I almost never share my goals before they’ve begun. I wait till things are well underway to tell anyone (and then share sparingly). I have little patience for people who talk big and go on & on about the Personal Improvement Projects or New Goals they are starting, which often subsequently fall by the wayside quickly. I don’t want to be like that. Sure, telling others about your plan or goal helps with accountability. However that probably works best if you only tell ONE person and that person has a very specific role to play. I’ve decided to do something different (for me) and share at the outset.
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, never have, probably not since I was a teenager. I do set goals, not at any particular time, almost all modest, to improve my life. I continue to reap the benefits of ones I’ve made in the past and woven into my habits, like exercise and healthy eating. That said I have particular areas of my life that I’d like to improve. These aren’t big things but little ones that nag at me. In recent years too much of my energy was getting sucked up by problems (mostly visited upon me not of my own making or not within my influence). I lacked motivation to do anything extra. I’ve been determined to pull my energy back and re-focus on those things I can control. Seeing that a new year is upon us I figure why not use it as a platform for specific goals. I don’t want to go crazy or set unrealistic plans so these will be simple.
In 2018 I want:
-To read 20 books.
-To visit the local lake 10 times.
-To make 10 new recipes.
My attention span for reading books has gone to sh*t in no small part because of the internet. This past year I read Unfriending My Ex and Other Things I’ll Never Do by Kim Stoltz. Stolz was addicted to her online life and her comments about what it had done to her ability to read books resonated with me. In fact there is evidence that being online and interacting online rewires our brains in a way that’s not conducive to merely reading a book.
I also always feel I should be “doing” something physically active. When I start a book my mind begins to go off on tangents from what I’m reading. I need books that will hold me as much as the internet and DVDs do so I may have to start a lot of books before I want to finish 20. That will be key; this isn’t about work – forcing myself to read all the classics or something – but enjoyment or learning something I WANT to learn. I DO read; I’m currently reading 4 books begun before the New Year, but I don’t know how many books I read in a given year.
There is a small, non-swimming lake a mile from my home. It has a slightly over one mile trail around it. It is home to lots of bird and other mostly small wildlife. It gets crowded – walkers, runners, bikers, picnickers, out-of-control dogs – especially when the weather is nice and that deters me. Still, I am rarely sorry when I visit there, but some time can pass between those visits. Maybe this is because it’s in my own “back yard” and I know it’s always there. I guess I do take it for granted sometimes. I really don’t know, as with the case of how many books I read, how often I go there. A 10-time commitment is minimal. I don’t have to do anything special, I just need to go there.
I cook almost all my meals but tend to rely on the tried-and-true, especially when I’m tired or otherwise not feeling jolly. I hate food disappointment – my meals are so important to me! – and have settled into routines, albeit healthy ones. I need to shake things up a bit even if it means I don’t like some of the new things I cook or worse, they are inedible.
If I do MORE than the specific numbers I set that will be great. I think the point is to get these tasks/goals/plans in mind. Setting numbers and keeping track accomplishes that. Because right now I don’t know how many books I read or how many times I visit the lake or how often I try a new recipe. I just know these things are good for me and I should do them more.
Spending less time online won’t kill me either and if that’s a consequence of reading more books or cooking more new recipes, say, that would be fine. I like simple ways of keeping track of my life. A page of loose-leaf notebook paper works.
Sharp-eyed readers might note that I already have one entry. Last night I made soft breadsticks from a Betty Crocker cookbook. Oh My Lord. So Good. You must see them! I wish I could give you one to try. (I rolled by hand – which was actually fun – hence their shapes.)
I figure maybe 6 months into the year I’ll revisit my goals on the blog to update how the plan is going. You folks will be my accountability!
NOTE: Please forgive any delay in responding to comments. I AM curious to hear what you’ll say.