We are two weeks into the new year. By now many people have already defined their new year’s resolutions and a few may already have given up on them. I like the idea of resolutions but I tend to prefer goal setting at the beginning of the year. Rather than focus on things I want to stop doing I like to focus on what I want to achieve during the year, where I want to be by the end of the year, and what I need to do to get there. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.
I think what’s important is not so much the goal (although achieving it would definitely be wonderful) but rather the mindset we get into by thinking carefully about what we want and how we will get there. Getting your head into the right gear at the beginning of the year is a powerful way to let go of the year just ended and prepare to be open for the new.
I’m not sure that looking back over a year and judging it as either good or bad is the right strategy for life. There is no doubt that some years leave us drained or depressed while others have filled us with joy and hope.
“And just as he who, with exhausted breath, having escaped from the sea to shore, turns to the perilous waters and gazes.” – Canto 1, lines 22-24, The Inferno of The Divine Comedy by Dante
The quote above is how I see looking back at a tough year. You got out alive and there’s much to be grateful for in the lessons we learn in tough times. These make us stronger and prepare us for greater challenges. This, too, is important as is happiness and prosperity. Another quote I like that often helps me see what I initially perceive as a tough year as part of the greater picture of my life is from Zora Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God:
“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”
If last year wasn’t the year you hoped it would be, don’t worry. Everything is preparation. Get out a fresh, blank piece of paper and think about what you want to achieve and what kind of life you want to have. Then write down the things you need to do to get there. Be specific. Each day you can work a little more on completing task after task until you get closer and closer to where you want to be.
Last year I asked questions about where I am and where I wanted to be. It was about coming to a realisation that I wanted a drastic change and that I needed to take risks to get it. This year I have a better and clearer idea of what I want and the steps I will take to get there. Among the many changes I will try to bring about this year the main one is focus on developing skills that will better help me to express the creative side of myself. I will be taking courses in Adobe Photoshop and InDesign, focusing on developing my photography, and working towards creating better content for digital publication. Doing these things will bring me joy and satisfaction because essentially my goal is to do more of what makes me happy and not put any more time into doing stuff that doesn’t fascinate and inspire me.
What are your goals for this year?