I am a person who says she thrives in the "new." I like to think that I am inclined to the natural resets of my universe - a birthday, the new year, the start of fall. I often set goals or choose words and make choices about the way I am going to spend my time and energy because I think that if I plan enough, I can get it done.
I spent a moment looking back at 2016's goals and I just had to sit with the fact that it wasn't a really pretty picture.
Sometimes I keep my goals. I worked hard to transition jobs last year. I did a few more music related things I was proud of. I traveled to a few new places. I saw lots and lots of shows and concerts. I was authentic in a new church community and in my writing. Lots of good stuff. Not all of them were goals I had personally set for myself at the start of the year - but I did something that improved something. So there ya go.
But I noticed, with goals that are more important to me and frankly, for my well-being, I had a far worse track record. I still have not applied for PhD programs. I still have not got my finances under control. I weigh about the same and am in worse health than before. I am behind on the book. I still say "yes" to far too many things. I can't remember the last time I cracked open the Bible unless it was for a Small Group related activity or during a church service. There are more failures, but it doesn't matter at this point. All those goals at the start of the year. All that planning. A failure.
Needless to say, when I looked at making "resolutions" or "setting goals" this year - I was more cynical of myself. And with good reason - I am bad at keeping promises to myself. Another contradiction I suppose because I can cross things off the work task-list like no one's business, but when it comes to my own development or passions - I just can't make it work. Why do I consider myself such a goal-oriented person? What proof backs that up in my life? I've always been such a "go-getter" but maybe I'm caving under the pressure of living up to that title.
I didn't set any goals this year. Well, that's a lie. I said I'd finish my book. And I have to do that, because dating apps are only going to be relevant for another few years, and I need to get in on that market while it's hot. But that's the only one, and that was a goal before the New Year, so I am not really counting it.
Will I attempt to add value to the world and be a good person and be smarter in my decisions about all the things I should be...sure. It's more like - I have no limits, but I also have no requirements. No goals with measurable success.. No accountability partners or progress reports or seasonal check-ins. If I haven't had much success for the last 20 something years on that front, perhaps it's time to give up on it for a while. I think that maybe getting out of my planning brain and just living my life might be the thing I need to actually make changes.
Here's to a resolution/goal/intention free year.
My friend Paul is a terrific writer, and does a "Friday Freewriting" exercise that I decided to steal. I will try to do it once a week. Set the timer for 15 minutes and write. Who knows what will come out. Then, I'll edit for mistakes and post. Easy.