I suppose I’m a little late posting these, but I figure I’ll set an example that there’s really no need to stop thinking about your personal goals after January 1st.
At the beginning of each of the past few years, in lieu of resolutions, I’ve chosen three words to act as a vision statement for the year. If you want to read about my previous years, you can do so here: 2012, 2011, 2010.
I won’t beat my 2012 year-in-review to death, but my success was all over the place. For 2012, my words were Simplify, Liberate, and Ship. I completed another marathon, finished and released my first book I Am An Autism Parent, worked with some autism parent friends to create Autism Shines, and completed a few smaller projects, so I give myself an A+ for the Ship goal.
However, the other two proved to be much harder than I ever thought they would. I underestimated them greatly. The Decrapify My Life project was largely a bust, though I’m not at all giving up on it. Our house is still a cluttered mess, our debt is not really any better, and my business is still more on directionless auto-pilot than anything. I did try, and a lot of things did come up during the year, so I will show myself some grace on that front, but the personal work I need to do to achieve my goals here has proven much more extensive than I ever believed necessary. But living and learning is part of all this.
In many ways, 2012 got away from me. Lots of things happened, we had a variety of health issues in our family to contend with, and all of the sleep problems in the house led us to such a state of sleep deprivation that doing anything got very hard. I put too much pressure on myself goals-wise without really first doing the work of understanding how to achieve them. But I consider that insight to be an important one. So, that understanding is a big part of the direction I’m shifting in for this year.
So, with that said, here are my words for 2013. This year is brought to you by the letter ‘F’. (Just kinda worked out that way.)
Freedom – I’m going to look at my goals of getting out of family debt and doing work I love by focusing on the real, emotional point of it – freedom from those things that prevent us from being the people and family we want to be in our house. Remembering that my professional work is about helping people achieve their goals, enjoying what I do, and helping my family have a good income puts things in perspective. I see this as a freeing attitude, one that does involve a personal adjustment. Freedom is also about decluttering our home and lives, simplifying obligations, worrying less about things I cannot control, and attending to the people and work most important to me.
Focus – As someone with ADD, focusing on tasks can be very challenging. My goal is to continue learning a variety of techniques to help me better focus on what I choose to work on, and then intentionally use those skills to improve my home and work life. I’ll systematically take the steps needed to make progress on my goals and follow through to the completion of those tasks and projects.
This will require a wholesale change in habits as I believe my myriad bad habits are what made my goals for 2012 such a mess. Habits are the fundamentals, and those foundational changes will help me be able to make much bigger improvements in our lives. That said, I do think I made strong gains here in 2012. Releasing a 30,000-word book is no small feat of focus. But I have big aspirations and plans, and learning how best to focus on diligently progressing toward those goals will help me achieve them.
Fire – Here I’m thinking of ‘fire’ both as a noun and a verb. As a noun, ‘fire’ captures a passion, a personal drive to work on things I’m excited about, and letting that fuel me. I want to give more of my time and energy to things that fire me up. My hope is also that I’ll learn to find the fire in the everyday activities of life. As a verb, ‘fire’ can mean to take aim at a target or goal and launch something toward it. It’s not a shy word. For me it’s about taking my work, putting it out into the world, and seeing what happens, and not being afraid to do it or of failing at it sometimes.
As far as specific, measurable goals for the year, I’m not going to worry as much about that. This is my 40th year on this Earth, and the temptation is to overdo it with grand goals. My plan is to have no more than three main goals I’m focusing on at any given time (goals I can achieve in a month or less), and then focusing and working on them to completion. These small and medium wins will add up.
I also want to be able to adapt to opportunities as they arise during the year and adjust when things go awry as they always seem to. I’m building in both opportunity and room for grace. I also want to practice not worrying about things I can’t control and letting go of many goals for a while so I can really focus on doing specific ones well and finishing them.
No matter what you decide to do to meet your goals for 2013, when you find yourself ‘failing’ at your resolutions, join the club. We fall down; we get back up; we repeat. Remember that tomorrow morning starts a new day. No need to wait until 2014 to try again.