I have learned that the more intentional I am about how I live my life, the more thoughtful I am in making decisions and choices about where I want to focus my energy and what I want to accomplish, the happier and luckier and more motivated I suddenly become.
Setting resolutions and goals for the new year is one of my favorite practices. The concept that, to a certain extent, I can direct how this year will go is both exhilarating and empowering.
I need the annual reminder the new year brings that I am the master of my fate and I am the captain of my soul.
This year, my goals are simple: read more, write more, run more, travel more.
I know, though, that if I even hope to do anything I’ll look back on with pride and a sense of happy accomplishment, I need to be specific about my goals, too.
I think the problem many people have with keeping resolutions is that the original statement they make is too general: get in shape, eat healthier, save money, be a better friend/wife/sister/whatever. (Read more, write more, run more, travel more.)
When I start thinking about my resolutions, about where I want to focus my energy and time in the new year, I’m always general first — what is important to me right now, and what do I feel like I want to do?
Once I know what my focus is, once I’ve tossed those ideas around in my head a bit and found the ones that really matter, I decide what, specifically, it would mean to me to actually “accomplish” those goals. I can’t succeed without knowing what success is, so if I want to know that I’ve done what I set out to do, my resolutions need to be more specific and measurable. If I want to set myself up for success, I must make my goals reachable and attainable.
And so, in specific terms, this year I want to:
- read at least one new-to-me book each month
- write at least a little bit every day
- run at least twice a week
- travel at least once a month to a place I’ve never been before.
None of these are record-breaking achievements, but that’s not the point. The pleasure of actually doing each of these things, combined with the act of succeeding in reaching the goals I set for myself, is a pathway to a happier me. That’s the point: to feel happier and more fulfilled at the end of it.
It’s only January 4th, and to think the time to set resolutions has passed is silly — so tell me, what do you want to accomplish in 2016?