I did not make any New Years resolutions for 2016. I’ve never been a big resolution-maker. I know myself too well and I know that promises to myself will be the first to go when things get tough.
But I have, over the years, become a better goal-setter. Especially since my Coro Fellowship, which focused on clarifying values and setting goals in order to more fully live out those values.
Because what are goals, anyway? Goals are the acknowledgement that I am not perfect and that there is a possible me out there that I can get to. They are also a set of steps of how I imagine I can make that possible me the real me. Getting better at imagining steps that I make happen is part of the process of being better
In early December 2015, recognizing that the me I was going around living inside of was not at all the me I wanted, I stopped pretending to write in my journal (which I had been neglecting for some weeks), and bought a new notebook. And this notebook is something, let me tell you! Its cover is soft teal pleather with gold dots in a trendy chevron pattern streaming downward across its surface. The pages are a fine and pleasing shade of cream, smooth, thick enough to feel substantial. And it claims to be made from 60% recycled paper and non-toxic soy-based ink, so it soothes my guilt machine.
Inside the notebook, I wrote this message to myself:
I bought this journal intending to give it as a Christmas gift, but I’ve decided to use it for myself instead. Last week, I laid out a daily / weekly / monthly map of small goals for making myself feel more “on purpose,” more connected to my joy. I’ve decided to use this journal as a log to track my progress and my challenges with those goals.
In the past, layering too much structure onto my journaling has been a source of pressure and stress. If this journal / log becomes stressful, I give myself permission to stop and use the book for something else. But I hope that it will become a soothing ritual to end each day. No pressure. If I can’t fill in one or any of the spaces one day, I promise to keep loving myself.
Let’s see how this goes.
And so far, it has gone well! At the end of each day, I log my SLEEP, my BODY, my FOOD, my JOY, and my GRATITUDE. Did I sleep enough, and was the sleep deep? Did I move my body enough and how did my body feel throughout the day? What did I eat, and was it enough and was it good food? What brought me joy today? What am I thankful for today?
In the many other repetitive thought patterns that cycle throughout my day, this one practice has become a ritual of reminding myself what I find to be important.
There have been days when I’ve had to forgive myself for forgetting to log before I went to bed. And some days I can’t think of anything that brought me true joy. And I have forgiven myself, and gone on to the next day.
I’m still not a perfect goal-setter, just as I’m not a perfect me. Or, I should say, I’m great at setting goals, but not so much at sticking to them. This practice of logging my day has been easy to stick to, and so I file that away in my self-knowledge file and hope to be able to use it to stick to other goals too.
How do you hold yourself to your goals or resolutions?