This is the time of year when every second or third article you read is about New Year resolutions. They’re either about how to make them, how to keep them or why they don’t work. I’ve written guides on it myself, along with ‘how to’ videos and easy to follow tips. This year however, my inclination to do so has been non-existent, and here’s why.
Every year since my teenage self became acquainted with the concept, I’ve set January goals. They’ve been the usual ones; get fit, eat better, travel more, save more, yadda yadda yadda. The time targets may have slipped, or the details changed here and there, but I would say most of the time they were achieved. That is, until a couple of years ago.
The two years of 2015 and 2016 I can honestly say were some of the hardest I have ever experienced. I’m not just talking about mega shifts in relationships, career, housing and health. I’m talking about every possible dynamic, that I either depended upon or took for granted, being radically overturned to become something new. In hindsight and now thankfully out the other side, I see how ingenious the universe is when taking complete charge of the control we all believe we hold so tightly. The level of change I was provided, so that I could achieve some of the life long goals that had frankly become stagnant, was nothing short of phenomenal. In the moment however, honestly, it was a fucking nightmare.
Having arrived, safely, at a place that is infinitely more peaceful, as stable as life gets and successful in all the ways that matter to me, I can confidently say that this year is not a goal year. I know what I want, yes, but it’s not about rigid plans, targets or clearly plotted outcomes. It’s purely about living, in the moment, taking time to breathe, letting go and making decisions based on current needs.
I may get to February and be unable to stop myself from mapping out the next few months, but in this moment not doing that feels like the best thing to do.
As a coach, I can and will spend all day extolling the virtues of goal setting and outcome focus. Some of my clients rely on these lessons and continue to have success with them year in and year out. An important addition I need to make very clear however, for anyone who’s missed it, is the need for balance.
There are some weeks, months, years when you are going to be overcome with the knowing that actually, taking a step back will give you as much fortitude, healing and learning as taking one forward. It doesn’t mean you stop wanting that family, that career or that security you have always craved, it just means that for a short period of time you focus on being. You focus on living a life rather than creating one and you consciously give yourself permission to spend time just going with the flow. This in no way means drifting, it means letting go, and there is a huge difference.
Remember, this is your year. It’s your choice to plan or not to plan, as you please.