2018…wrap it up in a pretty little box and tie it with bow. It blew in on hopes and dreams and left on fumes of failure. That’s the trouble with setting goals, you might not be successful…but then again…
It could be that you look back and in the midst of all those incomplete or failed attempts you start to see patterns and instead of the blanks you notice the string of check marks, the small but significant wins. Sure you didn’t meet your goal of drinking 80 ounces of water everyday but you did develop a habit of starting your day with a full glass. Perhaps that stack of books you intended to read is now collecting dust on the corner of your desk but you did manage to unclutter a closest and your office space.
These are just a couple of examples of how I was not successful, but 2018, for me, was a huge success and I owe it to all of my failed attempts. It was through the disappointments that I began to really understand myself and what truly matters to me and those around me. Perfect example…I decided that I wanted to jump on the bandwagon of improving my marriage. Nothing wrong with that, right? My goal; set aside one evening every two weeks to be designated date nights. So far, so good? Not really. By the end of February we had managed one single, solitary date night. At first, I was furious with myself and with him. The more I tried to push the idea the more damage I caused. For several months I tried to make sense of why we had failed so spectacularly. Here’s the thing…wanting to improve is never bad, setting goals is important but when you’re talking about improving and goals that include another person, you really need to make sure you include them in the planning stages, not just the finished idea. By simply telling my husband that I wanted to improve our marriage and here’s how, what he heard was, “I’m not happy”, and here’s what you’re going to do about it. The result…date night was not something to look forward to, but something imposed upon him. Add the idea that he thought I was unhappy and well…Date Night Disaster 101.
More importantly, be sure the goal is right for you and your circumstances …I jumped on a bandwagon. I kept seeing all these people talking about set date nights and well, why not? What a great way to spend more time together and work on our communication and talk about our future, and…and…and…but what it really did was make me take the good in our relationship for granted and instead focus on everything I thought was wrong. Of course it’s not perfect; we’re imperfect people but we have an easy eb and flow. We get along and seldom argue. We both have our own hobbies and neither of us is completely dependent on the other. We joke and kid around and have fun together. There’s nothing wrong with setting a goal to improve but the goal needs to fit the circumstances and it needs to be set for the right reasons, not because it seems to be what works for everyone else. This year my goal for our relationship is to appreciate it. To focus on the good and instead of looking for the bad, it is my goal to be brave enough to confront it when it appears.
At the beginning of 2018 I was so excited about the goals I had set for myself. It had taken me a couple weeks to work through the process provided in the planner. It was the first time I had ever really taken that hard a look at my life and I walked into the new year confident that I was going to succeed. I didn’t. The number of blank boxes far outweighs the sporadic colored-coded check marks for each completed task and that’s a huge disappointment but the knowledge and clarity I gained about myself, my relationships and dreams is so worth it. This year my goals are simple and authentic to who I am. This year my goals are not to impress or to improve others. This year is about owning what I’ve learned, forgiving who I’ve been and moving forward.