Don’t you love a brand-new year and brand-new goals?
You don’t? Whew. Me neither. I’m not actually one who thrives on beginnings. I like the deep middle part where I can immerse myself in the process.
Doesn’t the lure of new goals and accomplishments inspire you?
It doesn’t? I know how you feel. Constantly pushing for new accomplishments is like the life-goal version of laundry. Never done, always starting over.
Many people do love a new year and setting concrete goals. I happen to be married to one, in fact. But I—and, I suspect, lots of other people—don’t like coming through the frenzy of the holiday season only to feel the need to set goals so I can be a brand-new better person.
But do we really not set goals and accomplish them? It’s not like our lives are empty and fruitless.
As I paid attention to my life compared to my more goal-oriented friends, I saw the truth. I’m doing the same thing they are. I always want to move forward on something. I just don’t want to put pressure on myself and kill my joy in the process.
So for all those other people like me who want to have a life of fulfilled dreams but don’t really want to write them down with a timestamped deadline—here are some things I’ve figured out:
- While I’m working hard on one thing, I have to ease up on something else. This year I published a book for the second year in a row. So weight loss and “better eating” got the cut. I try not to think of it as a failure; simply that I have to set something aside to make room for whatever is my priority.
- Balance “I should do this” with “I want to do that.” Our lives are full of tasks that we must, or should, get done. So sometimes ask yourself, “What do I want to do?” and do that instead.
- If you don’t accomplish a goal by next year, well then, you’ve got another whole year to keep trying!
- Use the new year as a reminder to look back over your life. We have only one life, so we ought to pay attention to how we’ve lived it.
I could probably say more, but to be honest, my favorite indie rock band sums up my point of view very neatly:
You’ve come far
And though you’re far from the end
You don’t mind where you are
’Cause you know where you’ve been
–Let Your Troubles Roll By (Carbon Leaf)
Have a happy New Year!
I mean, if you want one.
Photo Credit: First image graphic design by Charity Klicka; second image courtesy of Sara Jones.