As I consider 2016 and beyond I’m feeling the need to radically change the methods I’ve used to my determine my annual goals and resolutions. Neither goals nor resolutions actually work. Studies have indicated that less than 10% (8%) of resolutions are accomplished. I’ve found that ordinary goal setting or resolutions are pretty much a waste of time.
Personal “Goals” Too Often Fail
“Goals” belong to the realms of business and athletics, not to a unique and exciting personal life. Goals are too impersonal. Although it is possible that goals may represent the desires of the heart, they are more likely, however, the desires impressed on you by an American culture of success, productivity and slim bodies.
It’s a most difficult battle, this war of the desires of the heart and those of society. I know too many unhappy people that are generally thought of as very successful. Your purpose in life must be based on your mental and emotional core, tempered by your responsibilities to family, friends, and the lives of others you may impact.
Your purpose in life is not generally determined by your job or career, however it is surely possible for the two to be aligned. Unfortunately that is more rare than it is frequent. Your purpose in life is to maximize every opportunity to learn and grow and give. At Right Things we call it Meaning, Adventure and Awe.
My objective in this post (and my entire site) is NOT to cover planning all the events of your life. My objective is much more important: I want to help you design a life that really matters to you. I want to ask you what excites you and gives you a deep sense of fulfillment? What is it that gives you goose bumps? What do you need to do and what do you need to stop doing?
Bottom-line, for 2016 I’d like to know what is it that you “want-to-do” to make it a fine year—one focused on each day as an opportunity for wonder? So let’s have some fun. Below you will find a simple exercise to help you plan for a year filled with activities that make you happy and proud.
First: Make a Four-Column Template
Second: Fill in the Headings as Below
Last: Enter Two (or three) Activities
NOTE: the template below includes Meaning, Adventure, and Awe. But it is preceded with “Personal Development.” Your impact is totally dependent on personal growth. Tony Robbins has said that two things define his life, “Growth and Giving.” I like those. And Aristotle said that the purpose of life is to contribute to the good of society. (For those interested, both are very biblical.)
Okay, with a bit of vulnerability I am putting down my want-to-do’s for all to see.
|1. Mind and Body
Gym and reading
Suspend my immediate opinions of other people
|1. Grow my impact w Right Things using my creative gifts of writing and speaking
2. Help others feel good about themselves
|1. Take Two International Trips
2. Learn to paint with oil
|1. Be aware of the mind-boggling buildings and nature that surrounds me
2. Look for the hand of God in the magnificent and the ordinary
[Oops. Charts don’t transfer to the website properly. So sorry, but you can still get the general idea.]
Oh… I do have one more that doesn’t fit a category: I will consciously love and care for my family and friends and strangers that God puts in my life.
Okay, look how simple those are. I am already doing most of them. I just want to do them more and “on purpose.” Of course there is always dieting, getting healthy, getting a promotion and all the other normal ones. I am not suggesting they are not important. But when you die what is it that people will remember about you? They will honor you for being an adventurous lover and not even care if you were skinny or fat.
It may sound simple. It may sound impossible. If it’s simple, I challenge you to check it out. If it feels impossible, reduce the number of things to do. BE SURE TO MAKE IT DOABLE.
Finally, here’s a story of my son nearly 20 years ago that might encourage you to get to work.
Make It So
Austin was 4 years old when he learned to ride a bicycle. It’s a fun story. I had been working with him for a couple of weeks and he just wasn’t getting it at all after we removed the training wheels.
So one day I was working at home and he was at home from day-care as well. I had to make a very important phone call at noon and I could not be disturbed. I told him that his dad needed to be alone for an hour and that he was to stay in the house or garage. He was a very compliant child so I didn’t worry.
I completed the call and came downstairs to check up on Austin and to my surprise he was riding his bicycle all around the driveway just like a pro. I asked, “Son, how did you learn to do that?” His response was memorable, “Dad, I just decided to do it!”
Sometimes that’s all it takes, “just decide to do it.” Take an hour: make a plan, calendar it, find a confidante to help you stay accountable, then just go make it happen.
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
Photo Courtesy of Lord_Kuernyus at istockphoto
2 thoughts on “I Just Decided to Do It!”
I relate to this: to the pull if being swept up in accomplishment and success, to the authors real desire to pull the unsatisfied and apathetic ino enthusiasm, not quite a call to arms for those that continually gloss over, year by year, their own disappointment in themselves. We all make it hurt less by looking the other way.
I love the chart. I love the list. I have tried commitment, noncomitment, backing in and baby steps. For me, somehow, sometimes, the words have no meaning, no power. This is when I move from the 10% into the 90% and I add a little more to the burden I chose to carry, that chip I use a shield, a sheild that is weight, a weight to blame for failure.
The more I do this, the easier it is to do.
This circular thinking seems very common to me, and as far as I know, the only useless, unproductive type there is. (Free associative, parrellel, linear and intuitive, being the other 4)
Where is the hope? That one year out of ten I will accomplish my goals? That, if I start the process at 15, and see my maker at 85, I will succeed in 8 personal goals in the span of my life?
Naw. I have come to realize, though experiencing success previously unimaginal to me, that the goal, or mark or grade is an illusion, that the result is the epitome of B.S. and that as Aristotle very clearly stated: to pursue happiness as an end is folly, to achieve happiness, one must pursue the things that make you happy.
You don’t need to succeed.
It isn’t necessary to achieve.
The goal isn’t to win.
I truly wish everyone a wonderful, magical and happy new year.
David. I so agree. I’ve been pondering this whole goals deal for more than a year, trying to come up with a reasonable and exciting strategy. Ergo the last post. However, I plan to devote a couple weeks to the joy of the ordinariness of life. You know, that place we spend most of our time. I Just read the first chapter of “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius. Stunning! He must list at least 100 ways to “really live” with character and virtue and providence as a major focus. Nothing about being emperor or winning battles. Just be good and helpful and kind and 97 other things. Thanks so much for your support. Charlie