Most of us wait until New Years Eve to think about goals, giving us less than 24 hours to consider how we’d like to be better people in the coming year. With nothing but an uncomfortably tight pair of pants and an empty bank account to guide us, our last-minute goal making is typically uninspired.
Is it any wonder that our resolutions only seem to last until the chocolates make an appearance around Valentine’s Day? When we neglect to figure out what we REALLY want, and why we REALLY want it, we’re not likely to get very far.
Speaking from experience, the result of such neglect is usually an unresolved mess. Productivity towards my poorly defined goals stops as soon as a shiny, distracting opportunity takes me in another direction. As far as the straws I hastily grabbed at for my 2013 resolutions, my clarinet has only collected dust, I wrote maybe five poems this year, and I honestly can’t even recall what else I expected to do.
If I could so easily forget what I wanted from my life this year, something tells me I’m doing it wrong.
I’m usually far from unfocused, which is why I find the whole thing so disappointing. Let’s forget the resolutions and take time now to develop goals that will give our life forward momentum and joy! Let’s pick things that light a fire within us so the momentum lasts!
In order to find where our true passion lies, we have to act as detectives. We can’t assume we know ourselves – we shouldn’t assume anything for that matter! Pick some goals, ask yourself why they are important, look deeper, ask again, have some uncomfortable conversations, eliminate some options. At the end of your introspection, you’ll hopefully have goals that are meaningful, achievable, inspiring and well-intentioned.
For 2014, and hopefully beyond that, I want to rely less on pre-made things. This includes processed foods, chemical-laden home and beauty products, mass-manufactured clothing, career paths, standards for success, and expectations for relationships.
Aside from what recent documentaries and studies are pointing out, the simple fact is that we don’t need this stuff. Most of it doesn’t do anything for our health or happiness, and having things readily available just makes us appreciate them less. We become detached from the processes that make our modern lives possible.
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to — or want to — live off the grid. I know I’ll always enjoy occasional fast food and some retail therapy. But I want to rely on these things less so I can appreciate true quality in my life, improve my physical and mental health, and contribute to the solution instead of the problem.
But, this isn’t just about living a natural, organic or “crunchy” life. It’s about finding value in what I have, learning how to consume and waste less, learning more about myself, and creating a life that is truly tailored to me.
The goal applies most easily to food habits, but accepting the “pre-made” expectations of others as your own is just as relevant. I want to rely less on conventions and instead create my own standards for romantic relationships, friendships and my career.
Why build a life that doesn’t excite you, or doesn’t resonate with who you are?
You shouldn’t! And you don’t have to.