Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What Do You Want to Have Happen?

Illustration by Esther Wilkin

It's Time!

In my planner, calendar and journal I scribble a code when I organize a project or target an objective: wdywthh? Asking myself What do you want to have happen? is my most effective method of setting goals. Let me illustrate.

A common goal might be: Don't eat dessert. The first time I fudged I'd be disappointed, the second time I'd be discouraged, and the third time I'd be a failure. And, as a failure, I'd stop trying.

With the wdywthh? method I'd state the goal differently: I want to feel good about myself. There are many ways to accomplish this goal. I always list some ideas. For instance: have the Lancome lady teach me how to do my eye make-up; change the color of my hair; exercise; don't eat dessert; smile at myself in the mirror; read something uplifting every day. Doing anything that makes me feel good about myself gives me a charge, and I have a better chance of achieving success.

Last year I wrote:

Wdywthh? I want to forgive myself for not looking like I did when I was eighteen. Some ideas:
  1. Dress the body I have. (If I like how I look, I'll have more incentive to take care of myself.)
  2. Stay active. Enjoy all the things my body still lets me do.
Wdywthh? I want my family to be strong. Some ideas:
  1. Communicate support to each individual whenever I can, however I can.
  2. Rejoice in the fact that they are conscientious and capable. Let them know how proud I am of their contribution to their world.
  3. Respect their responsibilities and step back so I'm not in their way.
  4. Keep in touch with each kid and grandkid and keep them informed about each other. Be positive, sensitive, and tactful when talking to (and about) them.
I use this formula to plan family activities, trips, furniture arrangement, gift buying . . . it works for everything!

Furniture arranging: Do I want to encourage conversation, have a couple of reading nooks or make it easy to play games? Instead of randomly setting chairs here or there, I know what I want to have happen, and prepare the room for that activity.

When I plan a party, instead of thinking "What would be fun?" I list what I want to have happen, and then decide on the way to accomplish it. Do I want the kids to interact with the adults? (Maybe a baseball game or a big puzzle.) For a shot of self-esteem, I organize a talent show. How will the kids entertain themselves while the parents visit? (A box of dress-ups and a full length mirror in the bedroom will keep them occupied.) It's a different way of thinking that helps me recognize what my goal actually is.

The other part of my New Year's planning is writing a Mission Statement. I always start it out with
  1. "My life has meaning, purpose and direction because . . ." and then I elaborate on that.
  2. I continue with "I am dedicated to . . ."
  3. "I find joy in . . ."
  4. I list "Qualities I value and want to develop."
  5. The final section is "If I could do anything I want this year, I would . . ." Then I sign and date it. I read my mission statement a few times a year and write an "addendum" with any changes, and then I sign and date it again. It keeps me focused in a loose, positive way.
So, what do you want to have happen in 2012?
It's time to make a plan!


Susan said...

Great post! Occasionally, rather randomly, I've used "wdywthh" when creating a plan, but it's not been a regular part of my method operating. Now, I'm incorporating into my planning for 2012. Thank you, Marty, and Happy New Year!

PS. I've just realized my husband uses this method quite a bit. Hmmm...

Anonymous said...

Once again, I'm in awe of your wisdom. I am going to use your method and recommend this post to everyone I know.

Susan Adcox said...

This is a great way of planning. I am definitely going to try it. BTW, I love the picture by Esther Wilkin, who illustrated some of my favorite Little Golden Books.

Heather Scott Partington said...

I love this. And I am stealing it. Without shame. :)t