It's only the end of November. I still have Thanksgiving leftovers in my fridge. But this is the perfect time to begin discussing goals for the next year. Don't want to talk about that yet? Believe me, I get it. Some people cringe at the mere thought of setting goals. It's a little too tied in their minds to words like "pressure" and "deadlines" and ultimately, "failure". Maybe that's you. If so, great! Hopefully I can introduce you to another way of looking at setting goals. A way that's life-giving, not life-draining. Or maybe that's not you. Maybe you love laying out plans for your future. Maybe you get giddy at the thought of putting pen to paper and planning out your best year ever (Or is that just me?). Since you are reading this, my guess is you are cool with goal-setting. Or, you want to be cool with goal-setting. Whatever your feelings around setting goals for your life, I would like to share with you what I have learned about tackling those pesky things, just in time for you to make your own goals at the start of the new year.
Have you ever sat around with friends or family at the cusp of a new year, and discussed your New Year's resolutions? I think most of us have done that at least once, and probably several times. Have you ever noticed that many of the resolutions are kind of...generic? Like, we all have the same ones? We all want to lose weight, or spend more time with family, or finally get all the clutter out of our homes. Organize the closets every weekend. Save more money. Volunteer. We start out strong, and then we fizzle. By the end of January, we have thrown our resolutions out the window. We also feel guilty that we haven't followed through. We end the month, the very first month of the year, feeling like failures.
I always used to approach New Year's resolutions the same way. Even when I could rock my goals the rest of the year, I almost always dropped the ball in January. There is something about New Year's resolutions that sets you up to fail. Last year, I did much better, and I have learned a lot about how to successfully approach goal-setting, so I'm excited to use my knowledge to help make 2017 fantastic. I hope this series helps you to do the same.
The first tip I am going to apply to my own goals in 2017 is thinking about the "why" behind my goal. Every strong, stable thing starts out with a good foundation. Houses. Relationships. My deep and profound love of chocolate. Goals are no different. Your goal needs something steady to support it. If your goal is based on sand, shifting under you, you will eventually fall over. There's nothing to help you maintain your footing when things get rough. And things will get rough. Life gets rough. A generic goal that is not deeply connected with you, your life, and your values, will not last very long. If your goal is something that you feel strongly about, however, something that connects with you on a deeply personal level, then your resolve will be much greater. You will be able to be disciplined, because you aren't guilting or shaming yourself into doing this thing that is a "should". You will be taking steps towards creating the life of your dreams. YOUR dreams. Not your neighbor's dreams, or your mom's dreams, or your best friend's dreams. I'm talking about a life that is unique to your vision for your life.
I got (and still get) help finding my "why" from a few different people. One of them is fellow blogger Erica Layne. She has a lovely blog at www.letwhylead.com. The main focus of her blog is on helping people find their "why" in life. I frequently check out her blog year-round, and always learn something that I can apply in my own life. As she writes on her blog, "Identifying your whys as an individual and as a family, will help you finally quiet the noise and listen to the voice that arises within." Doesn't that sound nice? I think we can all use a little more of that.
During December, take a moment away from the holiday busyness and listen to the voices that arise in you. What are you needing more of? What do you need a little less of? What do you need to let go of? What are you craving? Listen to what your heart, your intuition, your deepest longings, are telling you. Pick a desire that is calling to you, and create a goal around that. It doesn't have to be a big thing. It could be tiny. Or it could be gigantic. It can be whatever you want, as long as it truly is what you want. The last time I did this exercise, I found that I was needing more fun in my life. My days were way too focused on getting stuff accomplished, and not nearly enough on actually enjoying the day. So my goal was to do something fun every day. I take a few minutes when I drink my coffee each morning, think through how my day is looking, and plan when my play time is going to be. Honestly, if I don't plan it, it won't happen. So I schedule it in. It's a goal I actually enjoy, and it truly improves the quality of my life.
I'd love to hear what you are going to set a goal around in 2017. Comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be honored to be able to give you a little encouragement and support.
It's nice to meet you! Welcome to my blog. My name is Amy, and my husband and I have three lively kids. We are so happy to share our journey with you. Come along as we learn to embrace the messiness of life, and maybe chase a dream or two along the way.