By Christie PErkins
I love new starts. It’s why I love the roll over of a new year, daylight savings (yes, I’m one of the endangered few that actually likes daylight savings time), a new school year, St. Patricks Day, Sunday’s, a new bottle of shampoo or toothpaste.
New starts are like de-junking the house. It’s our renewed effort to ditch shabby habits for new and improved habits. Often I make trite, tight, new goals to organize, improve health habits, and develop talents. Blah, blah, blah.
Yep. Same old, same old.
But a new start is right around the corner (Eeek! I’m getting a whirly-twirl in my stomach) and I will mentally rewrite the same goals. And you know what? I’m good with that. Why? Well, because with each attempt I get a little better, and a little better, and a little bit better.
I can’t wait.
But more often than not, the goals end up taking up valuable space in my brain while I have completely waned off the goal course (…yes, it takes up brain space because although I don’t focus on achieving it, I still see it sitting there collecting musty dust glue).
Avoid the Goal Fizzle
For years I would write down everything I wanted to do different in the upcoming year. I was ambitious always finding wads of wonders to achieve. The first three weeks were fabulous. But by the end of the year (well, let’s be real here… by the end of 5.27 weeks of goal plowing) I realized there was still a list of failures staring me down. It sticks it’s tongue out and waves to me with wiggly finger ears.
So. If you want this year to be different then I have a method that works for me. I love it. I’ve been doing it for years. And by the end of the year I have no goals caked with dust mites but I am polished with a little more character robust and might.
A little. But, a little is better than none at all.
Make Just 2 Goals. Yep, That’s It.
Forget the list. Try this instead.
Goal #1: One Word
Now, for years I’ve focused on just one word or phrase. The impact that it had on me throughout the year was amazing. I would find that all my decisions would carousel around this one focal point. I was surprised at how it changed me. I liked it.
These are a few of my focuses in year’s past. See if you want to incorporate one or try one of your own:
Challenge yourself. This one was fun. I gave myself a monthly challenge and practiced it. One of my favorite challenges was when I taught myself to speed read (still needs work… but when you are a slow reader to start with this is really satisfying).
Discover. This year I inherited a camera (so much fun). I also inherited my cancer (not so enthralling). At least life’s moments are sprinkled with a little humor. (I’m glad my word wasn’t “ignore”.) Through both inheritances I learned to see the beauty life has to offer. I had no idea what I was getting into when I picked this word. But, I’m glad I did. It helped me to see things differently than I would have. No worries- if you claim this word you won’t have the exact same experiences- they will be better. Wink.
Plan and Prepare. Funny thing about this is that I bottomed out in this department. And the reason was because I didn’t have it written down where I could see it. So I forgot about it. Overall, I learned a great deal about writing things down if you want to plan and prepare. Still a great learning year for me. When nothing happens it leaves a hole to do a little better.
Try. This year I was faced with new opportunities (probably like any other year… but I turned them down because I lacked confidence). This one little word had me stepping onto new territory. I enjoyed life a little more. I put on a swimsuit and played in the water with my kids- that was a big move as I’ve always been afraid of my marshmallow legs. I boarded a plane and flew over the ocean and surprisingly I didn’t crash into the ocean and get eaten by sharks. I played racquetball with my husband, or dodgeball- I can’t remember which sport (they both appear to have the same consequences).
Imagine the possibilities with the word you choose. Here’s a few more ideas if your last lead just slipped out of your mechanical pencil pouch: learn, share, remember, love, play, like, memories, laugh, hope, listen, serve, experiment, take a risk… the list goes on.
Just pick one word. If you think long enough you will know the word that you need. Post it where you can see it. I always thought it was silly to post it until this year when my theme was plan and prepare- it was counterproductive. You have to see it so when you tuck yourself in bed each night you can question your drive. It’s simple but it works. I’ve done it for years.
This upcoming year my word is going to be “connect.” Join me if you want to, I’d love to hear from you.
Goal #2: 1 Fear Facing Goal
AKA facing your fears and fueling your faith goal. Often our fears of failure, falling, or being compared against are keeping us from moving forward. If you look in your heart you will find what you most desire. I love the quote by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf:
“If your dreams do not scare you, they aren’t big enough.”
When facing fears, I like to see what a year can do. Just over a year ago I started my blog. It has been a lot of work but it has been so rewarding. At nearly every downfall I have been boosted up by one of you readers. With every moment I questioned if I should continue doing this, one little genuine comment lit me on fire. If one person benefitted from this then, yes, this is what I would do!
It is an amazing thing to face a fear then struggle through and improve. I looked back over this last year and realized the growth I have had. One year. It’s not much but the growth achieved is miles from where I would have been.
Where I could have never been.
I have moved forward in my journey, not back. And that, my friends, is the reward for facing your fears. And even with my failures along the way I can truly look back and see that there was even growth in those failing moments… and it was worth it.
Those failing moments were the moments I took my biggest strides forward. Because the next move was an act of faith. Is this right? I would question myself. Then I would continue on. It was only then, after failing, that I found the reward of personal conviction that I really was moving forward. That I was on the right track. And even in the silence my footsteps lead me closer to my ultimate destination.
I have a core belief that there is something great on the other side of discouragement. Just when you feel tempted to give up- it is then that the magic happens. One more move forward and you see the gift that awaits you. Face those fears and take just one more step. You will see a glimmer of light leading you to where you need to be.
And if by chance you have a redirection, see it as a tender mercy. Our Heavenly Father still blesses you with growth when we make any effort to move forward. His redirection will be gentle, swift, natural. It will take the course it was meant to go. Just don’t give up.
However we must first face our fears.
So? What are your dreams? Do they scare you?
How to Incorporate Your Fear Facing Goal:
Write down your fear facing goal. What do you want to achieve? What burns inside of your heart and never takes the opportunity to warm anyone else? What is trying to get out of your heart?
Write it down. Think big.
It’s really quite simple. You must always be moving toward this desire. So you use this one big goal as the destination and you must purchase tickets to get there. These tickets will cost you time, sacrifice, planning, preparing, etc. But, you need to only look at it one week at a time. Simply write down this week’s focus that relates to the big goal. Keep it small and obtainable. It will feel as if you are crawling. It’s okay.
Just dedicate whatever small piece of time you can toward this goal. Decide now what amount of time you can realistically spend on this (1-2 hours a week, 6 hours a week, 10 minutes a day… whatever.)
And at the end of the year you will look back and say, “Wow, how did I ever get there. It seemed so far away.” It is then that you will realize how the little steps were so important.
Botch the Old Goals and Make the New Goals Slide up a Notch.
Push yourself to the limits by hyperfocusing on just two things this year. Find what you are capable of. Change the world. And set new limits where you springboard forward from there to get a little better, and a little better, and a little better.
Become a master of your passions and become who you were meant to be. This year- let’s make our new year’s goals count.
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