02 03 Gallimaufry Grove: Setting Real Goals for the New Year 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Setting Real Goals for the New Year

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It's that time of year again.  You know, the time of year when we do penance for all the indulgences of Thanksgiving and Christmas by vowing to be a better person by making lists of New Year's Resolutions.

I look at this time of year as the American version of Mardi Gras and Lent.  Those of you who are Catholic will be able to see the vague similarity.  First, there is a huge big season of partying and over-indulgence (Mardi Gras) followed by a time of sacrifice and more circumspect living (Lent).  Morph over to general American society, and we have the Thanksgiving through Christmas over-eating, over-busy, and over-socialized season.  When the Christmas wrapping paper fades away, we are left feeling over-stuffed, over-stressed and over-tired.  Guilt sets in.  So, en mass, the American society vows to give up practically every indulgence and become completely organized, well-read and well-rounded --  overnight.  (Not that Mardi Gras and Lent necessarily go that far.  It's just an illustration.  Chill out.)  Anyway.  Let's make the New Year a little more realistic, M'kay?

I don't really do New Year's Resolutions.  You can read about my love/hate relationship with New Year's Resolutions here (there are links in that post to a series on how to set real goals that you can actually reach) and why I think they are usually more like wishes here.

I say I don't do New Year's Resolutions, and I don't.  But I do believe in setting goals.  I believe in having a vision for what I want my future to look like and making a plan to move toward that ideal.  Over the years, I have set a lot of personal goals and achieved many of them.  I have also realized that I have a tendency to push myself too hard.  So this year, I have a new goal (actually, I have been working toward it for some time).

My new goal is simple to say, but very difficult to achieve.  It is even more difficult to maintain.

My goal is Balance.

My goal is to learn when to push and when to rest, to create margin and space in my life, to learn how to live in that serene place called "Balance".

Anyone can do something difficult for awhile, but often other areas are neglected for that "difficult thing".  If things are neglected for too long, we lose that precious balance. Things begin to get more chaotic.  Our forefathers seemed to live a much more rhythmic and balanced life than the stress-filled rat race our culture demands of us now.  I want to learn from them.  I want to get back to a balanced life that makes room for what is important, and acknowledges that I am a human, not a machine.  I want the balance that acknowledges that I live with other humans who are also not machines.  We cannot be in "achievement mode" every minute of every day and still be balanced.  So I am getting off the achievement train.  I am focusing more on what I put into other people rather than what I accomplish.  I am focusing on being good to myself, too.  I need to learn to give myself  a little mercy and grace.  I need to let myself sleep sometimes.

Shaye, over at The Elliot Homestead wrote a wonderful post entitled "I Can't Do It All."  She writes about giving herself grace to let some good things slide while she focuses on something else.  She has some wise words, too, about judging others who don't live up to our standard of what is important.  I'm with Shaye.  Let's all give each other (and ourselves) a little more breathing room and a little more understanding this year.

Have a blessed New Year!!

Angela

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