Posts tagged ‘Goal setting’

Breaking a Lifetime Tradition

December is almost here. For me, it always meant a time for reflection, introspection, rating of my performance, and goal setting or resetting. Over the years, for most of my adult life, and even younger, I followed the tradition of setting New Year goals. I enjoyed the process. Hot cocoa at hand, pen and paper, I would sit and think of the present year, review past goals, and silently rate my performance. I was good at keeping what I set to do, and I accomplished most goals. However, I was disappointed for what I didn’t do. It felt as if I came short of something. It always left me with an incomplete feeling, and even a bit of sadness. Then, I would decide if to include those unmet goals for the new year along with new ones. I would finish my cocoa, and be ready for a fresh start.

I changed all that. I don’t set goals quite like that anymore. Call it wisdom in aging, or whatever, I don’t rate my performance anymore. Instead, I’ve decided to think of the “meaningful thing” that I would like to do for the new year, whether it is only one thing or more. As far as planning for it, the only planning I will do is to make sure that everyday I try to take a step in that direction, and leave the lists, rating, and self-judging to the side. Discarded are the breaking into small manageable goals rituals, as well as written tasks, along with the self-reviews. Either I am on track to do a meaningful thing (to me) or I am not. Breaking a lifetime tradition is never easy, but it is as simple as that.

A Year of Reinvention

December is approaching and I dance with the idea; it is my favorite month.  Many a reason for it – the holiday season, the end of the year, a beginning to a brand new year is near, the festive air, crisp cold, the towns getting dressed up, the spirit throughout, flurries … and much more.

For me, it is the time to review this year and meditate about what when on, the goals I achieved, the ones I did not, and time for reflection, much reflection.  It is a time to pick up my journal, a new calendar, and think of how I can make next year better.  Although it is always a bit disappointing to stare at the goals that did not come true, on the other hand, it is rewarding to look at the ones that did become real.  Somehow, it makes me happy to see that I worked towards something throughout the year, something that when I put it on paper on December of the previous year, may not have seemed so real or attainable.  I invite you to try this, even if it is one or two things in your list.  I have learned to call them predictions for the new year, predictions of the things that I will carry out on that year, or at least, that will take me a few steps closer to a goal.  It is a practice that I started years ago, and it works for me.  Looking at the end of the year, I can see where my heart was at the end of the previous one, and how I evolved on the issues that seemed important to me, and the things that I wanted in my future.  Sometimes, I am pleasantly surprised to know that I made it through that year, and most of the things on that list, were accomplished.  Other times, I see that half of them were not, and then, I can ponder why – this always leads to some insight, sometimes, realizing that in truth, it was not what I wanted, but I thought that I wanted at that time.  This is why I call it my time for reinvention.

Reinventing myself small steps at a time works for me better than setting out sails for a huge journey, which can seem daunting, exhausting, and many times an illusion.  Setting goals every December, and working on those throughout the year, keeps the journey real, and manageable – less intimidating.  It is part of the big journey.  In retrospect, it is very hard to feel that I “wasted a year”  if I go back and see all the progress that I made, and how I worked towards the goals that were on that list – even when I may have not hit the mark with a particular item in the list.

I am ready to make my predictions for the new year, and work hard to make them true.  Do you plan or set goals for the new year?  Feel free to share your method.

Designing Your Life Map

A treasure map

Image via Wikipedia

I have to admit that I love lists.  Yeah, I make all kinds of lists.  Therefore, to me, goal setting comes natural, it’s been like that for long.  I find that most things that I put in writing somehow get done, or play it that way – even when I think I have forgotten about them.  One thing that I have indulged on recently, is creating a life map.  This is not with the purpose of tracking or carving each step on stone, but more as a fun way to visualize the things that I would like to carry out and showcase my interests at a particular stage of life.  We all know that interests change and it is important to allow these changes.

Your life map can be an inspirational tool and it can include pictures or take the shape of an actual map that you create – this is the fun part.  It can also follow a timeline or a series of steps – just as a treasure map would.  I find it makes goal setting more interesting and helps you focus as you look at it everyday and see the big picture plastered in front of you.  It is the inspiration to do what you have to do everyday – what you know you have to do – even when people around you may not understand it as you do.

Next time you sit down to check or write some goals , try this method and see how you like it.