So many people talked about taking down Christmas decor, making fresh starts, and setting new goals in the week leading up to New Year’s Eve that my soul felt rushed.
But, I wanted to look forward to the New Year. So, at about 11: 15 p.m., I sat on my couch and turned the channel to Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. The ball had already dropped in Time Square, so I joined the countdown in New Orleans. (Which worked out because I’m in the Central time zone.) As a big crowd of people waited for the fleur de lis to drop, I grew more and more agitated. It seemed everyone had jumped on the New Year bandwagon.
Cynicism was growing in me…even though I usually do set goals. Or pick a word of the year. Or both.
But this year, all those things felt wrong, like I was pressing repeat on something that hadn’t served me well in the past couple of years. I didn’t want that for me, and I don’t want that for you.
Reflecting on 2019
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The only way for me to move forward was to reckon with 2019. So, I pulled my bullet journal off the shelf and turned to find the pages where I’d written three goals for that year.
Goal #1 – Get back to a size 12. I felt like me [when I was that size] – comfortable in my own skin, loved my body and size in clothes and felt confident. It’s important to me to feel confident and comfortable in my own skin. Being a size that feels good removes the mental and emotional clutter of being overweight, uncomfortable and of carrying the burden of losing weight. I want to be unburdened.
Goal #2 – Earn an income from writing and publishing books. Doing this will be a childhood dream come true and the most authentic way I can create a career. It’s who I am meant to be. I have to do it. It’s an undeniable unction that I’ve been delaying for years. It’s time to stop procrastinating and be true to myself.
Goal #3 – I want a home that reflects who I am and is enjoyable to live in. I need to stop striving in my home and be able to relax and enjoy it. Let it serve me instead of me serving it. The striving is exhausting- perhaps because I’m in such a hurry. I’m impatient. I am burdened by the to-do’s of home maintenance.
One out of three. That’s how many goals I accomplished. At first I felt like I’d failed. Then, I took another look.
The one goal I did accomplish had been an annual goal for a few years now. I remember reluctantly writing it down again last year in hopes that doing so would make it come true. I’ll be dadgum if the seemingly impossible didn’t actually happen.
This past Summer, we had an opportunity to make some updates to the house. After painting the kitchen cabinets, changing the backsplash, carrying the wood floors into the foyer and kitchen, buying new furniture, installing a built-in fireplace, and painting all the common areas, my house finally felt like home.
I wasn’t so “lucky” when it came to the other two goals. In fact, I gained weight, lost income, and didn’t publish any new books. But, (I have an old friend who says it’s what comes after the ‘but’ that’s important) I did make strides. There was forward movement toward both goals. Just not in the way I expected when I first wrote them.
Here’s the thing. I wrote those goals based on what I knew at the time.
Since then, I’ve discovered how to make peace with food and regulate my nervous system to improve gut health. This was a longer, harder road of looking at the past and learning how to overcome the resulting beliefs and behaviors. My original goal would have led me right back where I started. Now, I know how to make lasting change.
I also took a seat at the writer’s table. While I was there, I revised Creating Success at Home and relaunched it as Home on Purpose. I joined an author accountability group, and signed up for Hope*Writers. I also started writing my second book. That is what I call progress.
Remembering the Highlights
After evaluating last year’s goals and realizing just how much progress I actually made, I decided to write down the highlights from 2019. Accomplishments, shifts, changes, big events – good or bad.
That last exercise sealed the deal for me. I could call 2019 good and create space for 2020.
Looking Ahead to 2020
I still didn’t feel like writing new goals, or even finding a word of the year, was the right path for me this year. Then, I stumbled on Jeff Goin’s article, Instead of Setting Goals, Tell a New Story. As Jeff mentioned, the persevering had worn me plum out. I’d grown weary of trying so hard to make my dreams come true.
I recently came across a quote on Instagram that said something to the effect of not being able to discover what’s next if we keep rereading the same chapter over and over again. Writing the same goals every year felt like rereading the same chapter to me.
When I pray, I hear that still, small voice saying, “Stop.” Stop trying so hard. Stop wearing yourself out. I hear it leading me to simply show up as me, Sharon E. Hines, and just write.
It feels really good to have a sense of direction, especially since it came from within.
Wishing the discovery of the within place.
Happy New Year!