Each year in December, I make a point of sitting down to reflect on my most recent lap around the sun, and make plans for the year on the horizon. I used to be one of those resolution people. I treated my resolutions like streaks that could not be broken, and once they inevitably were, I gave up entirely… usually by March or April. Then I’d float rather aimlessly through the remaining eight or nine months before loading up on fresh enthusiasm for the new year. Rinse, repeat. Over time, I shifted my resolutions from broad and vague (and unattainable) to simpler plans like “dye my hair black sometime this year.” Not exactly changing the world.
Resolutions vs. Goals
With age and wisdom came a reframing that encouraged me to look at a year in terms of goals instead of resolutions. I found this much more freeing as it kept me working toward something with a natural ebb and flow, instead of working on something that could not be left unattended. A resolution felt stiff and unforgiving. You resolve not to spend any money from your savings account this year. But then an emergency arises, and you have to dip into your savings, and it feels like the whole year is a bust. But with a goal, you know the outcome you want, and your journey to achieve it may include three steps forward and one step back. That one step back doesn’t kill your whole sense of accomplishment. It’s a small setback; then you recover, and carry on toward the desired outcome. A resolution is a one-way street that can abruptly turn into a dead end. A goal keeps you moving in the direction you want to go, but gives grace along the way.
Who vs. What
With more age and more wisdom came additional reframing that helped me understand which goals are most important to put on my list. Being driven to accomplish great things is noble, but I contend that nobler still is being driven to become a greater person. Time has taught me that the most important goals are not about the shape of my body (or the color of my hair), or the money in my bank account, but the person I am becoming. I used to start with what I wanted to do, and now I focus on who I want to become and work backward to what I need to do to become her.
Crafting Your Plan
Last week I started brainstorming an exercise to get myself in the zone for year-end reflection and planning. Once I got it out of my head and onto paper, I decided I couldn’t keep it to myself. I am pleased to present to you a Poetic Soul exclusive downloadable PDF. This 6-step exercise will lead you through a thoughtful process of reflection and planning, with a focus on personal growth.
It has been a pleasure sharing Poetic Soul with you in 2021, and I can’t wait to see the amazing things we’ll do in 2022. Happy Holidays!