On January 1, 2023, I sat down and thought about what I wanted to accomplish this year. Where did I want to see myself on New Year’s Eve 2023? I set some ridiculously complex goals for myself like living a healthy lifestyle and making my house my home. This year I thought I would be ingenious; so I also contemplated what my goals would look like by December 31.
For example, living a healthy lifestyle included counting steps; keeping a food log; ridding my diet of sugar, processed grains, gluten, and dairy (suggested by my chiropractor); and getting out to exercise every day.
I also planned to evaluate my progress every three months.
Yeah, right! (note the dripping sarcasm)
Life always seems to have a way of “LIFING” at me when the path I’m on is the wrong route.
By the end of March, I had made some progress. Some? I should, instead, say, “Little progress.” By June, even that little progress had come to a screeching halt.
I have no clue except to say that my path shattered into many directions. What I thought SHOULD get done overwhelmed me. What I wanted to get done that never found its way to my list of goals. And things that had been scheduled for later in the year, all of a sudden moved forward six months.
Now, August is on the horizon (Like tomorrow), and I have completely abandoned my goals.
The thought of being successful scares me. What if I am successful? Will I be able to sustain my successes? What if I’m not? What if nobody notices? But what terrifies me most is the idea of “If I accomplish my goals, what next?” seems to stop me in my tracks.
So, now what?
HAPPY NEW YEAR, or rather HAPPY HALF-NEW YEAR!
On July 1, I greeted my coffee friends with “Happy Half-New Year.” I had decided that I would take the month of July to figure out my direction and begin the year again.
How can I do that?
During my second year of teaching high school, I found myself celebrating several different “new years” within a single calendar year. It was the year that I found several of my more difficult freshman students on my sophomore class roster. On that first day of the new school year, I greeted my students with “Happy New Year.”
They thought I was crazy until I explained.
“Last year, you were freshmen. Right?”
“Yes,” they groaned.
“Are you freshmen now?” I asked.
“NO!” They responded in unison.
“Now, it’s a new school year. It’s a chance for a new beginning. If there were things you didn’t like last year (like poor grades or behaviors that got you in trouble) consider your slate clean. I am not holding last year as a measurement for your performance this year. Take control of your life and make this your best year.”
When the second semester started, I had five new groups of students. I greeted these new groups the same way.
Because the new semester gave them a new slate – nothing carried over from the first semester even if they had been in my classroom that first semester.
I also considered the first day of summer as a new year because my schedule was no longer dictated by the bells of the school year. And, I considered my birthday my own private new year.
Time and space can actually terrify you. It can cripple you with procrastination. You see this dot on the timeline of life. You see the 365 days in the year, and you have placed a deadline of December 31 to accomplish your goals.
What if my goals became a checklist that I could amend when I find something new that interested me or when I find something no longer serves me?
What if, instead of reading 30 minutes daily, I determined that I could read “X” number of books in a year or two? That means that I could release the guilt of skipping a day of reading.
What if, instead of getting in shape, I set a specific number of days a week to get exercise? That way, if Monday was overly busy, I could exercise on Tuesday.
See the difference. The space between the start of a goal and its accomplishment is now not 365 days but what can I do within a week.
I want that space between today and December 31 to inspire me to work toward a healthier lifestyle instead of finding me saying, “I’ll start again next week.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas about setting goals, working toward accomplishing them, and what you do to conquer the space that “terrifies” you.
Please take a moment to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.
Until next time . . .
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