Craig Payton/ Personal Journal Entry: Goals & Tracking

by Craig Payton

March 2, 2012

First of all I would like to say taht the systematic setting of goals and daily tracking of progress is a new approach to me.  This is not to say that  I am unfamiliar with setting goals, only that I have never systematically pursued them in such a clear and consistent way.  I have achieved many things over time in my life as I have lived almost 48 years now.  I have set goals before.  I am fairly certain I have never before pursued goals so steadily.  I would be happier to report that I crushed all the goals which I had set before me.  This is not the case.  I can say without a doubt that I did pursue each and every goal which I took on, and that I made definite progress towards each and every goal. However, with few exceptions, I did not absolutely meet the goals I set for myself.

Below I track each goal and set for January 1st 2012 (posted here mid February).  I have a value category for each goal followed by a description of it.  For further details refer to the original goal posting.


- 50 push up set – tested 3-1 at 34

- 15 Bar dips set (achieved mid February)

- 10 pull ups set – tested on 2-29 at 7 reps.

Weight goal of <182 from start of 191.5.  On 3-1 I weighed in at 182.

Comments;  I have had two illnesses in January and February.  The second “cold” was even more virulent than the first.  some would advise to work out through the sickness.  I am not so sure about this philosophy and did not follow it. Therefore my strength training goals have definitely suffered.  Also I recognize that to speed my progress towards the strength goals I would be better served to establish a training schedule to adhere to and I may also benefit from more regular testing.


Goal – Daily Taiji practice.  Of the 60 days I missed 11.  I have practiced daily uninterrupted for the last 24 days in a row.  Although i have practiced many styles of movement arts over the years this everyday practice has generated a tremendous depth to my practice which I have not experienced before.  I feel this benefit even though I missed 11 days of 60.  I also feel that barring severe problems that I won’t fail to practice every day from now on.  This continuity of practice builds momentum which becomes irresistable.

I have added 1 hour of Qigong and meditation practice every morning as well.  This has only been for about 1 week.  I plan to add this habit to my next challenge and accountability list.


Goal; Complete straight A Guide answers by March 1st.

This was perhaps my most overly ambitious goal.  I have reached the end of question 72 of 271.  I have added the goal of working daily on this project and will reset my goal for the next challenge and accountability list.


Arise by not later than 5AM each nmorning.  I achieved this goal 43 days out of 60, missing 17.  Many miss days I arose between 5 and 5:30.  Miss days also correspond to sick days which were Taiji miss days as well.


Goal; Call family 2 of every 3 days every month.  Mark this goal as 100% ACHIEVED.  The only downside of this goal is that I never call anyone else on the phone except my wife and children.  Due to the 300 minute limit we have I have accepted this limitation and prioritized my wife and children as by far the most important relationships to nurture in this way.


I have done what I can to maintain good ongoing contact.  My wife and I have made some adjustments to my relating to the children.  For now I have pulled back qa bit on the pressure to excel, sset goals, etc.  Also I have agreed not to correct the English in their emails and letters.  I have been unsuccesful in prompting them to write more often and this was a compromise to try to encourage them.  I realized that I was being overly critical and losing sight that the most important part was to foster good communication and improved relationship.  The use of the accountability log has helped me to keep track of when and with whom I communicated.  This helps me make sure I do not favor one child over the other and steadily communicate with each.  My son does tend to spend more time on the phone, and my daughter writes better and longer letters.  In this I feel we have struck a balance.


Goal;  Writing a minimum of 30 minutes per day.

Book reports; I have 5 reports done, some which require further editing and polishing before I will be satisfied with them.  Publishing Straight A Guide answers has taken priority for the time being.  The goal of writing at least 30 minutes per day was set to cover reports, Straight A Guide Answers and perhaps fiction work.  This goal was not well attended to and I need to work more diligently to achieve the minimum bar daily.  I credited myself as having achieved this goal only 28 days of 60.  On the plus side this means that at at minimum I put in 14 hours of writing work over the last 60 days.


Goal; Maintain contacts with old friends.

I reached out to old friends regularly, but my logbook reflects that I did not put a check on this goal very often, 10 days of 60.  I am fairly certain it was more like 15 of 60, but this is still insufficient and I will re-set this goal more clearly to have a better result next cycle.



Goal: Daily Meditation practice.  Minimum of 5 minutes per day.  I gave myself a miss on this small goal 29 days out of 60.  Perhaps this is an example of a goal being too vague.  Because I have other practices which are a type of meditation such as Taiji I may not have placed any priority on this goal as it seemed redundant.  I will re-examine and perhaps exclude this goal in the next cycle.


Goal: Provide daily support and encouragement to my wife.

I feel I have done a good job with this goal.  Having it written down and looking at it everyday in my logbook seems almost silly, as I always have my wife on my mind.  However, the simple fact of having this as a stated goal has driven me to take the extra step on many occassions to write or say what i am thinking or what I think she needs to hear, more than I would have otherwise.



Goal: Education goals.

I have NOT achieved these goals at all.  I have only barely interviewed two people.  I have not requested my transcripts from home, nor have I contacted any institutions or explored college credit in any other way.  I will re-calibrate this goal for the next cycle.  I have been regarding this as a low priority because of having no idea how to fund this, but this is really no excuse for not achieving the minor research I put forth as a goal.  I believe the lack of progress here also represents a certain psychological resistance towards this goal.  This requires further insight.


Maintain a log book.

I maintained my log book with very good continuity.  Even with this goal I still failed to update the log book on 8 days out of 60.  The log book accountability exercise was a great success, I feel, despite the failings described.  I tracked and worked on many goals simultaneously and made real progress in almost all areas.  I am excited about refining and continunig this process towards greater achievement in the future.

Taken as a whole my initial foray into the values based goal setting process has been very successful despite not achieving 100% success in all measureable areas.  I look forward to establishing a new set of goals within a short period from now, perhaps in two weeks (the Ides of March!).  Meanwhile several new and productive habits have been established and I wil lcontinue to track them in order to further solidify those habits until they become an automatic part of my way of being.


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