Another new year has started, and unlike most new years in my life, I feel no desire to set any goals.
2017 started this trend. That was the first year when I didn’t set any goals. None. It was a very hard year. All I could do was get up, shower, and get through the day. I had to let setting goals go and I’m glad I did.
Then, in 2018, I set habits instead of goals. Here they are.
- Meditate for 10 minutes
- Create for 20 minutes
- Read for pleasure for 20 minutes
- Exercise for 20 minutes
- Sleep for 8 hours
I’m happy to report that I integrated most of these habits into my daily life, but I didn’t do #2 and #4 as much as I would have liked.
There were days when I wouldn’t create at all–no writing, no drawing, no notes, nothing. Some days it was because I was avoiding it and procrastinating, and some days it was because I simply didn’t feel like it. I tried to not beat myself up about it.
There were also days when I didn’t exercise. Not for 20 minutes. Not even for 10 minutes. It wasn’t good for me and I could feel it in my body. Again, I tried to not beat myself up over it.
Now, it’s 2019, and what I’ve realized is that I’d stop beating myself up over reaching or not reaching goals if I didn’t have them at all.
I don’t need them.
It feels liberating to write that.
I don’t need goals.
I do have desires though. Two of them.
The first is to keep doing things that feel good.
The second is to stop doing things that don’t feel good.
Are these goals?
Are they desires?
Something about the word ‘desire’ feels more welcoming to me than ‘goals.’ In fact, the word ‘goal’ brings up a strange feeling in me now.
For most of my life goals used to make me excited. Now, the thought of them turns me off.
It makes me heave a sigh and think, “Not goals again!” It makes me turn to my stuffed calico cat, give her a hug, and whisper, “Don’t people know that goals aren’t the way?” More on that in future posts, but suffice it to say, goals just don’t float my boat any more.
Does that mean I’m going to lounge on my couch and gaze at the beautiful trees and mountains all day? Well, yes, but that’s not all.
I’m going to go about each day in 2019 doing the things and habits that feel good (or that make me feel good after I do them). When something doesn’t feel good, I’m going to listen (instead of ignoring or rationalizing or thinking it away)…and stop doing it.
It sounds so simple but it’s harder than you think.
So, off I go into the new year with two desires at the core of my being: keep doing things that feel good and stop doing things that don’t. That’s it. I’ll let you know how it goes.
What about you? I’m curious what you think. Would you do me a favor and answer just two questions in the comment box below?
Do you set goals at the start of a new year? Why or why not?
Please comment and tell me what you think. I’d love to hear from you!
Peg Cheng is the author of The Contenders, a middle-grade novel that asks, can enemies become friends? She is currently querying a novel that is a re-imagining of the Snow White fairy tale set in 1980s Seattle. Peg is also the creator of Fear & Writing, a workshop for procrastinating writers from all walks of life.
Art: Snow White and Rose Red by Natsuki Otani.