Resolutions are ways to plan for the new year, but they can also be burdens that bring you crashing down after a single failure. Instead, each year I set up three goals for the year. The guideline is that they cannot be fulfilled in a week or failed in a day. That means they can’t be “giving up sugar,” “working out every day,” or “no more negative self-talk.” Those are all good things to work on, but they also would be failed within (I’m guessing) 72 hours of 2020 starting. And then what? I just wait 349 days to try again, wallowing in failure in the meanwhile? Or on the other end of the spectrum, my yearly goals can’t be “organize living room,” “lose six pounds,” or “read 10 books.” Again, not bad things, but they could (theoretically) be accomplished in January and then I’m again stuck with months without a vision.
I’m still pretty new in to this yearly practice. This is my third December thinking about the next year through this goal-lens, percolating on three core goals for the year.
- 2018: Complete a sub-2:00 half marathon. Write 52 blog posts. Graduate with PhD.
- 2019: Run 1,200 miles. Become a Running Coach. Take 12 Sabbath Days.
Out of those goals, the first five were successfully and fully completed. The last one (Sabbath Days) changed mid-year as my work schedule changed and I was able to enjoy weekends without work without having to be as intentional or focused about it. During the past week, for example, I only did work on two days. So I’m giving myself a “Pass” on that final one.
Thinking toward the new year, my goals are similar to ones before:
- Write 52 blog posts: I found a new set of prompts and want to return to to the challenge of writing around “assigned” themes. My hope this time around is to connect more of my writing to running, since that is kind of who I am. 🙂
- Complete a sub-4:30 marathon: After multiple 2:15 half marathons where I did not die (my sub-2:00 one felt close), I know that with training, I can get there at the Portland Marathon in October 2020. My friend Beth will say that I need a running coach to make it happen, which is exactly the inspiration I need to prove her (and my own doubts) wrong.
- Spend 52 hours doing “nothing”: Back when I had five part-time jobs, a pastor challenged me about why I was so busy and what would happen if I just stopped. I had to honestly admit that I thought something would fall apart. She challenged me to take time that week doing “nothing.” Now that I just have one full-time job (plus the occasional adjunct opportunity), I have more flexible time that I still get tempted to overfill. So I want to try again at nothing for an hour a week. Nothing, to me, means lying down, turning on peaceful music without words, and just breathing. If I fall asleep, totally okay. If my mind wanders to Pluto and back, okay. And if it is something in between, that is okay too. Just experience the world not falling apart every week.
I hope the next two days are a chance for you to think about who you were, who you are, and who you want to be. Create goals for the coming year that fit all of that personal mosaic and use it to bring some amazingness into our world.