Organizing Theory & Artistry

Ruly Recap and Reader Feedback: Goals

Spring getting a little aggressive with its 2012 goals. . . daffodils in January?

This month at Ruly, we revisited the topic of goals, looking at various perspectives on crafting effective goals. Below is a quick recap of this month’s posts, reader comments and organizing news.

  • Goal Discovery Questions – when you aren’t sure where to start with the goaling process, some questions to ask yourself to generate ideas.
  • Think Big and Think Small – asking “How” and “Why” to clarify an idea into a goal and subgoals

Lou commented:

When writing the one area of my life that I want to improve, I thought I was being altruistic, but the WHY and HOW questions made me realize it really is all about me! And that’s ok. The goal will help others while helping me.


  • People-Based Goaling – the first reality check once you have developed a goal. Do you know anyone who embodies your goal?
  • The Every Single Day Test – the second reality check for your goals inspired by a recent article on weight loss in The New York Times. If you had to do something you are not that interested in doing every . . . single . . . day to achieve your stated goal, are you still willing to commit to it?

Ruth commented:

I totally needed this article! I always want my old exercise and diet routine which is not possible with a toddler and being home full time. Time to get back to goal setting and finding compromise so I can work toward that goal again.

  • Marcia Francois’ Goaling Tips – Streamling your goals into one theme word for the year to keep yourself focused and frame your goals (excuses, inspirations, etc.) to keep you motivated.  There were many great goaling theme words shared in the comments.
  • The $10,000 Question – Using a time-tested mantra of the corporate world, how could you phrase your goals to practically guarantee you will achieve them? How would you state your goals this year if you had to pay a $10,000 penalty for each one you didn’t achieve?
  • The De Kooning Perspective – If sticking to a goal is making you angry because you feel forced to adapt to someone else’s standard, check out this post for the insight reader Mary called “trippy” from artist Willem De Kooning.
  • The Met Perspective – how a page-a-day calendar is keeping us focused on our goals.
  • Ruly Hot Salad – If one of your goals this year is to improve your diet, I shared instructions for a super-easy winter salad.

This month has been a fascinating month for an observer of the world’s organizing systems. Just a few of the things that caught my eye this month:

Additional thoughts on goals:

  • The ever-insightful Stever Robbins wrote a great blog post on “Your Life is a Community” about how you need to balance out goals in one area of your life with all of the other demands on your time.
  • The University of Southern California School of Social Work sent along an interesting infographic about goals. What I found most fascinating was the first statistic about how the number of people that make goals drops by half once people reach the age of 45!

Examples of Extreme Organization

  • SOPA – The amount of organization exhibited by those who challenged the SOPA legislation was awe-inspiring. The website blackouts had a profound effect and the reverse robocalls were clever and had a significant impact. In a perfect world, it would have been nice to see this attention morph into a broader discussion about what we (and the music and movie industry) can do to protect rights holders in an appropriate way but wow! What an effort!
  • The State of the Union – Kudos to the White House for using technology to enhance the state of the Union speech with graphs and additional data and for using social media to start a discussion on these ideas! A clever way to lead by example.

Two fashion trends:

  • Ombre Lips – FabFitFun posted a super-simple tutorial on the latest way to wear lip color
  • The State of the Union provided some great tie-watching. If you struggle to pick good ties (as I do), you could try these lookalikes to the State of the Union ties.
Bruno Piattelli Mens Navy Gold Striped Designer Silk Neck Tie at (similar to Vice President Biden's choice)
Luzzario & Co Burgundy Dot Necktie at (similar to President Obama's choice)
Big Shot Neckwear 100% Silk Woven Striped Extra Extra Long 67" Tie at (similar to House Speaker Boehner's choice)

There is still more that could be said on the subject of goals but we will pause here for now and move on to a new organizing topic. Before we move on, however,

Ruly Challenge: Make sure your 2012 goals are written down and that you have at least one goal that you are fairly certain to achieve.