2018: Why I Haven't Set Goals.
It’s the beginning of February, which I think is as good a day as any to talk about 2018 goals.
I’m a goal-setter. Which wouldn’t be such a problem if I didn’t set such high expectations for myself. (Spoiler alert: I always let myself down.)
For the past several years, I’ve been trying to juggle a lot. Day jobs and side hustles, weight loss and minimalism, projects and more projects, having less, doing more, etc, etc.
All the things.
Finally, a few months ago, I hit burnout.
I didn’t want to go to work all day and then feel guilty for going out with my friends because I should be at home working on goals. I didn’t want to always feel like there was something better I could be doing with my time, like working on my side hustle or jumpstarting a business.
It’s a terrible way to live, to constantly be torn, never enough time, feeling like there’s a countdown and I’m racing against the clock until time runs out.
Ugh. I could scream.
Listen, I haven’t given up on goals. I still believe goals to be a wonderful tool, when used correctly.
I’ve been stuck the past several weeks, feeling like I should plan for the year, but afraid to set expectations, afraid I’ll just get overwhelmed, let myself down.
But what I do know is how I want to feel. While I'm still working on setting goals, I do know what I value and what I want to prioritize this year.
H E A L T H
In heart, body, and soul. I don't know why health is the first thing to take a backseat. For the past several years, I have made my health a priority, focusing on physical fitness, taking care of my body, prioritizing spiritual health. But when burnout hit, when all the projects and the events and the years of DOING finally came to a halt (when we came back from the honeymoon with nothing on the horizon), I was bone-tired, and I just wanted to do nothing, for the first time.
Rest is good, but quitting isn't. And that's how I feel I've treated health lately. And I want it all back.
What this looks like:
- eating healthy + meal planning
- working out regularly (easy goals like 30 minutes a day)
- finding a spiritual mentor/community
- meeting with friends regularly
S U S T A I N A B I L I T Y
I can’t get around this idea of sustainability. It started when I finally had my own place and I got a close-up view of how much garbage one, and eventually two, people created.
I started asking: How can I reduce the amount of trash I produce? That opened the door to sustainability, which essentially means not destroying the environment, conserving energy and natural resources, making better choices, consuming less. I’m just getting started and I have a lot to learn, but I'm committed to baby steps and figuring it out as I go.
What this looks like:
- eliminating the use of plastic
- recycling and composting (or at least trying)
- cultivating a successful garden
- choosing better products (made from better ingredients, packaged with better materials)
- buying less, but better
- starting a business that encourages these ideas (look for this one later in the year)
G R A C E
You wouldn’t think this would be a hard concept, but the lack of grace I have for myself has been a big problem.
The perfectionist in me is waiting for the mess to end, for the day I finally get on top of all the things there are to do, for the day my house stays perfectly tidy, for the day my schedule is perfectly balanced. And that day isn’t coming.
I’m learning grace, that life isn’t black and white, pass or fail. I’m learning my limitations, that my capacity is limited, and that I expect way too much out of myself.
Life will not end if the laundry goes undone today. My body will not be ruined if I indulge in a celebratory meal today. I am not a loser if my office is in shambles or if I missed my workout. Or two.
Grace. What this looks like:
- surrendering my grip on schedules and agendas
- celebrating what can be done in a day and not mourning all that went undone
- leaving the dirty dishes to read a book, and being okay with it
- not holding myself to impossible standards
P A C E
If I could describe my habits for the past several years it would be this:
- Crash and Burn
Over and over again. I get an idea and I work relentlessly. I stay up late, shirk duties, say no to invitations. I grind hard until I crash hard. All my energy disappears, the steam is gone, and I sink into recovery mode for several days. Eventually the fire comes back, and I stoke it until I’ve got some hustle to work with, and the cycle starts again.
Speaking of sustainable, that process isn’t.
Pace yourself. That’s what I keep telling myself.
I heard someone say recently that long-term consistency is better than short-term intensity. It’s going to be extra hard, to find the right pace, but I’m determined. I’ve tried the sprinting and it doesn’t suit me.
I need a different pace. A slower, but more steady, pace.
What this looks like:
- not putting a time limit on myself or my dreams
- leaving margin in my days and weeks
- finding joy in the journey instead of racing toward a destination
- practicing steadfastness
The goals are coming, I promise. But what I want more than anything, is to have a solid understanding of my values. If we don't understand what's most important to us, it is impossible to set life-giving, soulful goals. It's like a filter for all of our wants and the driver of all of our dreams.
What are your priorities this year? Do you have a word for the year? A few? What values are driving all of your goals? I'd love to know!