What an exciting beginning!!! It’s the start of a new year and a new decade. As each year closes and another draws near, I have always taken to making an assortment of lists to begin preparations for the coming year. I list goals and then break them down into sub-goals. I journal about the holidays and add a year in review, chronicling how we spent our holidays and listing the highlights of the past year. I review last year’s goals and see how I did. Inevitably, there are a few that remain undone, not even started or which are things that I no longer wish for.
The end of the year is a hectic time just with the preparations for Christmas and New Year by themselves, but when you add a part time job at the mall, various Christmas markets and the prep work that makes them happen, it doesn’t leave as much time for those New Year goals and plans as I usually have.
I didn’t even start doing any serious goal planning this year until after the New Year had already descended. In fact, I spent the first four days of 2020 sick in bed, feverish and sounding like a barking seal after feeling generally chilled and miserable for 5 days before that. I didn’t even want to read. (Gasp! Anyone who knows me well, knows that this is like saying I didn’t feel like breathing. LOL) I can’t say that I’m excited to have felt this awful for so many days, but I have to admit that I am actually quite grateful for the enforced quiet and sudden stop.
I generally don’t stop. At least not for long. For years I have repeated some of the same patterns of behaviours over and over, saying I really need/want/have to slow down and do less. Telling myself that ‘this year’ will be different. I won’t say yes to everything and feel overwhelmed. Consistently pledging each year on my goals list to do things differently, yet leaving the same things unchanged at the end of the year.
Ringing in the New Year with cough syrup, cold meds and sleeping for only two hours (yup, fell alsleep about 11:45 pm on New Year’s Eve but was awake through pretty much ALL of January 1st :-)), gave lots of time to think and ponder about my goals for the year to come and to really contemplate where I am headed for the coming year.
I typically choose 10 goals each year, and as I mentioned, there are sub lists (sometimes with other sub-sub lists, but I digress). The idea of doing that overwhelms me this year. Don’t get me wrong, I have had great success with my goals lists over the years and I’ve knocked a lot of things out of the park! But… the idea of making a list of goals and then doing the usual with them, just doesn’t feel like the right thing to do this year. It feels like too much “one more thing to manage to do “.
Over the last few days, I’ve realized that there are three themes to the goals that I don’t accomplish: My weight, exercise and “not being so busy”. Once I realized that these three things have consistently been low on my priority list, I asked myself why? What was stopping me from succeeding over and over? I came up with lots of excuses but not so many actual reasons. Some of it has to do with the broad nature of the goals (and as someone who worked in a Coaching role for years, you’d think I would be better at setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, but you know how it is…). Things like “lose weight”, “exercise more” and “do less” are really ambiguous goals. Not a lot of substance and destined to fail, even with sub lists and sub-sub lists. I really didn’t try that hard.
In the middle of the night on January 2nd, as I spent most of the night alternating between coughing up a lung, not sleeping, being frustrated about not sleeping, almost falling asleep, only to wake myself up by coughing up a lung again (shameless drama, sorry! ;-)), I decided to distract myself from the imminent loss of my lungs by making a list of the things that I want to be different in 2020. My list was longer than I expected. Not totally surprising, especially since 2019 was a year with so many decisions, transitions, opportunities, changes and new experiences. Finding my way through starting a new business and all the trial and error that goes along with that was a lot. There was so much good stuff, but lots of things I would like to do differently.
Looking at my list, I realized that there are two main themes that related to almost all of the items on it. 1) Feeling overwhelmed from over committing and filling every open spot on my calendar, which leads to stress, feeling like I don’t have enough time or energy to what I have to do, let alone what I want to do. 2) The fact that I have been sick for more than a week is just one of the many ways that my body has been trying to say “PAY ATTENTION TO ME” over the last few years.
Maybe it was the sleep deprivation or the cold meds, but I suddenly realized that this year, I don’t need to make a list of ten goals. In fact, I realized that I don’t need to set “goals” at all. Instead, I am choosing to live 2020 with two simple mantras guiding my path.
- #1- I Respect My Time.
- #2- I Respect My Body.
There will of course be sub lists, that’s just who I am, but this short little list feels so powerful. It just makes so much sense. As the year progresses, I may not lose any weight, and I may still have pretty hectic times, but if I can relate my choices back to these two important principles, I just might feel content as I look back on 2020. That, seems like a lofty goal, if you ask me.