Meditate, read books, write books, eat burritos, return to college, and go on adventures…
I’m recalling from memory, but I believe that’s everything I put on my 2017 personal development plan. I wouldn’t call these things “goals”, because “goals” is a funny and muddied word (for me)… I’d prefer referring to them as ideals, visions, intentions, aims, aspirations, or initiatives. Or possibly endeavors. They were basically things that I felt it would be good to do. I imagined that they would help me grow further into myself, make me happier (somehow), and render me more useful to my community and the world than before. Because that’s just the kind of difference that burritos make.
And you know what? I hit every single one of them — initiatives, intentions, goals; whatever you wanna call ’em, I DID them. I’m back in school (learning a new language and how to be a better writer), I wrote (and published!) a book back in August, I went on a solo adventure in Denver this spring and took a work trip to Seattle this fall, AND I’ve eaten more burritos than I could ever possibly calculate. And I am not a particularly strong or “disciplined” person… so how? How did I “realize” or “actualize” these big and little dreams, and with the calendar year just a few fleeting hours from over, what is continuing to sustain me in this ongoing pursuit?
I believe that the better question is why; as in, why did I set and commit to these “goals” in the first place?
Here’s my why: I wanted to become a better person (meditate), a more educated person (college), a happier person (burritos), and a more fulfilled person (the creative endeavors and travel adventures). I think it’s also important to mention that I didn’t set arbitrary, numeric-based “goals” for myself, like:
- Write four books, one per quarter
- Register for five college classes a semester
- Meditate for one hour a day (minimum)
- Travel to X number of states/countries annually
- Hate yourself and start eating junk food if any or all of this goes to shit
Instead, I kept them – the goals (since that’s a happenin’ kind of word this time of year) – simple. Open-ended. Easy to navigate.
Just go to school, whether that means taking one class or a full load. Just write something — be it a whole book or just a few starting chapters for one. Just meditate sometimes… follow your breath at a red light instead of checking your phone, and take a minute to think compassionate thoughts when you’re standing in line at Whole Foods instead of eyeing the tasty POS temptations (like Jason’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups). And eat burritos… however many you like. Just budget them in somewhere, because you really love them, and the universe gets that.
I think new year resolutions can be great, depending on the quality of and the motive behind each individual resolution. Are you weighing yourself down and stressing yourself out with numbers? (Not the best idea.) Or are you gently but resolutely routing yourself in a clear and heart-driven direction, lovingly following your passionate, innate, deep-seated and soulful why? (Better idea.)
Think: I want to be healthy — NOT “I want to lose X number of pounds.” Try: I want to spend more time outdoors… NOT “I can only watch X hours of television a day.” And if you want to be healthier, in what ways? Diet, exercise, mental health? A mix of those things? Why? And if you want to spend more time outside, why? Are you craving some fresh air and sunshine — cool winds and cold rain? Is there a particular time of the year that you just LOVE, that especially inspires and nurtures you? Could you plan fun outings for then? What outdoor hobbies/activities might you enjoy? Is there a club or enthusiast group of sorts that you could join? Would doing something like that help you stay on track? What about starting a blog?
A parting quote from some guy named Jack Dixon:
If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results.
Like my blog? Read my book!
I self-published my first novel in August 2017 — a delightful tale called “Jinx the Rabbit.” Whether you’re 5 years old or 500 years young, I feel sure you’ll enjoy it. Purchase the book by clicking below and then I’ll ship your signed copy to you within two business days! (Or, if you’d prefer to order the book on Amazon, you can easily do so by visiting the website and searching “Jinx the Rabbit”!)