Weekly Journal – Setting Goals
One thing that has helped me get by in here and try to stay useful and forward thinking is creating goals. Shortly after arriving at Milan, I made a list of 10 goals I hoped to accomplish while I am here. I desperately want to be with my family, but since at the moment I can’t, I have to find ways to stay positive, use my time productively and not let myself fall too deep into a state of depression. I think trying to set goals and reach them is a helpful way to do this, so I made this list. Some of them are to work on myself and be a better person, some are things I have never had time to do before, and some are just goofy things I added to the list. This week I accomplished one of the more difficult ones, leaving just one left. After that I will make a new list. I’ve also made plenty of other goal lists such as things to improve at my tutoring job here and things to do with my kids when I get home. As I try to focus on coming out of this a better person, I think these lists and my actions to complete them will help me.
- Design and teach a class – I’ve been able to accomplish this with a Personal Finance class and an Entrepreneurship class. I’m very proud of these because they didn’t have any inmate led classes before I started doing these in the evenings and the guys I’ve been teaching in them seem very engaged. I think these are subjects that they can use when they leave here.
- Learn a new skill – I was able to take a class on crocheting and though I’m not very good, I was able to make a bunny stuffed animal for my daughter and a snake for my son, which they loved. I also made them winter hats. I’ve done a couple other classes where I could make them things like beading and cardmaking, but the crocheting has been the most interesting because it is so out of my wheelhouse. Now I’m making more hats that get donated to the homeless.
- Get alcohol treatment – I’ve been able to do some programming in this area and also took a class on addiction. I also am signed up for another class.
- Get treatment related to my offense – I’ve gotten some counseling, and gone through workbooks. I’m also signed up for a more intensive treatment and have found somewhere I can continue this treatment when I get out.
- Write a book – I’ve finished two books so far and am currently working on two more. Mostly it has been on genealogy and tied to history, but one is on parenting/engaging your kids from prison.
- Organize all my genealogy research – I have been able to go through this and importantly interview family members to record our more recent family history in order to put it all together and share with everyone.
- Research and plan trips to state and national parks – This is something my wife and I loved doing with our kids, so I organized where we’ve already been, where I hope to take the kids and what we might be able to see there.
- Come up with concrete plans for future jobs/volunteering – I’ve made multiple lists of different options. I want to do something that makes me feel useful and worthwhile. I have lots of options I’ve thought about from adult education to maybe even prison education. While I might not find a perfect job that allows me to feel like I’m helping people, I’ve thought of plenty of volunteer options including helping animals and doing work through my church. As I talk with contacts on the outside, I’m working to make my lists more specific.
- Run a marathon – This was the one I did this week. I have contemplated removing this off the list multiple times because I knew I wasn’t in shape for it, but since I had a half day of work on Friday and the weather was so nice, I decided to see how far I could make it. The first half went great, but my legs started to really fade after about 20 miles. I didn’t have any food or anything with me, so I ran out of fuel, but my stubbornness kicked in and even though I had to walk more than run the last few miles around the track, I made it.
- Learn a new instrument – They have an old accordion donated in the rec area, so my last goal is to learn how it works and to play a polka on it.