I always get a double whammy for my birthday. One, I’m on the downhill side of life. It finally hit me this year. Two, it happens at the end of the year when the whole world is focused on New Year’s Resolutions. As if I need any help trying to figure out what I need to fix about myself. I’m an INFJ introvert. Constant self-analysis and figuring out what I need to do to improve myself just comes naturally to me. The new year hub-bub just adds a neurotic twist to this idiosyncrasy of mine.
Though I have militantly opposed resolutions in the past, this morning I decided to write out a list of goals for this year. But then I had to figure out how to write out a list that won’t cause me stress and anxiety. I get tripped up on the details and goals become shoulds for me. Shoulds are very unhealthy so figuring out how to work around the details took some effort to figure out.
This is what I came up with.
My 2018 Goals
This year I will:
- Feel sexy
- Be strong of mind/body
- Have my own money/independence.
- Be of use to others
- Have a strong testimony/relationship with the Lord.
- Have a lovely home.
- Live in joy
- Do what I love
I chose general characteristics of being, not detailed specific goals. Rather than say “I want to lose weight,” I chose the goal “Feel sexy.” Rather than set up a specific work out regiment or book reading goal, I chose the goal “Be of strong mind/body” I decided to approach my goal making in a way that I would feel successful every day.
How it works…
I marked two goals to work on daily, or 5 to 7 days a week. The rest are marked to work on at least 3 to 4 days a week. Every day I choose at least one action that helps me to ‘achieve’ those particular goals that I choose to work on for the day. So, for example, today I spent time in an infrared sauna, ate chicken soup, took vitamins, made a doctor’s appointment, etc. to work on my goal to “Be strong of mind/body.” (I’ve been pretty darn sick and think my cold has turned into bronchitis.) And I am writing a blog post in order to “Do what I love!”
I count myself successful if I’ve worked on half my goals for today. Even if the only thing I can do to “Feel sexy” today, for example, is to take a shower and put on clean clothes. Or do the dishes to “Live in a lovely home.” I make sure that I alternate the non-daily goals I work on. And that’s it. It’s quite simple.
Why it works…
I based my approach on two sound principles:
- Newton’s 1st Law of Motion, or the Law of Inertia: An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion.
- The Eastern concept that small changes make big differences.
As long, as I am doing something everyday, no matter how small, I will create motion. At first, doing something small will be a chore. Yet, over time, I will find myself doing more as I create momentum. I will create powerful movement in my life.
Added benefits to this approach
- Alters the perception of what it means to be successful
- Alleviates anxiety by focusing on the now rather than an unknown future.
- Increases positive feelings of success and confidence.
- Reduces or eliminates perfectionism
I’ve been reading Marion Woodman’s Addicted to Perfection and it has never been more clear to me how destructive perfectionism is and how much of a personal weakness perfectionism is for me. I’ve been trying to avoid the negative consequences from, but rather than take positive action, I’ve been acting in an avoidant manner. I’ve avoided taking unhealthy action without replacing it with healthy action. It’s left me feeling directionless and useless. It was time to re-establish some goals and get some momentum back into my life with this new approach to goals.
I’ll be updating my experience with this approach from time to time. If you do something similar or have been inspired to try this approach for yourself, I’d love to hear from you.