convinced me that I'm just not good enough, or just not worth my dreams coming true, because had I tried to pursue some of those dreams? You're right, I may have never made it. Oh, and don't forget the way you engrained in me to not set goals? To build a big wall around myself, to protect me from the world? The way you taught me to always give up when things get rough? Well, you just didn't want me wasting precious sweat, energy or emotion, right?

I've met a new friend, who I've just become acquainted with. Someone I wish you could meet, but I know the two of you will not get along. So, in order for me to get to know this new friend, I have to let you go and say goodbye. I'm sure you'll miss me, but time will heal, and I'm sure you'll find someone new very soon. I will miss you too! I've grown so accustomed to your voice. But we, alas, must part.


My new friend's name is Self Confidence. It's a longer name than yours. I'll get used to saying it, though. She is already trying to tell me to pursue those dreams, crazy ones and simple ones. Who cares if they don't all go exactly how I want? She says it could be fun to just try. Oh, and unlike you, she says that I really am worth having a nice home with nice things. And also, that I am worth loving! Wow, this new idea will really take some getting used to. Like I said, I do not know her that well yet. So, I'm not sure of all that's in our future! But I'm really looking forward to learning new things as we grow closer! Maybe I'll even meet her other friends such as, Joy, Happiness, Fun, Peace, Serenity, Pride, I'm not sure of all their names. But I think there are others too. She has lots of friends!

Again, Self Doubt, GOOD-BYE!!!


Dealing with setbacks

Goals may be written down, but they are not set in stone. Sometimes it is necessary to revise a goal as circumstances warrant. If you need to change a goal do not consider it a failure, consider it a victory as you had the insight to realize something was different.


I received an email once, about a man who found a cocoon that a caterpillar had created. He waited, and eventually he saw the butterfly try to emerge from its cocoon. The butterfly struggled and struggled, got only so far out of its cocoon, and then stopped. It seemed like the butterfly could do no more. The man thought it might be stuck, so he got a pair of scissors to 'help' the butterfly. He cut the cocoon and the butterfly emerged...to his surprise, it was all shrivelly body, and no colorful wings. Its wings were all shriveled up and black, useless, colorless. It never could fly.

You see, it was only the hard struggle to emerge from its cocoon that would force the fluids from its body into its wings, making them large and colorful and useful...a beautiful creation, ready to fly once its struggle was over.

I think we, as squalorers, are like that.

We create these cocoons around ourselves, and we hide within them, away from everything, grounded in our tightly wound hiding places we've made. However, at some point, we decide that we need to emerge from these cocoons...so we slowly, slowly, ever so slowly, begin working our way out. We struggle and struggle, and may even wish for something to happen to make our struggle 'easy'. However, it is only through the struggle that we then force our inner souls out of ourselves and into our wings, so they can become large and colorful...so we can fly...unemcumbered by our cocoons, unloosed from our bonds and weights...beautiful butterflies...free.

It's no coincidence that the logo of the site contains....a butterfly.