The Goal Thwarters

goal thwartersI know I need to do a little housekeeping in my life so I get things done that need done, waste less time, and find more peace. I’ve been talking about that for a while. This week I listened to a podcast or two and read some ebooks, and I sat down and made a list. I love lists. Anyway, I wrote one list, then two, and then I made a whole big mess of them. But these aren’t lists of things I need to do. Those are easy to write and impossible to follow.

This time, I made¬†lists of why I don’t do what I want/need to do. The goal thwarters. And I found this to be an amazing, eye opening exercise that I hope will help me actually achieve something.

If you don’t remember or never read my blogs before, know that I’m not an organized person. And for the most part, that works for me. However, I’ve been letting my spiritual walk with God slide because of that lack. Also, I want to sell more fiction, which means a marketing and writing plan. So, now that summer is here and I have fewer timed events, I’m going to tackle a few routines and schedules. Not enough to make me feel trapped and weighed down, but enough that I accomplish things I need to do.

Back to my goal thwarting list. First, I wrote down things I really want to do in my days. Not every day, but what should be included in my life. Things like exercise, time with my husband, cleaning house, walking the dogs, writing, marketing. Then the biggies–Bible reading, prayer/spiritual disciplines, Bible studies. I also included service, friendships, and time for me: reading, pottery.

When I wrote them all out, I noticed they fit into some categories. Physical life (exercise, house cleaning, etc.), relationships, vocation (all things writing), spirit care, just for me, and service, which seemed to have no category.

Now that I had them, I wrote down why I didn’t do these things. Here I was brutally honest. For instance, money is an issue in my garden. Lack of common ground and laziness plague time with my husband. Boredom and lack of routine hinder exercise and, honestly, Bible reading, at least sometimes. Anxiety plagues relationships, Bible study groups, marketing, and service. Energy and blood sugar issues plague all the physical things. And so on and so forth.

After this, I had a big mess on my hands, so I had to visualize this better. Here is where I dug into my technological bag of tricks. I have a software called Scapple which lets me make notes and connections. Some call it mind mapping. I use it all the time to brainstorm book ideas. I put everything on there and it looked something like this:

goal thwarters scapple

Now, the plan is simple. (HA!) Okay, the idea is simple. I have some categories to tackle. Some are easier than others. Since I’m decluttering, maybe I can tackle everything that needs a space. Or I can look at my days and set some routines.

Some aren’t so easy. I haven’t figured out the anxiety in groups issue, even though I know I need groups of people for Bible study and friendship. I can’t figure out where money might appear for marketing. But it helps to know what’s slowing me down.

I’ve discovered nobody’s methods of organization, simplification, and time management work for everyone. And they never seem to work for me. So, now I have some ideas that might work because I made them. This week I’m going to tackle some of the goal thwarters and get one or two areas under control. Or I’ll start to get them under control. Maybe I’ll choose a new spiritual discipline. Or find space for my spirit care. Maybe I’ll get an exercise routine. And we’ll see what happens after that.

If you’re worlds ahead of me and have great routines in place and an organized life, I’d love to know how you did it. Go ahead and comment and share with the class. Those of us here in Remedial Organizational Skills need¬†all the help we can get!


I don’t get paid by the Scapple people to recommend their software, but I wanted to add the link because I like it and it isn’t expensive. And I don’t lose my laptop like I lose brainstormed lists written on the backs of envelopes: Scapple

One thought on “The Goal Thwarters

  1. Jill, this is a really good idea. I’ve never looked at my goals in this way and I think it would probably help me move forward even if it’s in the realm of self-awareness. I think I’m going to try.


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