“The credit belongs to the [woman] who strives valiantly”
I’ve been thinking a lot about goals for the new year. Yes, I know, it’s the January energy burst which will soon be followed by three more long months of winter and monotony… But I’ve been wary of goal-making the past few years because I struggle so much to keep to them. I always have such lofty goals and then fail to even begin to implement them.
But this year is a different kind of year. I’ve realized it’s not my will or dreams or desires that are defective: it’s my methods! I just don’t have the proper tools to implement all of this, and that’s what needs to change. You can find so many TED talks and articles and books about change, goals, progress, habit-stacking, getting things done (<– life-changing, and I say this with no exaggeration) etc. so you don’t need the whole speech from me. I even heard recently that sharing your goals with people actually makes you less likely to achieve them, because the satisfaction of people acknowledging the lofty goals gives you satisfaction and you almost sort of feel like you’ve done the work. (Crazy how our brains work, right?!)
All that to say, as I finish out my twenties, that’s been one of my greatest lessons learned: it means nothing to have dreams or goals without a viable plan to make those things happen. (oh, and networking/connections… but I won’t go off on that tangent for now!) This has been the missing link a great deal of my life so far, and this is the muscle I need to flex. I always thought I was just lazy — turns out all I need is a good brainstorming session and a next actions list. (OK, I may be a little bit lazy too… ha!)
AND, here is one simple tool I desperately need: REVIEWING FREQUENTLY
Every time I make big goals, I do this to myself. I dream, I write them all out, I might even do some outcome visioning. But then, my dreams and goals list goes in a drawer or disappears in a long list of email drafts on my phone, never to be seen again. So this year, here’s my one goal I WILL share: I want to be better at regularly reviewing my plans. It’s OK to have big dreams, but to make these things happen I need to be taking small, regular steps to get there.
A friend of mine has her Sunday evening planning sessions — she pulls out the planner, checks her projects/goals lists, syncs calendars with her husband, asks herself how she’s doing. I love that, and it’s just the thing I need! Some time set aside for introspection and planning.
(Speaking of tools: Believe it or not, I’m still going back and forth on using a paper planner or not this year… sheesh! I used to be such a believer in holding something in your hands, until I realized it wasn’t working for me that well, then I switched to my phone calendar but it’s so easy to ignore or dismiss notifications there too, and I hate that I can’t get a glance-type view with it. Sigh.)
With that being said, I know many people who like to have a “word of the year” to guide their thoughts and energies. I’m not good at drilling down to a single word, but this next quote contains exactly the spirit of what I hope for this year. I want to dream big, and I hope to get better at finding the tools to make those dreams happen. And I sure could use some beautiful words to keep the fire alive!
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
― Theodore Roosevelt
And I can’t forget our traditional “first morning of the year in PJs” photo 😉 Happy New Year, friends!
I’d love to hear about your favorite change/habit-forming/progress/planning tools! Paper planner? String around your finger? Multiple alarms throughout the day? Quotes? Let’s hear it!