I love starting something new on the first, on a Monday, and especially at the beginning of the year. To me, it is the epitome of what success looks like when it’s just getting started. Well, this year, I have come to realize that creating new goals and habits don’t have a prime start date. It can seem quite fitting when all the stars align, but more importantly we should take action when all the variables finally come together.
The variables include a goal, reasoning behind that goal, and a clear understanding of how the goal will be beneficial. What can stand between a person and the starting line is understanding. Especially at the first of the year, it can seem as though everyone is setting their resolutions, and so easy is it to hop on the band wagon. What doesn’t serve me well, nor you or anyone else, is committing to a “resolution” or setting a goal that is much like everyone else’s for the sake of having one too. I often fill my head with should’s and oughtta’s, getting lost in the worldwide pressure of making changes.
We’ve seen this before. It’s called peer pressure, and we have all succumbed to it at some point in our lives. It’s a dreadful vehicle for competition and comparison that does damage to the soul. If you’re anything like me, then you are tired of setting resolutions that loose their glow; you have this feeling inside that says comparison is eating away at you. And what I find the most appealing this year is that so much is possible, yet ahead.
Among the mysteries and the unforeseeable patterns of life, there is time. What I wish to encourage you to do today is to rest assured knowing that you have the entire year ahead of you. This isn’t going to be a discussion about letting this year pass and to sink into your procrastinating tendencies. Instead, if you’ve had a year-end like I have and are now finally sitting down to look at your calendar, then trust me when I say that it isn’t too late to create goals for 2018 (or whenever you might be reading this post).
It Isn’t too Late to Create Goals for 2018
Some surprises came to me and my husband in January. What we realized is that while we hadn’t set any goals prior to the new year, we knew we wanted to make this year a great one; however, we didn’t take the time to create and set our goals so that we might make them effective from day one. Instead of wallowing in our lack of preparation, we allowed for all the variables to meet us kindly for a dish-washing session.
It wasn’t until I was out of work for a week that we knew we wanted to set a financial goal to drive us through the year’s end. Already we had some discussions in place, but found that we really needed a driver, a reason behind our goal, to encourage us to hit the ground running. Anyone can make the loosey goosey resolution to “start saving money” and to “spend less of it”. For us, an empty goal just isn’t going to cut it.
We have big plans this year. More precisely, we have big plans for next year. For 2018, our aim is to set the foundation for an incredible, dream-come-true of a 2019. I won’t go into great detail since it really is a matter close to our hearts, but I will say that I am very glad we waited for the entire picture to come together. When your picture starts to materialize for you too, you might just be flushed with relief. Yes, it’s okay that you didn’t start when everyone else did. You started when it made sense for you. Okay?
And what’s better than going for something when you are wild about it, clear on the outcome you wish to receive, set in your intentions? Honestly, this is as good as it gets. You set the pace. This is your life and everything you do should have meaning behind it – not someone else’s reasoning, but a sophisticated core-shaking interpretation of perhaps any common goal that serves you specifically. Are you still with me? Let’s dive deeper.
In the Works
Call it ridiculous, call it lazy. If that sour choice of words describes your inability to have a clear understanding of your goals before setting out to achieve them, then this conversation is no longer for you. It isn’t laziness. If I’ve learned anything about feeling as though I’m being lazy when really I’ve just been waiting for a sign, it’s that there isn’t anything lazy about it. It isn’t ridiculous either, because do you know what’s ridiculous? Hurrying around every day, every year, every minute and never stopping to reflect, to reminisce, or to imagine.
I am an incredible dreamer. Yep. I spend plenty of time imagining the life that I want to create, from what I have and know now, to what I wish to learn, to obtain, and to create for myself. This process takes time. It’s all just a learning process that begins with living. For years after I graduated from college, I found myself moving around a lot, working many different jobs, trying to find something that I enjoyed doing and could imagine doing for the rest of my life.
What’s interesting is that I’ve found that nothing is forever, and more often than not, life just sort of takes over. It takes us all for a little detour and drops us off somewhere between Huh? and I Didn’t See That Coming. What this has to do with creating goals in 2018 is that sometimes it’s just a matter of enjoying the ride before you’re let off the bus and can start to head in the direction you were bound to head in anyway. You just wouldn’t have gotten there by forcing it all to happen. Someone you knew hopped on a different bus, making you feel left behind at the time, but as you now see, you were definitely supposed to either wait for the next one, or take the bus that hadn’t filled up yet.
There are no accidents. Everything happens for a reason. If Sigmund Freud hadn’t made an impression on you, then let it be heard from me that your story is still in the works. It’s all coming together, whether it’s taking years or months to formulate. We don’t always understand things right away, nor are we required to. It all builds over time, sometimes seemingly in no time at all, but really for a long while you have been growing and accumulating information that leads you to your most immediate understandings. Are they really immediate if you’ve been gradually conditioned and seasoned to understand the cues and gestures around you?
Think about it. Why decide to hit the gym in January if you haven’t been receiving information that leads you to the conclusion that you need to be exercising more, that your health is an invaluable gift, that eating well will make you feel good too, etc. So, it’s the end of the year and you’ve gathered an enormous amount of information, even perhaps over years and years, and it’s all in a nutshell now, needless to say you’re ready to put it all to the test. So, the first of the year sounds like optimal time for you to apply your earnings.
For me, I like to start the year off by doing an at-home 30 Days of Yoga challenge through one of my favorite YouTube channels. Since 2013, I have forced myself to comply with this tradition that so many others around the whole planet are participating in, only to find that it doesn’t actually paint the entire landscape for me. I enjoy practicing yoga and discovering the many different versions of it, yet I don’t necessarily look forward to the immediate start come the new year.
What took me by surprise this year, was that on January first, there wasn’t an actual video with a yoga sequence. There was only a welcome message, like a stay tuned for tomorrow video that nearly flooded me with relief since I wasn’t ready to check-in until January 2nd. Do you see where this is heading? I completed two full days of yoga before realizing that I just wasn’t into it. Why was I showing up anyway? My understanding of it wasn’t that clear yet. So I set it aside, let life intervene, and found my true desire while I was drying the dishes about a week later.
Fiddle Around a Bit
Give things a try. Most likely, you will just find that your heart wasn’t in it to begin with. Sometimes you might just realize the long road ahead and that your curiosity is powered up enough to take you the full distance. This is life. Do, then quit, or consider before you start and then go all in knowing why and what you’d like to get out of your new endeavor. Everything in life is just an experiment. Even something that you once loved or enjoyed no longer satisfies or drives you any more. Fiddle around a bit. Or fiddle around a lot. There isn’t such thing as a waste of time when it comes to learning more about yourself.
Now that we’ve got our positive caps on, let’s get into some of the goals that we can set for ourselves this year. After all, it never hurt to get inspired. Enjoy this list. If something reaches you, invite it in for awhile, sit with it, and see if you’re feeling compatible. No pressure. Take your time.
2018 Goals for the Taking
Reduce debt by 50%-100% by December 1, 2018
Save 10% of paycheck every month for summer vacation/road trip
Prepare for and begin The Annual goop Detox by February 1, 2018
Build a writing habit with 30 Days to Better Writing
Take an art class at a local community college or local workshop
Reach beginner level of a new language by summer/fall
Learn how to make a killer hollandaise sauce by practicing every weekend
Read one book every week through the end of the year
Choose to improve/develop your communication style, for the better, in every arena of your life
- at home
- at work
- on your way home
- on your way to work
- everywhere in between
Make an effort to show your partner/s.o./spouse, every day, that you’ve thought about him/her
Be open to something new: music, food, style, information, etc.
Shut up & start listening
Get into the habit of stretching regularly
Have killer arms this summer by doing arm circles & pushups 3 days a week
Give meditation a try
Get better at creating time, prioritize like a boss
Give yourself the time you need in order to come up with something you would like to accomplish this year. Don’t let it slip out of your fingers, but do take as long as you need to really compile something wonderful. It can be something small or drastic, you choose. Take something from my list or come up with your own goal. This is after all, your life.
When choosing your goal(s) for 2018, be sure that it is measurable. Ask why, how, how much, how often, when, and who knows about it? When you can answer all of these questions with a definitive answer, you will know that you are ready to commit. So, have at it. Get creative. Think about things in a new light, and get specific. The more specific your goals are, the better chance you have of attaining them. Then, once you’ve got your specific-to-you goal, tell someone about it. Accountability always gets me showing up, especially when I know that I can be really good at letting myself down. When it comes to others, I never aim to disappoint.
I’m curious, what will you be up to this year? Do you have something brewing or is it already in your cup? Let me know in the comments below & thanks for being here today.