This Shabbat I had a beautiful dinner with my family. We were 17 people (and a baby) and it was so nice to have everyone together.
I started my food prep early and was on a roll all day. Everything was just about ready as people started to arrive, just as I was getting closer to candle lighting. I will often take advantage of the “18 minutes”, the window between the stated candle lighting time and the “actual” time of sunset.
I usually feel like there is something magical in that time. I have read many things about how special it is to bring Shabbat in on time or even early, but I feel like the 18-minutes were meant for me. They are the time that phone calls stop, no more emails, no more outside world. It’s just about me getting things together and getting ready for the quiet to settle.
Checking off the last few things on my list before I light the candles.
In all the excitement, this Shabbat, I missed the boat. I had seen the clock as Shabbat started, calculated my 18-minutes, and then lost track of the clock.
All Shabbat, I stared at my unlit candles and thought about how sad it was that there were no candles lit in my home this week.
There is some lesson here about doing the important things as soon as we remember them. Not putting things off.
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Planning isn’t the same as doing
I am a list maker. I am a planner. I am a dreamer.
All good things, right?
What about execution? Not my strong suit.
Do you also have trouble getting to your goals? Are you your own worst enemy?
How can I set my goals?
Here are 3 things that you can start doing today that will help you reach your goals:
1. Write them down.
When we write things down we feel more accountable to ourselves. It’s like list-making. You want to get things checked off the list. Once something is written down it becomes a bit more real.
2. Share them with a friend.
The only things more powerful than writing something down to make it real is to voice it to another person. We all want to be able to be successful, and often, sharing our goals with someone we trust, someone who encourages us, will help us feel that we are accountable to them too. For those of us who are not as self-motivated, having someone else who knows of our plan will give us the push to want to show them that we can accomplish what we set up to do. If we won’t do it for ourselves, maybe we’ll do it for those who love us and believe in us.
You shared your goal with your friend, now set up a weekly call (you probably speak to them regularly anyway) to see what worked and what didn’t in the last week, and discuss what you plan to get down toward your big goal in the coming week. The consistency of the check-in means that they don’t have to take up an hour — just a few minutes, and they will make you feel like you have a focus to your week.
Why is setting big goals important?
Part of our challenge in putting ourselves first is setting those big goals. Remember, your big goals are not what’s on your weekly task list. They are your dreams, your ambitions. They are the things that scare you to say out loud because you think people will laugh at you. They are the things that make you want to wake up in the morning and jump out of bed to get started.
Use these scary goals as your 5-year goals. Make them the goals that you think are outrageous but will get you to your ultimate dream.
Now work backwards
Think of 5 things that you imagine would happen to get you to the finish line. These may seem a bit outrageous to you too.
Pick one of those.
What 5 things would you have to do THIS YEAR to make that 1 goal happen?
Now, pick one of those 5 things and think about what you would have to do THIS MONTH to make THAT goal happen?
What would you have to do each of the weeks of this month to get closer to that goal?
It’s not so unbelievable anymore
Now, the hardest part for most of us… Who can you ask for help to get you closer to your goal?
I have been using the Momentum Planner for a few years. I started off with their set of free planner worksheets, that you can download to help you get your ideas down on paper. I usually purchase the full package, as it also gives me quarterly and yearly planning pages, but I started out with the free pages to get the feel for the system and make sure that it worked for me.
Don’t forget to scare yourself a little. You won’t get where you want to go if you don’t.
And when it’s time to light the candles, don’t get distracted by something else. Go light the candles.