In January I set myself a few New Years’ Resolutions. A handful of goals and aspirations for the year, but I promised myself I wouldn’t be measuring myself or my success against completing them.
I find that too often we measure our success against achievements that actually don’t contribute to our main priorities or overall happiness.
In life, I now use my goals as guidelines to help me make decisions, rather than tick boxes to say yes I have achieved my aims, or no I haven’t.
Goals shouldn’t restrict you, they should encourage you, inspire you and actually proactively lead you to towards an end result. By having fewer, less concrete goals, you have fewer restrictions on where you are going to go, and what you are going to experience in your life.
In the past I used to set strict goals, such as:
- I will walk 10,000 steps a day for the next month
- I will visit 4 countries this year
- I will save up and buy a new car by the end of the year (even though mine works fine, it was purely a material thing)
- I will write 10 blog posts a month
And so on…
My old goals used to be quantified by stuff, strict targets or by things. Even if I managed to walk 9,000 steps a day, visit 3 countries and write 9 blog posts a month, I still would have felt like I had failed. This wasn’t a good outlook and it certainly wasn’t inspiring me to do better and enjoy life.
In reality I would have worked out well each day, seen some incredible places and written lots of well-thought out posts for my blog. However the fact that I had failed to meet my self-imposed goals would have certainly tarnished the memory of it a little.
Going forward, I will know I have achieved my new goals by feelings or values. I won’t use goals as gateways to being happy.
I can be happy as long as I am working towards achieving the right things, not if I can cross something off a list at the end of the year.
So, what are my goals (or guidelines) for the year, with all the above in mind?
- I want to travel as much as I can with my loved ones and friends to experience new places and make lots of memories.
- Spend more time writing, reading and taking photos. Three things I love to do.
- Give something back. I want to give a little more time to a cause that needs it.
- Eat better, all year.
- Get fitter.
So far, I have been achieving more this year than ever before because I am no longer trying to meet targets, aims and tick off boring tasks which take me closer to my end goal (such as going to walk another 2,000 steps for the sake of it today when I really just want to read).
I am doing things purely for enjoyment, and therefore I am achieving way more. My goals above are just sentences to guide me towards the right path. But I am slowly working towards them in my own way and in my own time.
I have travelled to the USA (amazing), Venice and I am off to Dubrovnik in 10 days. I have certainly devoted a lot more time to my blog, read over 35 books (an expensive hobby at this frequency) and filled my Instagram with so many pictures. My diet is better than ever, and I am actually doing HIIT training 4-5 days a week. All without concrete targets. Bring on the rest of the year!
I will review these goals at the end of the year, and hopefully they will have provided enough guidance without causing stress or detracting from the most important thing – experiencing life to the fullest.
Tomorrow: Don’t say you’re busy for two weeks