I am a goal setter. In fact, January 1st my daughter and I go to a locally owned, quaint coffee shop and spend a few hours reviewing the goals we set last year, making a host of new ones for the upcoming year. Here are a few from my 2013 list:
Pretty typical and uninspiring. The other problem is that they are not measurable and my goal list is too long to remember on a day-to-day basis. In fact, when setting goals it is essential that they are measurable so that they can be evaluated in the end. If you set out to “try one recipe a month” you will know whether you have achieved that goal. However, “get fit” is less helpful when determining if there is success. A better goal might be to “Lose 10 pounds” or even “trim down so that my clothes no longer feel tight.”
I have always made a goal list because I love this sort of thing and it serves a great purpose. However, once I read the piece about receiving in 2009, mentioned in the previous blog, I discovered that I wanted to approach each year also with an overarching theme to direct my actions through out the year. I then embarked on an “Open to Receive” year, setting an intention to beckon this to my life. Within two weeks I won an iPod at a tradeshow and received a large check from my mother who wanted to contribute to my business. I was expecting something along the lines of “receiving love from others” but was quick to realize how helpful my setting a theme of the year was and opened myself up to receiving anything and everything.Here are some potential themes:
Forgiveness: think Jean Valjean in Les Miserables continuously forgiving Inspector Javert. If he can do it, so can you.
Simplify: get rid of things that weigh you down, step out of the commitments that do not fortify your life.
Get organized: Go through a different room of your house each month and clear out the clutter.
Adventure: take a road trip and stop at all the cool spots along the way.
Listen: no explanation needed. We could all benefit from doing more of this.
Move outside the Box: Take steps in a new direction.
Heritage/Value the past: make your grandmother’s recipes, learn to knit, visit the town you were born in, visit family members and talk about their ancestors and past and record it.
Courage: get a new job, do something you know you need to do but are afraid to take the first step.
Romance: rekindle your relationship with your spouse. Not in a relationship? Write a list of your “must haves” in a partner and let the universe bring that person to you.
Give: Try giving something of yourself one time a month (time, money, attention). Think about friends and family that can really use your help, time and talents.
Open to Receive: Pay attention to kind, helpful things that come your way. It may be as easy as someone holding the door for you or saying, “Can I help in any way?” Take people up on their offer to help out. We do not have to do this alone. Welcome their kindness. Understand that people show love in different ways.
Strength: This does not have to mean “work out” or “get fit”-though wouldn’t that be great? It might mean defining your belief system and living with integrity. It could be changing up how you eat to better align with a strong body and spirit.
Restraint or Self Control: Stop buying Starbucks and the things that contribute to financial stress. If we took a short break from getting new things, it would be amazing how long it would take us to eat through our cupboards, freezer and refrigerator or wear out our clothes. What about eliminating one thing for each month of the year like eating sugar, eating out, buying new clothes or shoes, drinking caffeine, high-priced coffee drinks, or alcohol?
Be: Perhaps this year you need to stop trying so hard. You might want to just do your best, appreciate what you have and who you are and know that you are right where you should be. Stop being so hard on yourself and just be in a place of gratefulness. A wise friend of mine recognized that everyone in her family is in turmoil. Her husband is changing jobs, one daughter is leaving for college, the other just finished college and is job hunting. She is choosing to “be” while everyone else is in transition.
I will close with . . .
Grateful: We all need to have this theme as a life theme, not just a year theme. When we focus on all that we have rather than what we do not, we are much happier. I have read and often heard that compared to any time in history, we live in the safest, most peaceful time (CNN video about this idea.) Women have more advantages and freedoms than ever. This we can be grateful for.
Spend a moment before January ends choosing a theme for your year. Let this theme direct your choices and actions. Put this word on your steering wheel, bathroom mirror or refrigerator as a constant reminder and live with intention, beckoning this to your life.