New Year’s Resolutions, Goals and Other Banana Peels
New Year’s resolutions are simply the January trendy dress to goals. Whether it is a good resolution or a goal it may either fall into oblivion or we may fail to follow through. I would like to take a moment to look at some hurdles that may stand in our way to achieving that which we aim at.
There is nothing wrong in following trends providing that they truly resonate with you. A number of people conceive January as the starting point of the year. It is a chance to take inventory of the past year, catch up with what was unachieved, change or confirm the direction we want to take in life.
It is a great time to affirm our intentions and share them with those who surround us. Creating some accountability increases our chances of success. January is also the opportunity to encourage one another in take more risks and design new plans. There is a value of collective effort and understanding that occurs at this time of the year. Let us take advantage of that.
Nonetheless, in case we miss that train, there are other times in the year where we can just as powerfully form our goals. As a matter of fact, each and every minute is a suitable time to make a new start, each minute has the potential to a new beginning and there really is no perfect time to set a new goal or refine an existing one.
After all, it is the present moment that truly carries the potency of success. The decisions and actions we take at each moment are the components that contribute to the success or failure of our endeavors.
Keeping this in mind and checking on a regular basis where we stand is what supports us in staying on track with achieving our goals. “Though you can’t go back and make a brand new start, my friend, you can start from now and make a brand new end.” (Anonymous) Granting these goals also the possibility of being malleable in reframing them as needed is indispensable to succeed.
Goals are stepping-stones to the accomplishment of a vision. The vision is the bigger picture and the goal is a stroke of the brush in the picture. It is a gear in the machine. Allowing a certain degree of malleability is necessary to success.
Being too rigid and sticking to a goal simply for the sake of achieving the goal may be detrimental to the greater purpose we care to realize. This is one of the pitfalls of being goal-oriented. When the goal becomes the purpose in itself regardless of its impact it may lead to delays, dissatisfaction or even counter-productivity. It may down right suck out the joy of a project and generate unnecessary stress.
Plus, there is something fundamentally unfulfilling in living from the achievement of a goal to the next. It contributes to the illusion that achieving the goal is key to happiness. We all heard “it’s the journey not the destination”.
Happiness is in the process and in enjoying experimenting, observing and adjusting, as needed, the parameters of the goal. Be capable of fluidity. Attributing some degree of malleability to our goals allows us to be process-oriented instead of curbing ourselves into a goal-oriented approach to life that can turn out to be stiffing and discouraging.
Goals are stepping-stones to the realization of a larger project, a vision and or life purpose. And how do you eat an elephant? You eat an elephant one bite at a time. Goals are bites. As we edify our lives we need to break down our efforts into areas, areas into projects, projects into goals.
Goals can be like the stars in representation of constellations, they are independent from one another but once they are linked to each other they create a picture. When they are inscribed in a bigger picture they carry more power and recalling the big picture may provide a little extra motivation in darker times and keep the momentum going.
The word goal is used and abused. At a time where numerous people make resolutions and set goals they fail to make a true assessment of their passions. Also, they confuse this word and use it interchangeably with intention, purpose, design and such. They end up setting goals and making resolutions based on what they perceive to be appropriate and what they should do but it is not in touch with what they truly want. Then, they lose motivation quickly, if the motivation was there at all to begin with, and burden themselves with guilt and shame for not reaching the goal they have set or forgetting about their resolution.
A goal is just a tool that can be used efficiently or not. It is truly the go-to tool. More effort is made in designing the goal (who has not heard of SMART goals yet?) rather than contextualizing it and align it with what we want. For this tool participates in our development in the sense that we need to grow to reach them. As John Maxwell puts it in The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: “If you focus on goals, you may hit goals … If you focus on growth, you will grow and always hit your goals.” He emphasizes the necessity of developing a plan for personal growth rather than simply expecting life to deliver lessons at random. In other words it is being intentional. How about designing a few goals dedicated to your personal growth to support your achievement goals?