Four days into the new year: how are you holding up? How are you making progress to the goals and commitments you set for yourself as you seek to be healthier/happier/more sane in the days, weeks, and months ahead?
Perhaps you didn’t set a single resolution. In fact, you’re scoffing at this post: oh, another piece on goal-setting in the new year. How cliche, Katie.
First: I kind-of like cliches, so there.
Second: Fine! Whether you are have established intentions for who you want to be and what you want to experience in this new year is moot. Because, I’m going to throw out a question that I bet you haven’t asked yourself yet:
How do you want to feel in 2018?
During an annual girls’ weekend last November, our friend Michelle posed this question to our group as we tromped through the woods in Uwharrie National Forest, our feet crunching the remnants of fall foliage into dust while the nearby shooting range provided a constant and eerie soundtrack.
How do you want to feel next year?
Michelle had been asked this question as part of a recent yoga teacher training and found it to be incredibly illuminating. Feelings don’t typically factor into goal-setting. Our resolutions are most commonly born from desired behavioral shifts (“I want to spend less money on Amazon” or “I want to spend more time with my friends”) and measurable accomplishments (“I want to lose X pounds” or “I want to work out X number of times each week”). But, it’s not often that we associate particularly feelings with these goals.
Sure, we can assume that we will likely experience greater happiness due to successful integration and completion of our resolutions. But, is happiness the only feeling we want in our lives? And, are our goals really means to an end goal called happiness? If so, we may need to re-evaluate how we craft our resolutions moving forward.
How do I want to feel this year? Here’s what I offered to the group and now to you:
- Challenged: As I outlined in a previous blog post, I felt like I hit a professional wall in terms of my ability to stretch and grow in 2017. Part of that was due to misalignment between what I was doing and what fulfilled me. Part of it was also due to a hunger to take on new responsibilities and tasks that were out of my comfort zone. Lo and behold, this is where I am now: a new job with a great deal of expectations for me and by me. I want to build up my resilience and grit again — and diving into the deep end as a full time development director will put me in the position to be challenged each and every day.
- Free: I’m not referring to the freedom encapsulated (whether real or symbolic) in the Bills of Rights to the U.S. Constitution. For me, I wanted to feel free to dictate my schedule and calendar once again. By the end of last year, I was fried. I forgot what true relaxation meant (and I also continued to insist upon a life of productivity — look at all that I’m doing every moment! Never waste an opportunity to do something!). Bologna. With freedom comes choice on how to spend my time and remove the shackles of social pressures of what I should spend my time doing. No one should feel shame for taking time to read a book for pleasure. Could you be washing your kitchen floor? Learning a foreign language? Sending out one more work email? Of course. But, what will be lost, forever, if you make one of those other choices is your ability to feel free and empowered to refill your cup in a way that satisfies you. We spend a lot of our time working to satisfy others. Feel the freedom to put your needs and care first when you can.
How do you want to feel in 2018? Acceptance? Joyful? Curious? If you’ve set resolutions, what feelings can you attribute to each of your goals?