New year new directions

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The start of a new year inspires many to make new resolutions, new goals, new ideas, new relationships etc. It’s a new year and we all want it to better the last; we want to be happier, healthier, wealthier- we all want to be a better person. I am no different.

Like many, I used to write down a list of things I wanted to achieve in the year ahead: I want to be happier (but what will make me happier?), I want to be lose Xkgs (what do I need to do?), I want to make £X amount of money and the list goes on..I tend to stop at about ten items. Not surprisingly, at the end of the year most of the items on the list remains unticked or worse, forgotten.

I realized that my list of resolutions and goals was too long- they were not simple and certainly not minimal. Focusing on a few key areas instead helps me to concentrate my energy and efforts on the items that mean the most to me and hence are the most important. Secondly, I’d  listed many ‘what’ I want and not enough ‘how’ am I going to do it or crucially ‘why’ am I doing it. The ‘why’ is usually a lot more meaningful and inspiring than the ‘what’ and will tend to drive us towards what we want with more conviction and success.

This year, I made it a point not to set any specific goals. Not because I think goals are no good but because I want allow myself to explore within areas and directions and to see where they take me. Having no resolutions or goals doesn’t mean I’m heading blindly into the dark- far from it. It is more about the direction rather than the destination. There are mountains in the north, oceans in the south, forests in the west and towns to the east. If I want to go up the mountain, I head north and if I care for the forests, I turn west and so on. The great thing about following a direction rather than heading straight towards a destination allows me to enjoy the journey and be open to opportunities along the way which I would likely have missed if I had been  focused on getting to a destination. These opportunities might enable me to learn more about myself, about others or  shed light on other opportunities that might inspire me onto a new direction and journey altogether.

For the next 12 months, my key focus areas are growth and contribution– both are crucial to living a meaningful and fulfilling life. Anything I do will hopefully add towards progress in these two areas. Living a meaningful life will make me happier; focusing on my passions and interests will help me grow my business and wealth and so would contributing and giving value to others; simply slowing down and enjoying my food and being aware of what I eat will help me become healthier; spending more quality time with loved ones will help grow my relationships and make them more fulfilling; spending time alone with myself will help me to reflect and be in touch with myself and in the process grow as a person. It all boils down to being more intentional, aware and open, not just towards where I’m headed but to the beauty and opportunities around me. If I’m enjoying the journey and happy with the direction I’m heading, that is sufficient motivation. I don’t need goals or destinations.

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COMMENTS (6)

  1. In my 20s I used to set New Years resolutions, and then after a week or two never give them another thought. In my 30s, I decided writing down those goals was pointless and just setting myself up for failure and I didn’t do it for years on end. Still no progress, but no sense of failure either.
    Last year at 40 something and reading minimalist blogs on and off for 2 years, I decided to give it another try. Typically, I set the bar way to high, committing to getting rid of 1825 items from our home (5/day all year). By breaking it into 5 per day I thought I was making it completely manageable. I managed to keep up the pace until late May 2012, then outdoor projects and summer holidays etc derailed my progress. Once the momentum was broken I never resumed in the fall.
    At New Years I again was faced with deciding whether to reset my goals or throw my hands up and say “see, it doesn’t work”. I’ve decided to continue my attempt to get our home and lives pared down and under control. This time I’m assinging each room a specific month on the calendar. Each month I’ll accomplish as much as I can within that room. No fixed numbers of items to purge. Just a month, a room, and the goal of making some progress. If this goes well, I may repeat the process next year and make the rounds and gain a little more ground in each room. I plan to take some notes as I work through each room, identifying where I feel I made good progress and perhaps a highlevel description of what I got rid of. If the room doesn’t get “done” in the month, I want to be able to focus on what I did accomplish and not how much is left to do.

    1. Hi JMK,
      Thanks for sharing- life is a journey and lived through trial and error. There is no right or wrong- just do whatever works. If you feel good, you’re on the right track :o).

  2. Hi! I found my here from Miss Minimalist. I, too, have made resolutions that were too lofty. I just saw them as learning opportunities–I grew quite a bit for trying to achieve them, even if I didn’t make it. Remember that life, EVERYTHING, is about the journey, not the destination.

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