Moving Goals Forward

Are your goals stalled? Are you determined to get all your projects defined and prioritized? Do you want a shove?

Well, this isn’t it. I’m in the same boat as all of you. I am a productivity, motivation, time-management, fast-charging, organized wannabe junkie. Surprised? Probably not.

I have been all of these things at different times in my life, for specific periods. But like most people, I sometimes have a hard time tieing it all together.


Goals are just vague wishes if they are not written down and clarified. I’ve written on this subject for years on Business Unusual and Motivation on the Run (both taken down). There are SMART goals and SMARTER goals. Guess what? It doesn’t matter what your goals are, as long as you have them.

SMART was the standard for decades. I first defined SMARTER goals back in March of 2006. Now, everyone has an acronym for SMARTER. Most are revisions of earlier editions with a few minor updates.

Here are mine.

S = Specific

M = Measurable

A = Achievable

R = Realistic

T = Time based

E = Enthusiasm

R = Reward

SMARTER Goals … Spread it Around

Listening to a recent podcast by Joanna Penn, Tara McMullins said a few things that got me thinking.

I see goals and process as being two sides of the same coin. You can’t have goals without process, and process without goals is just busy work, right? And that’s one of the reasons we resist process so much is that it’s not connected to goals that we care about.

One thing I’ve learned from the brilliant Natasha Vorompiova, who is a systems wizard, is that systems are not created, they are recognized and documented.

Stop and go back and read that again. Slowly. What is your take on those statements? Could the difficult task of accomplishing goals come down to recognizing, documenting, and implementing better processes?


As is said many times, productivity is not getting a lot of stuff done; it is getting the right things done. I can’t tell you how often I look up at the end of the day and see that I’ve gotten a lot of stuff done, but didn’t push a single goal forward. I’ll bet you’ve experienced the same issue.

It is frustrating but inevitable. It will happen no matter your to-do list, your goal list, or what program or notebook you use. It will happen.

So what. Do you quit and give up. Of course not. Life happens over and over again. We can’t stop it from diverting our attention regularly, but eventually, we must get back on track.

Go back, look at our goals, make sure we have projects defined for each goal and next action. If not, how are you supposed to know how to push your life forward?


What is motivation? It is tough to define and even harder to come by. Motivation comes from the inside. I’ve received some negative feedback on this, but I can not give you motivation. ONLY you can motivate yourself.

I can encourage you. I can offer to brainstorm ideas, goals, or projects, but that is not motivation.

I can threaten you if I have that power over you, but that is not motivation.

I can offer you incentives, but that is not motivation.

Only you can be motivated. Only you can stop procrastination. Only you can decide to push forward with a project or goal to the conclusion.


How much controversy can we cause around this topic? People often cite truisms about time management.

Time is finite and can’t be managed.

We all have the same twenty-four hours in a day.

Time is a master that can’t free you from its bonds.


Of course, how you manage your time does affect what you get done in the course of your life. But sometimes, time is not yours. It belongs to your house, your spouse, your kids, your boss, your job. Owning a home requires a lot of time. If you doubt it, ask a homeowner. Spouses and children can demand a lot of your time. Your job and boss (if you have one) take up about a third of your life for over fifty years. Think about that one.

In defense of spouse and kids, they should be your number one goal anyway. But it is time spent. Do you ignore them in search of productivity at work? Do you trade the time for your kid’s ballgame for another meeting?

I’m don’t want to preach here, but these are decisions we make every day.

Then one day you wake up and time has slipped by, and you have to take stock of where you are.


OrganizedMy favorite part of this is the organization. Without it, none of the others have a shot. But how do you get organized? Is it something we do? Maybe something we decide or think about? Is it a tool or piece of software?

Maybe it’s writing each thing on a separate 3″x 5″ card and spending the afternoon arranging and rearranging them over and over again. 

Or it could be all of these things.

Merriman-Webster defines it this way.

1. to form into a coherent unity or functioning whole
2a: to set up an administrative structure
b: to persuade to associate in an organization
3: to arrange by systematic planning and united effort
4: to cause to develop an organic structure
Well, that certainly clears it up.
Here is how I define organizing.
To get clear on who you are, what you want, and what do you want to be? This begins the journey of organizing. Then determine how to get to that place.

Who You Are?

Who are you? What makes you happy? What makes you sad? Are you a doer or a procrastinator? Exactly, who are you?

I believe it is challenging to make plans and get them organized if you aren’t aware of who you are and your personality. It doesn’t matter what those answers are, but only you can determine how to move forward to get what you want. Once that is done, you can begin to organize or get things in order.

What Do You Want?

What do you want is the hardest question for me to answer. What do I want? There are so many and so few. There are physical and spiritual. There are easy things to acquire and tricky items to desire. 

Matthew 6 says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth …” How strict or legalistic do you want to be with this verse? It can affect what you want in a way that is different than a what you desire list.

Those questions lead directly to the last question.

Who Do You Want to Be?

Who do you want to be? Think about that in a completed life context. This question is for long-term. 

What do you want people to say at your funeral type long-term thinking? Of course, we have to think about next month, next year, and the next few years, but what about the end? 

I’m not sure I fully comprehend the magnitude of this question, but I struggle with it and think about it.

Introspection is not my strong suit. In fact, it is not something I even like to discuss, so I won’t. But think about it. How can you organize your life if you don’t know who you are, what you want, and who you want to become?

Let’s Finish This

 When you think about it, this is some serious stuff. Deciding on your life goals, building processing, and to do lists from these to get them done. It requires motivation and time-management, but more importantly, organization.

What do you think? Am I off? Am I strange in my thinking?

You tell me.

There Were Two Gorgeous Cars

I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were two of them just sitting there. They were gorgeous.

My wife and I were driving up Buchanan Street in Amarillo, Texas. She spotted them first. The gasp caught my attention, but by looking over at her, I missed what was to my left.

“Circle the block!” she said. “What?” I asked. “Just do it. You’ll be glad.”

Buchanan was a one-way street heading north, so I made a couple of blocks to get back to where she directed.

They were Gorgeous

I gasped in excitement as we approached the used car lot on the corner. One a Forest Green convertible and the other a dark Maroon with a White vinyl top. Both two-door, both beautiful.

I pulled into the lot next to the two and got out to look closer. I approached the convertible, and it had a 390 badge on the front fender and a four-speed on the floor between the two creamy White bucket seats. I believe my heart skipped a beat. The other had a black interior with a front bench and an automatic shifter on the column. It also had the 390 badge on the front fender.

A Matched Pair

“Looks like a perfect his and her matched pair,” I said. “One for you and one for me.”

Of course, it was just a pipe dream. We couldn’t afford one car like this, let alone two. They were impeccable. Perfect bodies, beautiful trim, and even the engine bays were clean. I found myself lusting after them. Somehow. Some way.

The salesman approached with a great, big smile. You know the one they get when a new victim prospect enters.

“I’m just admiring the matched set,” I spoke first. “They are beauties.”

He said, “We just got them this morning. They’ll go fast. If you’re interested, You better grab ’em fast.”

I don’t remember the prices now after forty-eight years, but it was apparent we couldn’t afford either.

Today, that pair would be worth a fortune on the auction block.

Oh, what were they?

A beautiful pair of 1964 Ford Galaxie 500s. Fantastic in every way but affordability. At least for us.

1964 Ford Galaxie 500
1964 Ford Galaxie 500 – Used under Creative Commons License

Is Technology Good or Evil?


If you don’t know by now, I love technology. It can assist our productivity, automate routine tasks and make life easier. It can also enslave us and bring us under its spell. So is technology good or evil? This is such a good question.

Technology is Good

I love todoist, my todo app. It syncs with my phone and tablet, always keeping me in line with my priorities. I love Evernote for its ability to keep all types of information at my fingertips, no matter the device I have at hand. Technology is a way to make routine tasks take care of themselves. IFTTT and Zapier seem like magic when applied to repeat actions.

motorola-bag-phone.jpgThe beginning of my sales life was without a cell phone. I always had a roll of quarters in my car and knew where most of the pay phones were in my territory. Cell phones made communication faster and easier for people on the go. And laptop computers were a godsend for road warriors.

Technology is Bad

VOIP (Voice over Internet protocol) home phones are a downgrade from the older technology. Copper-line phones did not need electricity or a working internet connection.

The original AT&T (before the government forced breakup) had phone service perfected. The only way it did not work was a physical line cut. Electricity goes out and the phones continued to work. VOIP, on the other hand, is frequently down. It requires both electricity and an Internet connection to function.

Let’s talk modern washing machines and one-gallon toilets. Okay, I won’t, but I will say the new washing machines suck so much. Clothes don’t get clean and they don’t rinse the soap out.  What a terrible use of technology.

I witnessed technology enslaving someone over the weekend and it was an eye-opening experience. I was in the company of a six-year-old with an iPad. Throughout sixteen waking hours, I saw fifteen hours and fifty minutes of Mindcraft play. The ten minutes were bathroom breaks. On occasion he would look up, but only momentarily.

On the highway yesterday, driving at 75mph, a young man was texting on his cell phone. I don’t think I have to even talk about how dangerous and stupid that is. How do you get them to stop? Has the phone taken over their mind? No. Well, maybe.

Good or Evil?

So the question remains. Is technology good or evil?

The correct answer is “neither.” It has no soul and it does not make choices. However, it can control the human mind, if allowed.

I’m not going to get on my soapbox here, but everyone knows the solution to the above issues. Don’t we?