We have made it through the first week of 2018! I know I’m a few days late to express my well-wishes to everyone. I spent a few days lazing in the Arizona sun. It was a lovely start to 2018.
While I was on vacation, I had an opportunity to think about all the things I want to accomplish for the upcoming year. Not just vague resolutions, but actual goals. I think sometimes resolutions are made without considering the work that has to be put into them. I would love to be able to play a musical instrument, but when it comes down to it, I don’t want to put in the work it would take to learn it. If I put that on my list of goals for the New Year, I would be setting myself up for failure. The reality is, I don’t want to play the guitar/piano/didgeridoo badly enough to work for it.
There is a quote I love, but I am not sure where it originates from: “Everyone wants to be successful until they see what it actually takes”. I love that the start of each New Year stimulates people to assess what they want to attain, and where they want to be with their lives. What is harder is seeing those goals being made without a plan, without considering what actually has to be done, and how to persevere when the expected results don’t appear immediately (or at all).
So here is my list of goals:
Goal one: Make an active effort not to let set-backs, or things out of my control dictate my responses.
Second goal: Not to pay express post fees for mailing cards or gifts.
Third goal: Substitute social media for literature. Not necessarily in its entirety, but some stories can’t be told in 1,000-words or 120-characters or less.
Fourth goal: Cut out beer. Without changing my level of activity or diet, I want to see what impact it has in three months. Wine is staying.
Fifth goal: Hang up artwork in my house. I have lived here for five years. It is about time.
This seems like a lot of goals, right? I know that there are a lot of articles out there that suggest just making one or two small goals that are achievable and then it’s not overwhelming. I absolutely do not see how having five goals makes them less reasonable. Going to the post office has nothing to do with beer. Reading books has nothing to do with decorating my house.
What I am not putting on my list is “have fewer/no seizures”. While that would be nice, I think that would be more appropriate on a list to Santa. I can’t, in the first week of January, know or anticipate how many seizures I may have this year. There is no sense in putting an expectation that is outside of my control. That’s a recipe for failure. If I set myself with the anticipation of having no seizures, and one happens, have I failed? At most, I would say that it would be a better goal of not going to pieces if one happens. I can only continue to do my best at ensuring I am taking care of myself, but I don’t want to make a goal that is outside my ability to control.
I’m also not planning to cook or garden.
Years ago I had “run a 5k” on my list of goals. I got to that point, and then went further, and every year I’ve gone a little further. This is now part of my life, and not something that I need to include in my goals for each year. It’s just going to happen. That’s how making small steps can lead to more steps (literally), until you wake up and identify as a runner.
In summary of goals: there is a mix of frivolous ones and ones for personal growth. More importantly, I do not have anything on there that is not something I want. I haven’t added “lose weight” or “learn a second language” because I “should” have those types of goals. There are also not any musical instruments. I’m not going to renovate or repaint or refresh.
The goals I have will require positive thinking; involve improved organization; will stimulate academic and mental growth; call for healthier living; and mean making the physical space around me reflect what I consider meaningful and beautiful. Those are lofty phrases. Lofty phrases are hard to obtain because it’s hard to identify when you’ve succeeded. Instead, making an effort not to go to pieces, don’t pay for express post, read more books, stop drinking beer, and hang up artwork are a lot more achievable. I will know when I’ve read books. My bank account will reflect when I’ve stopped paying express post because I’ve mailed things in advance, I know when I haven’t had beer, and I can see when artwork is on my walls. They are still the same types of goals as the lofty phrases above, but they are in a measurable context.
Don’t let 2018 get you down before you even start. We are starting a New Year. A brand spankin New Year. It’s 2018! We can do anything we want! We don’t have to do anything we don’t want! This is an opportunity to celebrate. Every day is an opportunity to celebrate each of the steps we take (metaphorically or literally).