Monday, January 4, 2010


I think the New Year is a good time to set goals. I find goals to be especially important because otherwise I feel scattered and lack focus. There has always been too many things I want/need to do at once, and while I usually am relatively successful, I always know in my heart that I could have done better if I had fewer balls in the air.

I do not say that because I am beating myself up -- most of my multi-tasking has been both necessary and successful -- but rather as a way to introduce my theme for 2010 -- excellence. I now have the opportunity and I think -- privilege -- to truly focus on things that matter to me, and to do them even better.

I no longer need to manage ten things at once -- I have been blessed with what seems to me to be a simpler, less complicated life. It may not seem that way to anyone else, but this life in Montana is the least complicated and busy that I have experienced. And so my overall goal for 2010 is to only include things in my life that are essential (to me), and to do those things as well as I can.

Since I decided on a theme for the year, I have been reflecting on how to further de-clutter my life -- not physically, but in terms of work, relationships, activities, emotions, and so on. By taking stock and making choices about what stays and what goes, I will better support my goal of doing things very well this year.

You do not need all the boring details, I know, but I have spent a couple of weeks reflecting and although I was a few days late, I finally sat down and set the specific goals for 2010. My work goals have to do with continuing with what is going well, and to really focus on two data sets I have -- one is about 500 questionnaires from bereaved parents, and the other involves an evaluation of a pediatric palliative care program that I am working on with my good friend, Joan (Rainey and Bella's mom).

I have personal, relationship, and spiritual goals as well -- all articulated after careful thought about excellence and practicality -- a goal to fly to the moon is interesting but not very realistic :) I don't think goals should be failure set-ups, and so I tried to make mine realistic but I also see them as a journey, and so as long as one is making progress there is success. But a journey without a map can get pretty circular -- I prefer not to be dizzy and so like to have a destination in mind!

I mentioned the categories of work goals, and that I have goals in other areas; all are written down in a place that I can refer to easily. This Blog is primarily based on what we do and learn from our dogs, and so because of that, I share my specific dog goals. I have divided the year in half, and so these goals reflect what I want to accomplish between now and June 30.

Goals – First Half of 2010 (through June 30)

1. I will show Halo in utility

2. Halo will earn legs towards advanced draft titles

3. Cadi will earn the following titles: CD, OAJ, AX, AXJ, BDD

4. Cadi will earn some MACH points (even one would be great :)

5. Cadi and Asia will be entered in at least one TDX test

6. Asia will earn the following titles: CD, BNDD, and her Working Dog award.

7. Zoey will earn her CH

8. Sydney will earn her TD

I did not include obvious goals about keeping everyone healthy -- things that I already do as well as I can do not need to be a goal. Rather, it seems to me that a goal ought to provide direction and motivation for things that are not yet accomplished, but that we wish were true.

I made a checklist of the half-year dog goals, and it is on the frig. There are 15 little boxes to be checked off as I achieve a goal. In the darkness of winter (real or in our souls), it is good to look ahead with hope and optimism about what is possible.

I hope that you have set a course for yourself, and shared it with others because that apparently helps us stay on track -- thanks for letting me share with you :)

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