Goal-setting and New Years Resolutions often get a bad wrap. I know many people who scoff at the idea of setting goals. “What’s the point? People don’t keep those resolutions anyway.” According to Forbes, only 8% ever meet their resolutions.
I get that. I get the fear of failure. I get the desire to not waste time on thinking through goals that won’t be met anyway.
But I disagree.
I think there is a great point to setting goals. It doesn’t have to just be at New Years. It can be at any natural transition, which can be as basic as Monday morning, summer break, the birth of a new baby, or the start of a new school year.
If you set a goal, you might not achieve it. That’s true. That is probably even likely. But what if you achieve part of it? What if by working on that goal, you improve yourself in some way? Isn’t a quarter of the hoped progress better than none of it?
And what if you don’t set that goal? What do you gain? Maybe you retain some measure of pride? Pride that you didn’t fail because you didn’t even try?
What if you achieve that goal?
Goals reflect our desires. Perhaps that is one reason we can shy away from them. It is scary to reach for something we want in our hearts and then not achieve it. It is much easier on the heart, in the moment, to go along living life without striving for much.
I can’t help but wonder how we will feel when we look back on our lives, though. Will we regret not trying? Will we sadly wish we have done more to achieve our potential in life? Will we recognize that we could have done more with our time here?
I am a big believer in goal setting. It is a habit I started as a child and continue today. I set resolutions each year. I also set other goals throughout the year. It isn’t a only once a year activity for me, but a new year is a perfect time to make a plan for the next 12 months.
Four years ago, I had an idea to start a musical at our elementary school. I had so much fun participating in musicals when I was in elementary and I wanted my kids to have the same opportunity. I went through the channels and got it approved.
Three years ago, I put the ball in motion. I was terrified. TERRIFIED. I didn’t have any training on how to direct a musical. I reached out to the parents at the school and had a handful step in and say they would help me. I didn’t know any of them well, and some I wouldn’t have recognized if I passed them on the street. We moved forward.
I secretly hoped it would fall through and our request for a licence would be denied. I hoped we would be delayed by a year. Did I mention I was terrified?
We were approved in the end. Then right before auditions, I got hurt playing basketball and ripped
the tendons in my foot. I was left barely able to walk–it took me 20 minutes to walk 20 feet in those early days. The whole task seemed even more daunting. I prayed on my knees in tears, unsure of how I was going to make this work.
By some miracle, it all worked out. One woman I didn’t know at all when we first started this journey is now one of my dearest friends in life. The ladies I work with have grown to be women I kind of knew to my close friends. The children have learned and gained so much over the years. It is truly a great accomplishment of my life, and I will look back on the goal to do it with great fondness for as long as I live. Sometimes the scariest goals are the most rewarding.
Last year, I posted my resolutions for the year of 2016. As I look back on them, I see some are completed and some are in still in the works. For some, big barriers came up that I had no control over. For example, with my goal to organize my photos, I got a new computer, but the computer constantly froze. It made it so I didn’t “move in” to it. We took it to computer place after computer place over the course of 7 months. They never found the problem. One random day at the end of October, a friend who just enjoys computers, found and fixed the problem. Wahoo! So I have made some progress, but most of my year was spent not being able to even work on the goal. It can’t be helped, and I don’t feel like a total failure. I will continue on and the world will also keep moving along without much notice. If any.
I didn’t lose five pounds this year. I weigh basically the exact same, give or take a few ounces depending on the day. I am definitely more fit and in better shape. I went down a pants size. I am also more at peace with who I am. I feel really good as I am. As I thought about my goal to lose weight, I acknowledged that I would then just want to lose more weight. I spent some time and effort really working to accept me as me. I met that goal, and that is worth way more than 5 pounds.
That is the kind of progress we can get from setting goals. We might start with one goal, and as we work on it, realize, that isn’t the real goal we should be after. So we adjust and modify to be what makes the most sense.
With those stories said, here are four reasons you should set goals.
1-Goals Help Us Achieve: Don’t be afraid of failure. Yes, you might fail if you try. If you don’t try, you definitely fail.
2-Goals Help Us Identify What Matters: When we have goals, we realize what it is we really want to be doing in life. It helps us cut out things that don’t line up with the direction we want to be heading. It gives us a focus on what we really do view as most important.
3-Goals Give Us Hope and Direction: In Alice and Wonderland, the Cheshire Cat tells Alice that if she doesn’t know where she wants to go, it doesn’t matter which path she takes. That is true for all of us. Without goals, our day to day lives can follow any path, even paths that lead nowhere, and it won’t matter.
4-Goals Help Us Live Without Regret: You will not be happy to look back on life and wonder what your point was. Even if you are living life as “just” a stay at home mom and thinking, “I stay home all day and take care of my kids. No aspirations even possible here,” you are wrong. What goals could you make to fulfill that role without regret? When Brinley was born, I made a goal to just enjoy that newborn time. I don’t love the newborn period and was always anxious to see it pass with my other children. That isn’t to say I didn’t love moments or days with them, but overall, I was wishing the days away. With Brinley, I wanted to savor it and appreciate it for what it was. And I did! It sounds simple and it didn’t change the world, but it is something I am happy to have learned to do, and mastering that has helped me overall be more patient and content with stages in life.
Like I said, I love goals. Here are some of my other thoughts on the process. Click on the image to read all about it: