Grateful for 2019, ready to embrace 2020 with open arms!
The end of one calendar year and the beginning of another is a generally symbolic time for most of us. A new year, a new set of goals, a new "beginning".... We put a lot of emphasis on this and I think it's both constructive and destructive at the same time.
Here's why: Goals and aspirations are fantastic. Goal setting is a part of any successful endeavor for two reasons...1. It gives us something to shoot for, and 2. It keeps us aligned on said mission. It's safe to say that any successful person, company, or enterprise sets goals and checks in with them often.
On the other hand, you must be careful when setting goals and attaching to their "meaning." Goals don't really mean anything at all aside from the meaning we, as individuals, give them. There is a light and a dark here. It's like the force. Goals themselves are powerful yet neutral but....there is human nature.
Human nature regarding goals is this: We set a goal at some meaningful point, as in the beginning of a new project or at the beginning of a new year, lofty or attainable. Then, if we hit the goal, we say we succeeded. If we don't, we say we've failed. The problem is that, as long as what is achieved is greater or bigger or further along than where we were at the time we set said goal, is this still not a success? Perspective is everything.
Take two brand new businesses for example. Both start Jan 1, 2020. They set goals of $100k in sales in the first year. They both sell $88k by the end of 2020. Company A says they failed because they didn't reach their goal. Company B is ecstatic for growing their business by $88k in a year. Who's right and who's wrong? No one. It's just perspective.
Goals are necessary in envisioning the future, in business and in our personal lives. The "meaning" we attach to goals is where the trouble comes in. Let me argue that everyone should set goals....and then detach from their meaning. Simply understand where you want to go, set goals as a framework to move forward, and go. Don't personalize the achievement or non-achievement of said goals. They are simply a measuring tool to allow us to re-calibrate as we move forward.
The Biggest Tripwire
The Biggest tripwire is this: Our logical, analytical minds are where we see things we want to change or better or shape. Our logical, analytical minds are where we decide to set goals to improve our lives. Unfortunately, it is not our logical, analytical minds that must re-shape to move us in the direction we want to go. We must re-shape our automated systems. We must re-wire our "habit" brains.
Here's a couple of great examples that were demonstrated to me: Say a person smokes cigarettes. They identify as a smoker. They "are" a smoker. Of course there are addictive elements in cigarettes but if someone wants to quit...truly wants to quit...they know they want to and should. That is analytical. But the addictive elements coupled with the learned automation to smoke and the personal identification as "a smoker" will generally no allow someone to think themselves out of smoking. Deeper work must be done. (If you argue that cigs are just too addictive to make this a persuasive argument, insert anything else and see if it still holds up. Soda. Popping your knuckles. Whatever).
Person A is a "gym person." Person B is "not." It is easy for person A to go to the gym and workout but person B finds themselves making a new year's resolution year after year to join a gym and become healthier but keeps quitting about February 1 every year. Person B knows this isn't good. It's not what they want. Unfortunately, again, you can't just analyze your way into a new way of being. The work is easy and difficult simultaneously.
So What Then?
Even though Jan 1 of the new year is an arbitrary moment in time...it still is as fine a time as any to check in with yourself...to course correct...to establish a revamped structure for bettering oneself. My recommendation is this:
1. Feel yourself into where you want to be in one year. Be honest with yourself.
2. Set the necessary goals for the year that will lead you to this direction (notice I didn't say destination. Life is not a destination). Don't pick too many or you'll quit under the weight of overwhelm. I like to then break the big goal(s) down into quarterly goals...just like a business would...to make them seem much more bite sized.
3. Detach from what it means to hit or meet or surpass your goals. Use them to measure and readjust as needed. In the end, if you're better off than you were before, you've found some success to be proud of.
4. Realize that if you want to change, you need to change habits, and you can't really think your way out of changing a habit. It's going to take a different kin of effort. It will feel uncomfortable. Growing is always uncomfortable...you're literally stretching yourself. As with anything in life...consistency is key. Crash diets don't work. Miracle workout machines don't work. Creating consistent, healthy habits and goals does.
5. DON'T SKIP THIS STEP! How many of you pick a word of the year? As cheesy as it sounds, it's a great way to keep yourself in check with your goals and how you want to show up in life in general. Write it down where you can see it. Reference it daily. Actually live out that word. I really don't care if you think this sounds lame or uncomfortable. If you want to grow, if you want change, you're going to have to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
For me, for most of you reading this, nature is the big common denominator. Don't forget the great power of nature in bringing you back to center in all of this...of helping you realign with who you really are, where you truly want to go (grow). Sometimes (okay maybe really often for me) we just need to get quiet, head into nature, and reconnect with the awesomeness of the power and energy of the universe).
I am on the journey called life, just like you. I will never "arrive." I will continue to learn and understand and grow as much as I can. This thing, these writings and posts and blogs....this is my journey. I choose to share it with you in hopes that we can move forward as best we can...together.
See you out there!