Here we are in January – and all around us, there’s talk of being better, improving, giving up bad habits, or taking up new ones. Some people avoid goal-setting, because they’re afraid of failure. They haven’t learned yet that failing to reach a goal is just an opportunity to find the lesson in it all. That’s the best part of stretching ourselves to accomplish something new! In 2018 I set a goal to win an election. I didn’t make it. What I did make were new friends, new ideas, a deeper connection to my community, and a host of resources and sources of help that I didn’t have before. I didn’t win the election, but I know I’m far more successful than I was before, because I tried.
What about you? Have you set a goal for January, or for 2019? Here are some SMART steps that are helpful as you set your goal for the weeks or months ahead:
And on that note, what’s my goal for this year? To find a paying project that takes at least 180 hours (over the whole year, or in a shorter, concentrated burst) that incorporates the work that made me set last year’s goal – to contribute to eliminating hunger, homelessness, or illiteracy. That’s specific, time-bound, realistic and measurable – and I’m taking action by putting it here. If you or someone you know has a project that needs a "do-er", I’m ready to listen. Let’s talk.
Everyone deserves a clean, safe, affordable place to live. The issue we're facing in Toronto is that we're missing homes at many levels. Studying the picture above from CMHC, you can see the continuum of housing; here in our city, the pace of construction of housing at all levels, with the exception of market home ownership, hasn't kept pace with the demand. It hasn't kept pace for decades. We really need to get creative in how we think about housing. Home ownership is an ideal for some, but in today's mobile, global society, it's impractical for some workers. Yet where can they rent? Imagine if the only place there is sufficient stock is the street ("homelessness") or very expensive homes where the individual or family need a huge down payment for even a small condo space ("market home ownership"). That just won't work. And right now, that's very close to where we stand here in Toronto.
If you click on the image above, it will take you to the City's briefing notes for the incoming Council on affordable housing. Soon they're going to make decisions about Toronto's housing strategy for the next decade - from 2020 to 2030. That means that (a), we're currently working from a strategy that was written about a decade ago when things were very different, and (b), that we need to get it right, because we'll feel the impacts of their decisions for a very long time. So how can you, a member of the public, get involved? This chart shows the various places and ways the public can get informed, provide feedback and advice, and help. And here's where you can find out how and when to engage with initiatives, appointments, committees, or volunteer activities.
Let's put our collective energies and ideas together, and make sure we create a City that has a home for everyone.
Do you volunteer? Do you give to charitable organizations? Are you helping strangers?
Strange questions, I know. But here is something I have learned, and which continued to be reinforced during the time I was travelling our community, meeting people at their doors, in their homes, at their organizations' offices: when we give through food banks, or donate to charities, we're not just helping strangers. We're often helping neighbours. The people who need help from those of us who can give it aren't just "others". They are just as likely to be a neighbour, a friend, a colleague, or a connection. Poverty is everywhere, and when we fight hunger, homelessness, and illiteracy, you may be helping right next door. With that in mind, during this season of giving, please be as generous as possible.
Change agent. Recovering political candidate. Committed to building community. Always looking forward.