A New Take on Old Goals: Finishing 2014’s Business

New Year 2015 blog pic copyA day or so ago, my friend asked, “What’s going to be new for you in 2015?”

With not much thought, I half-jokingly offered, “I’ve decided nothing will be new.”

To me, that response seemed a lot more honest and realistic than so many of the half-hearted, half-baked resolutions and not-so-plans that so many of us wag about this time of year.

“Not even a goal to finally hit an ever moving target?” my skeptical friend pushed on, burrowing in a bit deeper.

It’s not that I imagine inactivity will be my emblem in 2015, I went on to explain. There always are goals. I plan to accomplish a number of things that I set out to do, and to overcome several that inevitably will catch me off guard.

However, the truth is in the way years develop, many more things remain the same from the previous year than change in subsequent ones. The evolutionary process is mostly imperceptible and controls itself to a much greater extent than I’d like to assign credit.

History has proven that much of what so many of us recast as new is re-works of old plans we never quite accomplished to our satisfaction.

Weight we didn’t lose last year still needs to be lost this year, or kept off if we achieved that goal. Money we didn’t earn in 2014 still needs earning in 2015 . Career fluctuations and business decisions are far too constant to associate with the dropping of a ball; we set those goals by the quarter, not the year.

Really, once we peel back the skin, how much of what we label “new” in the new year is all that different from what we branded as new 12 months ago? How much of this is just finishing 2014’s business?

My friend’s question gave me an opportunity to examine new year’s goals differently than before. It helped me discover that while goals matter, that’s not necessarily where we should place our focus.

Rather, we should understand WHY the goals even exist at all.

When we get a broader fix on our role in the universe and the part we hope to play, we begin to assign ourselves tasks that have greater substance and meaning. We start setting out things to do that fulfill a greater purpose and excite our invisible core. We beam with more than just January enthusiasm. It’s a sustained excitement that carries us through each goal, that carries us through the year.

That’s not to say our resolutions or goals will monumentally change. We may still decide dropping pounds, or joining a gym, or getting a better job, or reducing debt or finding a mate belong on our 2015 to-do list. However, when we see how those objectives fit within the bigger picture that is our total selves and our contribution to others, the ensuing list becomes much more strategic.

Instead of some well-rehearsed, perfunctory collection of must-dos that get done until we tire of doing them, our goals become the stuff of life — not merely of life in 2015.

-Jonathan Clarke
January 3, 2015
(c) Copyright 2014 Jonathan Clarke, All rights reserved

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