The Productive Woman 004 – Setting Goals That Matter [podcast]

_podcastTemplateFollowing up on our look at the big picture in episode 2, this week we begin a short series on goal-setting. This episode looks at what a goal is, and how it differs from a dream or an objective, and suggest some ways to set yourself up for success.

Tip of the Week: Keep a gratitude list, a list of both large and small things you are grateful for. This helps you remain grateful for your present even while you're working toward building the future you want.

Tool of the Week: Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results,  a great book by Stephen Guise.

Topic of the Week: Setting Goals That Matter

  • A goal is more specific and action-oriented than an objective or a dream.
  • Good goals are SMART
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Achievable (or Attainable)
    • Realistic
    • Time-bound
  • Be smart and strategic about setting goals
    • Focus on your highest priorities, and choose only 3 to 5 goals at a time to work on
    • Have a meaningful why for each of your goals–knowing why you're pursuing a goal will help you keep going when you get tired or distracted
    • Make sure your goals align with your values
    • A goal can't contradicts your other goals
    • Be balanced in your goal-setting – remember the roles and relationships we talked about in episode 2, and choose goals that reflect those various priority areas

In the next episode we'll talk about a step-by-step process for identifying and prioritizing goals. Send your questions, comments, and suggestions to, or leave a voice message by clicking on the pink tab at the right-hand side of the website.

Remember you can subscribe to The Productive Woman podcast in iTunes or in Stitcher. Click on the links here, or on the icon in the right-hand sideboard of the blog.

And don't forget to join the conversation at The Productive Woman on Facebook.

I look forward to hearing from you!

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Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom

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Gratitude on Purpose

The last couple of years I've seen what appears (to me at least) to be a new trend of replacing new year's resolutions with a “word of the year”–a word that creates a focus for the year. I don't go out of my way to look for one, but rather suddenly in the week between Christmas and New Year's Day I felt like a word had been given to me for 2014.

2014-01-07 Gratitude.jpg

That word is gratitude. But I haven't really told anybody or talked about it. Yet in the last few days I've had more than one reminder to be grateful. At one point when I was struggling with sadness and frustration, a friend reminded me to not focus on the things I lack, but to instead be grateful for the blessings I do have. At the end of his text message he said this:

“Then, just focus on all the good you have in your life. Be grateful for all your blessings. . . . If you want more then that's ok. However, one doesn't usually get more until they accept and appreciate what they already have.”

This was a profound and much needed reminder at just that time.

Then as I was scrolling through my Twitter feed Sunday morning, I came across a tweet with this question:

“What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?”

I couldn't help wondering what would be left in my life. What did I thank God for yesterday?

My inclination is to look at what's missing in my life. Not so much in terms of material things, because I'm well aware that I'm blessed. My focus tends to be on the intangibles, including what I lack in terms of character, what I need to improve in my mind and behavior, what perhaps I feel I'm missing in terms of friends and free time. I have to be reminded constantly to be thankful for what I have. To look for something to be grateful for in every circumstance and situation. I tend to see how far I have to go and forget how far I've come.

A few years ago when I was in that frame of mind a friend assigned me the “homework” of starting a list of things I'm grateful for, and look at it every day for a month. The exercise changed my attitude and my life. I still have that list. I don't look at it every day, but from time to time, especially if I'm feeling down, I pull it out, read it over, and add to it.

No matter the situation, there is always something to be grateful for. As Abraham Lincoln supposedly once said, “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”


This year I am on a quest to look for the roses, even when I'm feeling the thorns.

Your turn: If you woke up this morning with only what you'd thanked God for yesterday, what would you have left? Does that question change your thinking about what to thank God for today? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. And if you have any secrets for remembering to be grateful no matter what, I'd sure love to hear them.

Best wishes to you in the coming year. Let's keep in touch.

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Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom

Email me

Grateful In Spite of Myself

The week of April 15 was a rough one. Tragedies of various kinds consumed the airwaves and social media sites. Watching these tragedies unfold, I cried more last week than I have in all the weeks combined so far this year.

GriefThe misery I've observed from a distance has made me acutely aware of just how much I have to be grateful for–big things and little ones–and more determined to keep those things at the forefront of my mind. So this morning, I just wanted to share ten things I'm grateful for as I write this post.

  1. Warm slippers and hot green tea on a chilly morning.
  2. Courageous men who run toward the scene of a disaster, seeking to help, without thinking of their own safety.
  3. A husband who believes my dreams matter.
  4. Sunshine and blue skies over the newly green trees outside the window of my home office.
  5. Technology that lets me work from home in my yoga pants and warm slippers.
  6. The privilege of introducing people to books written by authors I know personally.
  7. That my grown children like to come home, and enjoy each other’s company.
  8. New friends who encourage and challenge me.
  9. That the people I love most are safe and healthy.
  10. Second (and third and fourth) chances.

This is what I've been trying to learn in the last year or so: joy is a choice. It's not dependent on circumstances, but on attitude.

Joy is a Choice

By nature and by training, my tendency is to see the things that are “wrong” in any situation. That can be a recipe for despair. I don't want to spend my days in despair. So I've undertaken the discipline of looking for things to be grateful for. In every situation, no matter how unpleasant, it's possible to find something to be thankful for.

I am determined to remember that. I am determined to be grateful.

What about you? Are you struggling with a difficult situation right now? Can you find something to be grateful for, even in the midst of that situation?

When times are hard, we need to encourage one another.

Share something you're grateful for in the comments below.

I'll be thankful to hear from you. 🙂

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Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me