As we are nearing the end of yet another year, we are bound to reflect on everything that happened during the past 12 months. The good, the bad, and the ugly. But hopefully, mostly the good.
Some of you might be formulating New Year’s resolutions for 2020, while others, like me, might just think of a general idea of things they would like to accomplish in the upcoming year (more or less). While deadlines and pressure are usually beneficial for me, when it comes to resolutions, I prefer to take a more relaxed approach.
Today, I would like you to take the opportunity to pet yourself on the back. But do not do it just because every kid gets a participation trophy. Do it because there is something you are proud of achieving this year. If you are one of those people who makes concrete resolutions, chances are you wrote them down somewhere. Maybe it was in a post here on WordPress or on a post-it stuck to your wall, or perhaps it was written on the pages of your secret diary. Wherever it was, pull it out and read through the list (if you have not already done so).
If you do not make New Year’s resolutions, do not worry. This post still applies to you. Among the people I know, I am probably the person who has the most relaxed set of “goals and objectives.” Yes, there are some things that I would like to accomplish in life, but, no, I do not like placing them on a timeline or constricting them with specific details. What does that mean? It means that even though you do not come up with particular resolutions, you probably have some sort of an idea of what you want to accomplish in the future.
At the end of 2018, I fantasized about getting published. No, it was not a New Year’s resolution. I was not even really working towards it during 2019. But somehow, it still happened, and you can read about it here.
Having now reviewed the resolutions you made last year, you should know what you tried to strive towards, and see what you did during the year in order to achieve those goals. If you insist that there was nothing you were trying to accomplish this year, then focus on anything that you had to work hard towards.
At the beginning of 2019, I thought about putting more time and effort into my blog and posting more often. At first, I did it on the down-low, without telling anyone. After a while, I decided to announce my plan to make myself more accountable. How did that all turn out? It was the best decision I could have made for my blogging. But that is something I will reflect in one of the upcoming “end-of-year posts.”
What I discovered as I look back on some of my accomplishments this year was that the feeling of reaching the summit is worth every drop of sweat put into the climb. When we try to put our mind into achieving a goal, too often we think about the difficulties we might encounter along the way. And that is alright. To me, that also serves a purpose. It helps me outline potential issues and then prepare for them accordingly. However, sometimes we just need to slightly adjust our focus. Instead of obsessing about potential trouble around the bend for the umpteenth time, we should envision what waits for us at the end of the tunnel.
Alright, let us break down the cycle of setting goals, working towards them, and meeting them (or not). First of all, you come up with an idea of something you would like to achieve. If you are a planner, you might plot out every single detail of how that “something” might look like. If you are not, you just hold onto a shred of that idea that you had at some point in your life while eating soup (or doing something else that is totally mundane). Whenever you make/have some time, you orient yourself towards a path that, in your opinion, should lead you to your goal. Often times, you will then stop and look at the long, winding road, filled with pebbles and alligators. Sure, you could buy sandals, so you do not have to go barefoot, but would that be enough? You think about all the blisters, the cuts, the scrapes. You think about losing a limb. You flinch. You hesitate. But then, you put one foot in front of the other, and you start walking.
After a while, you might realize that no matter what you do, you might never reach the peak of the mountain. What happens then? You get discouraged. You mourn all the time and resources that you had wasted on that journey. You vow to never set sights on such a tall mountain ever again. In fact, you give up on any kind of adventure for a while. When we are defeated, we do not feel like picking up any challenge.
But what if you bandage your feet really well, you slay all of the alligators, and you reach that peak? You succeed. You stand at the top of that mountain and turn your face towards the sun. You feel its warm, gentle rays on your skin. It is as if you were on stage in the limelight. Everyone is looking at you and clapping. Job well done. What happens afterward? You skip all the way back home and then map out a new adventure because nothing could possibly stop you. You feel inspired.
Try to remember how it felt once you have reached your destination. Imagine a single thing that went right this year. Think of something you put a lot of effort into achieving. Pull out a piece of paper, draft a blog post, or recycle a tissue. Whatever you choose to do, visualize all the things you accomplished this year. ALL of it. Big AND small. Some of the items might be small to other people, but they are huge to you. Other things might just be small. That is alright. It does not mean that they are less important. The journey might have been more relaxed, but you still had to take it.
I bet every single one of you accomplished something this year. Do NOT dwell on the things you were unable to complete this year. Clearly, they were not meant to be. Be glad that you survived the alligator. Do not let your head hang low. Instead, prop it up. Look ahead. See the mountain in the distance? Yea, you successfully climbed that one. Give yourself a high-five. Pat yourself on the back and say: “Atta boy.” Search for the sun with your face. Take in that glory, because that is what will propel you to the new heights.
Why do you set goals for yourself?
What is your process of getting things done? Do you dwell too much on the potential obstacles along the way?
How did you do on your last year’s New Year’s resolutions?
Is there anything specific you are excited about for 2020?
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