Expat · Writing

Setting goals (and lessons learned)

balloon-guy
Thae Pha Road, Chiang Mai, 2013

September is finally here! I’ve been waiting for this month because I will have a lot of time off. Serendipitously, I saw Jodie’s post on “What are your goals for September?” and it really got me thinking about what I need to focus on this month. It’s a big month, too.

For starters, it’s moving month. I have to find a new place to live. I won’t get into the dirty laundry list details yet, as I’m debating how much to share on my blog. I think the information is useful, but I’d rather wait-and-see. This is definitely a case where waiting on my haunches will be better than starting a pep rally.

Nevertheless, I’m truly looking forward to finding a new home. Please wish me luck!

Another goal I’d like to tackle is finishing the recording of my first book {the missing teacher}. It’s been a lesson in trial and error, but that’s okay. What I’ve learned to do is: 1) record myself, allowing for mistakes and starting over without turning off the recorder, 2) Listen to it later using VLC. Usually, I work on something else while I listen, like I would with music. I’m listening for mistakes so I know where to cut it. 3) Finally, I edit using a free software called Audacity.

Before, I would listen and try to edit at the same time and it made the process unenjoyable. I ended up doing a sloppy joe job and not really listening. By breaking down the steps, I can now enjoy listening to the recording, multitask and worry about the clean up later. I liken it to editing your writing while you are writing. You can do it, but I don’t think you’re allowing yourself to put your best work forward and relish your words.

And since September is vacation time, I want to remember to have fun (!) especially during this month where looking for a new home and moving can be a stress-parade if I let it. So far, I’ve been having a good time exploring Chiang Rai and I want to remember to breathe.

I hope these goals aren’t too big and too much. This will be the first time I’ve officially written out monthly goals. Recently, I’ve been working with daily goals and these have been going well. Setting up a “to do” list definitely helps me focus and provides a framework for the day. I find yearly goals to be too daunting and easily forgotten. They almost seem too lofty and unrealistic because you have these grand ideas, but I think a smaller set of breakdowns works better – at least for me.

What about you? Are you a goal-setter? How do you set goals? Thanks!

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30 thoughts on “Setting goals (and lessons learned)

  1. I love Audacity. I remember using it when I was volunteering in community radio to make radio shows, then moved onto the fancier Adobe Audition. Sounds like you know what you want to achieve during your time off. Just remember to get out of bed 😉

    I do keep a list of things to-do and look at it every now and then. Often things or other opportunities come up and sometimes they seem fun to pursue. I love the feeling you get when you look back at to-do lists and realise you have already done it 🙂

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    1. I have Adobe Audition, too, but I couldn’t tell the difference as far as quality between the two. So, I think I’m letting my trial period of Adobe run out. Audacity does the job just fine, and it’s FREE! I love free software!

      Yes, since I’ve started daily lists, I have noticed that I have done things already. It’s a good feeling indeed.

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      1. That’s true. If you’re not a audio-phile, Audacity will do the trick for audio-editing. Plus, Audacity is much smaller in size and chances of it crashing or freezing your computer is much smaller compared to Adobe Audition.

        It’s good to tick things off our lists. But the most important thing is to have fun 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes! I did experience hangups with Adobe. I knew there was something that bothered me about it.

        Here’s to having fun!

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  2. It’s always good to have goals. I’m setting up goals, too (lists I won’t probably share until I’ve done them, tee hee) — one list will be for maybe an activity-filled day next week, and another that’s bigger and will take months.

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    1. Let us know how it goes. I find this topic fascinating. I like to hear from the big achievers, too. So I head over to those blogs to see what works for them. I think these days we have too many distractions and if we don’t focus then life will slip on by and we’ll wonder where our time went. I don’t want that to happen to me!

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      1. Yeah. I’ve started keeping a notebook again. This time, it’s not just for writing down stories, articles and ideas, but an all-around-notebook for the more regular stuff that I need to focus on — budgeting, things to do, etc.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Best of luck on finding a new place! That can be so stressful, but I’m sure it’s good to have it happen when you also have time off.

    Also, you just keep tantalizing us with your book, don’t you. 😉

    I used to set goals all the time, and most of the time I’d do them. I set daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, five yearly….all kinds of goals. I was so obsessed. I’ve backed off a little because I realize that goals can be a big source of stress for me when I over goal myself. I actually revamped how I do things, which I’m still mulling over for a blog post, but let’s just say I’ve taken loads of pressure of now. I still love making big goals, but they’re things I know I can accomplish. Never hurts to feed a sense of success.

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    1. I like your new term “over goal”, I’m going to have to use it! 🙂 Yeah, there is that dark side, isn’t there? I think I felt that way about yearly goals. I’d look back and feel depressed that I didn’t get to do something or something took longer than I thought it would.

      That is why I like daily goals, they are manageable and very bite-sized! And the month, well, it lights a little fire under me and helps me think about what I want out of my time off this month.

      Thanks for the good luck wishes. I’ll take it!

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  4. I have a small to do list that are my daily goals, but I actually don’t have any longer term goals at the moment. I have desires, but they are all just dreams at this point. No real planning yet. 🙂 have a great September and good luck on a place. 🙂

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      1. All is good, just back from a 3 week trip in Sri Lanka and jumped right back into teaching so it’s been a bit slow going getting back on here!
        Time is going so quickly at the moment!! 🙂

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  5. I found this great blog thanks to Mabel’s latest article.
    For me September is also a moving month and I have partly the same goals as you (though no holiday as I am more looking forward to end my long unemployment/ holiday by finding a new job in the new country). My September is full of ideas, hopes and goals and if I can finish at least 20% of all this it is already a huge success

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    1. Thanks for finding me. Mabel’s a great blogger!

      Good luck with the move and finding a new job. You’ve really got the big ones lined up, but the possibilities are nice to think about, too.

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    1. It’s just the link to my other blog. I’m not sure why it didn’t work! Hurmp! I tweaked it so maybe it will work now. Yeah, I finished my first book with edits and all. What a lot of work!

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      1. Ah, and I see you have chapters on the other site. The kids start school next week, so I may actually have some time to read! Have been home with kids for almost six years. I am giddy.

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      2. Don’t read it yet! I’m so embarrassed by all the mistakes. I can send you an e-copy if you really want.

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  6. You know, I never thought of setting goals …for each month of my life. I’m not that organized. 😀

    Sheer reality of my job …I have deliver a group training session for employees this wk. which I know will raise a ruckus among them because it means some business changes for them.

    The month is half over and already I’ve visited my father (who has cancer), mother and siblings, good friends I haven’t seen over past 12 months, bikes around a city (Toronto) where I used to live over a decade ago, etc.

    Let’s see attend some public cycling intrastructure sessions, do more bike riding, enjoy farmers’ markets and food-buying (snow is comin’. etc.)… I don’t consider these goals. Just life stuff I need / enjoy doing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you are one of those self-motivated types because I can relate to what you have said. I usually don’t write goals down because I have these things I want to do and then I do it. But because this is such a meaty month, and I have time off, it was a good idea for me to see what I could do. And I can tell you already, I was too ambitious, but the month is not over yet!

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