At this time of year I normally trot out the obligatory goals and resolutions to be aimed for in the following twelve months. It just seems such a natural time to revisit the year that has been and think forward to the one to come. If I had not recently replugged myself back into Zen Habit‘s feed via Google+ I would be walking down this well worn track again for 2012.
This year is going to be different though. It is going to be the year where I experiment with the idea of having no resolutions and no goals*.
Starting with this guest post about living without goals for 100 days which nudged the idea into my head I began to wonder why I set goals and what they did, or didn’t do, for me. Then a bit later came this post about kicking the self-improvement drive which led me to start thinking about how the urge to improve myself merges in to the setting of goals and creates a perpetual cycle. Now this cycle could be a good thing, or it could be a bad thing. If it brings misery and stress, even if it is only a nagging sensation at the back of your mind, then clearly it is not contributing to a great life. Isn’t that the whole point of self-improvement and setting goals – achieving something positive and better in our lives.
Then I began to think about my angry shelf and things started to click for me. Some of the things I have been doing have been creating unwanted and unrecognised stress.
At this point I’m beginning to get the feeling that maybe some of my hardest to crack issues may be permanent in my life unless I take a new approach to things. Then like all good things, along comes this post about trying new approaches and ditching the end view for the process view. In regular language, ditch the goals and work on the habits.
This is the point that I finally got it. 2012 shouldn’t start with another list of “I should do this, that or the others”, it should be about establishing an array of habits that lead to a content person and a happier life.
This could be seen as a bit semantic, but it seems to me that the idea is to focus on the present, what you are doing today and tomorrow, not on those big goals that seem unattainable. Getting up half an hour early every day and writing a page or two while everyone around you is still sleeping seems much more attainable that “write the next great novel”. And who knows just where those small daily habits may lead you.
I’ll tell you come December 31, 2o12 just where, if anywhere, my no resolution year has taken me. Feel like joining me?
Let me know what goals you are ditching and what habits you are planning to start.