Episode 1 – Make Your Goals Yours
Too much of my life is being driven by other people’s choices; My job, my parents (when do you become too old for your parents to tell you what to do?), and general societal pressures to dress appropriately for every occasion and clean the bathroom before you have company. I look around and there is not enough of me in my life. I used to want things, just for me and not because I felt like I was supposed to want it. This is a great time of year to commit to change. But this year, I don’t want to recreate myself to fit this life, I want to recreate this life to fit me.
The first step to make this life more ours is to reflect on the past year. Each year we make the same superficial resolutions only to abandon them three months later. Why? We all know the “standard” reasons. The key is to prioritize consistency over intensity, plan for setbacks, and always get back on track after a set back. As a project manager with a type A personality, I always make a plan with the binders and the charts and the contingency plans. Still I cannot for the life of me keep my New Year’s resolutions. So again, why?
To create a life that fits me, I can’t just set a resolution and go through the motions. I have to be intentional and personal. There are two parts of a resolution, the goal and the process. If my process is solid it must be the resolutions themselves that just don’t resonate with me.
I remember one year, I decided that if I were a nicer person I could get more opportunities at work and a raise. I took all the shifts no one else wanted. I drove miles out of my way to keep coworkers from having to take the bus in the rain. I connected with so many clients we were exchanging birthday gifts. I even got a small raise. This may sound like an achievement, but it didn’t feel like it. I could not keep it up. I was exhausted everyday. Not even the pay increase could make it worth it to me.
Reasons my goals didn’t work:
1. I never actually believed I could achieve my goals. We all know dedicating your life to work only gives a tiny increased chance of your boss recognizing that dedication and an even smaller chance they will actually give you more money in appreciation, earned or not. To be fit is also defined by other people. There are so many fat bodies that are healthy and strong that the world still sees as fat only. There was no way I was ever going to check these things off my list without acceptance from strangers. I was not the one in control.
2. My resolutions weren’t based on what I wanted. How crazy right? But I think a lot of people do this. How to be a nicer person? I don’t want to be nicer, I want to be around people who don’t give me a reason to be mean. How to establish better boundaries would have been more for me. How to be more interesting? I am interesting without having to pretend to be into a bunch of things I don’t like. How to not be shy about my interests might work better for me.
What did I learn?
Working towards goals that are out of your control will only leave you exhausted, especially if the reward is not something you ever really wanted. There are a lot of resolutions you could make that could “improve” your. But those resolutions may not be the ones that will make you happy.
Now that I know what was not working, I can set a different intention for this year. I already know I want to create a life around me. I have things I like to do, not for money, or success, or appearances; Just for me. I used to love drawing until I was told it was a worthless hobby and I used to read so much until I didn’t have the time. And within the last few years I’ve been getting into the idea of writing.
I am going to take these interests, give them structure, and build them into my life. My goals are:
- To keep a daily journal where I will write and doodle in it everyday.
- Add one post a week to my new blog.
- Add one finished digital art every week.
- Read at least a little bit of fiction everyday.
The reason I decided to pursue my goals in the form of a blog is because deadlines make me more motivated and having somewhere to” turn in” my work will force me to submit it whether or not I think it’s good enough.
If you are anything like me, it’s time for you to do something that’s just for you. Make more resolutions that don’t care about being productive, or making money, or even getting better at something. Just do, and do it poorly if you have to. I want all of you to do one thing for yourselves.
- Find your goals
- Are you in control of the outcome?
- Will the result make you happy? Really?
- If not, find better goals
If you really want to change yourself, you can. It will be difficult and take a lifetime of making the hard choice over and over, but if you really want it, you can. The question is… do you really want it? I actually really like me, I’m frikin’ awesome! I think you are too, you just need more space to be you.
Come back next week for my “Commit to a Plan” post which is next in the series and will help you build a plan that works for you.
Hopefully you enjoyed my first post! Leave a comment with your thoughts below.