To Set Goals or Not to Set Goals…

The New Year always has everyone talking about renewal, resolutions, making changes, losing weight, quitting smoking, goals, etc. It is a time when many people reflect on the prior year, all too often focusing on where they fell short and vowing to do better this year! I admit that I too have fallen into this cycle in the past; setting goals, failing to meet said goals and then beating myself up for such failure. A few reasons we do this is that: we set unrealistic goals, we try to do or start too many things all at once, our goals are reflective of what we think we should do and not necessarily what we truly want and lastly, we often set a goal without any follow-through or plan to actually achieve it.

Personally, I like the non-structured approach of just saying I’m going to do something very specific and then just doing it. “I am going to start a blog.” And so, I did. No other expectations were tied to it. No beating myself up over my stats, dismal views or readership numbers weren’t going to give me the blues. I wanted to start a blog as an outlet for ME, someplace I could write, sort through things, express myself. If other people enjoy reading what I put out there GREAT! But, I’m not going to spend countless hours doing whatever it is people do to promote their blogs, trying to hit some magic number of followers that will make me suddenly feel heard or important. Nope – I wanted to start a blog and so I did, plain and simple. Another goal I had was to sigh-up for ski lessons, and so I did. I’m scheduled for January 10th. My only hopes are that the temperatures really are above zero that day like they are supposed to be, and that I don’t fall down the bunny hill and die. Aside from that, if I enjoy it I will likely go again. If I don’t, my kids may be a little disappointed but I’ll simply go back to sitting by the warm and cozy fire reading or writing while they ski. I am just fine either way.

I have also joined the ranks a time or two of those who create goals that are completely vague. “Be more active.” Ok, what exactly does that mean? How do you measure or quantify your success? Are you saying you’ll be more active all the time, just when the weather’s nice and you can be active outside? Do you get days off from being active, are there ok excuses like exhaustion from working two jobs and raising two daughters and trying to be an active member of the community?! Another one I made once that was completely unrealistic: “I am going to wake-up at 5 a.m. every day and go workout.” 5 AM – EVERY day?! REALLY??? I am a night person, not a morning person. I need sleep. If I go to bed at 11:00 p.m., that is still only six hours of sleep assuming I immediately fall asleep. Sooooo not gonna happen. Even if the time was later, expecting me to do anything EVERY day of my life besides eat and sleep is asking A LOT!

I do have a goal this year to continue to work hard, save a certain amount out of each pay check and hopefully before July 1st we will have enough money saved to move out of where we are currently living. I left that intentionally vague in a way because if that means buying a house in Minneapolis like we’ve been talking about, fine. But if some other opportunity presents itself to fulfill my HUGE desire to get out of Minnesota – that is GREAT too! It is good to have a general idea or plan of what you want out of life, but I am learning that it is great to leave yourself open too. I don’t want to hold on too rigidly to set expectations or goals, because I want room to really enjoy life and whatever wonderful things may come into it and not be too disappointed when this or that doesn’t work out exactly the way I thought it would. This year I will open bank accounts for both of my kids. I will continue to blog. I will work hard at whatever jobs I do. Other than that, Live, Laugh, Love and enjoy the journey!

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