Unsurprisingly, there’s plenty to read about goals and resolutions in the blogosphere right now.
iHanna has a good post with lots of inspiring (and occasionally daunting!) links.
Sister Diane from the Craftypod makes the very smart suggestion that you only pick one thing that you really want to do. I don’t think I can quite manage that but it’s something that I’m bearing in mind as I continue to very s-l-o-w-l-y refine my list of goals.
After being in a funk the other day, I did a whole load of journalling on the subject of goals and discovered that part of my problem is that I often confuse my goals and desires with the things that I feel I ought to be doing.
Now this hasn’t been a problem in previous years, I’ve just stuck those ‘shoulds’ right on my goal list and felt damn virtuous about it too. However, in the last couple of months I’ve been following a conscious ‘no guilt’ policy. So if something makes me feel guilty then I do something to get rid of that guilt; this can include finishing things, getting rid of them or paying someone else to deal with it. The ‘no guilt’ policy is working well for me, except that it’s apparently scuppered my usual goal setting, which was firmly based around the concept of guilt.
So often our goals and resolutions are negative – lose weight; quit smoking; get fit in the next five minutes, you lazy person; become a better friend; live life more fully; read more intellectual books; do this ‘good’ thing; don’t do that other ‘bad’ thing. We often seem to start with the idea that who we are right now just isn’t enough and we’re flawed somehow, so the focus always seems to be on making ourselves into a ‘better’ person. Sometimes this can be a good thing – making positive changes in our lives can be very empowering. However, there’s a big difference between making a change because we genuinely want to and punishing ourselves for not being perfect yet.
Guess what, you’re never going to be perfect and neither am I!
What would it feel like if everything on your goal list was completely and unambiguously POSITIVE?
I don’t know either but this year I want to give it a try.
Since I was still struggling with my very insistent ‘shoulds’, I did a mind map in my art journal about what I want from the year. Writing out a list of 18 things – some small, some large – that I genuinely want felt very powerful. When was the last time you let yourself think about the things that you desire? And not the things you think you ‘should’ want either but the things you honestly want.
Of course, I’m also very task orientated and I love to set myself very defined projects and tick things off lists. So writing things like ‘spend more time in the library with the lights off and the candles on’ seemed a little silly at first. How do I quantify that? How can I make that into a proper achievable goal with a definite target? Hmmm, should I start a database to count the days when I manage to sit down and properly relax? Ha, you probably think I’m joking… but many a true word was spoken in jest, says the girl who keeps a database of all the books she reads each year!
My mind map of desires isn’t a goal list yet – the other thing I discovered whilst journalling was that the goals I did best in reaching last year were the ones that were very specific and had quantifiable targets (yay, there is a need for those databases!) – but it is a start in a new, and slightly scary, direction for me.