I never thought I’d be the one saying this – I’m not setting any goals this year. I know. I’m just as shocked as you are. I usually do quite the opposite. I unintentionally set way too many goals to accomplish in one year. I simply can’t prioritize and save some things for later. Instead, I feel like I need to do all the things by yesterday. Not setting any firm goals for 2017 feels pretty foreign.
I should probably clarify a bit before I continue. I do have work goals. We have specific ideas in mind for what we want to accomplish professionally this year. We also have a financial goal we’ll be working hard towards. (And it’s a big one, so send some extra business our way!) Aside from the business though, I’m coming up empty. And I’m regularly reminding myself that it’s not only okay, it’s perfectly acceptable.
I should also mention that my lack of “goals” doesn’t mean I don’t have any ideas for what I hope 2017 will hold. Truth be told, I’m expecting quite a bit of progress right out of the gate. I want to do hundreds of things, go hundreds of places, and make loads of progress both towards my big dreams and my personal development. The difference this year is that I’m going to simply take things as they come instead of worrying myself sick (and ultimately buckling under the anxiety I cause myself) over a list that’s far too large to be reasonable. By avoiding this list I usually pressure myself with, I intend to pay close attention to what’s happening around me and seize opportunities as they arise. Since I won’t have a big list to check off at year end, I will find my sense of accomplishment if…better yet, when…I can look back over the year and see signs of progression. And that’s good enough for me.
So why the change to goal setting this year? I can assume that some of the shift comes from the chaos that was 2016. Only a few months in, my plans for the year were completely derailed and my mindset switched to that of survival instead of progression. After such a tumultuous year, I welcome the opportunity to give myself a break and coast for a bit. Besides, we accomplished so. much. in 2016 that wasn’t even on the goal list from January 1. This is the only thing I want to duplicate from 2016; I want to end the year having seen big things happen – things that we made happen as opportunity arose.
Again, not having a list of goals doesn’t in any way mean I plan to remain stagnant this year. Instead, it means I’m going to focus heavily on my one little word and see progress by making those intentional decisions every day. In the back of my mind, I have some loose ideas of things I might like to see happen. However, I’m still 100% open to new ideas. By diligently watching the horizon for new opportunities and making intentional moves to seize them as they arise, I’ll end up making progress somewhere, somehow.
The only other type of “goal setting” I plan to use this year is Elise’s daily tracker (which you can get for free by signing up for her newsletter). I’ve chosen to track my time doing yoga, meditating, or other relaxing activities (walking, etc.). I am tracking these things as an attempt to be intentional about carving out time for my mental and physical well-being. Other than this tracker and my one little word, I intend to wait patiently (Ok, fine. I don’t do anything patiently.) for those doors of opportunity to present themselves!
(By the way, I took that photo above on January 3. I’ve definitely done more activity since then.)
The final thing that I’ll leave you with today is a reminder that it’s ok to make a shift of this nature. In the past, I’ve set all the goals and right now I’m not. In the past, I’ve chosen a word and forgotten it almost immediately. This year, I hope I won’t. The main point here is that it’s ok to approach things differently at different stages in your life. At first, I felt inconsistent and hypocritical by preaching goal setting in the past and abandoning it this year, only to understand I might have a list of 1,000 “goals” by March. However, I am reminded of the seasonality of life. We need varied approaches to things at different stages and our focus and energy will naturally ebb and flow. There is a lot of beauty in this. We have the freedom to assess what we need in each stage and make adjustments. And even more freeing is the fact that we can always come back to a strategy later if we want. It’s not inconsistent. It’s being introspective and knowing what your needs are in the moment.
As we catapult ourselves into 2017, I wish you happy times and extraordinary adventures. Whether you’re going with the flow or have lists miles long, you can certainly do wonderful things this year either way. Stay focused on your dreams, watch for opportunities, and be brave. We have hundreds of days ahead of us in which we can make tiny bits of progress towards our ideal futures. Seize those opportunities and make the most of this next year!