In 1988, the University of Scranton did research to find out just how many people followed through on their New Year’s resolutions. It turns out that in America, over a period of years, it was just about 19%. But you really don’t need this statistic to tell you that many New Year resolutions end on pieces of paper, or with good intentions and a few first steps. You have your personal experience. Like your carefully laid out intention to lose weight. Vision kill 10 pounds. Except that vision began in 2014, then 2015, and now, seven years later with more pounds than you initially started off with, you have begun to suspect that desiring something strongly enough doesn’t automatically make it happen.
Of course, motivational speakers are beginning to get this memo too. So, even the original die-hard fans of New Year goal setting have started to slow down, take things easy. But what if there’s a way you can set goals that are almost impossible to fail? Sounds like a scam right? If we struggled before the pandemic, would it even be possible to fail-proof our plans? I strongly think so.
See, the problem is not necessarily our discipline or motivation, it’s the kind of goals we are setting. There are goals that are long and proactive. That require to show up today, tomorrow, and then the day after. Things like weight loss or saving that call for incremental effort. Then, there are also goals that depend on external variables. Like getting a job. Buying a house. Publishing a book. These goals are subject to industry needs and fluctuations Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying goals of these two categories are impossible. Just that the odds are a bit more complex. Now, imagine if you could set a goal that did not have to be incremental or external. Something for which the completion resides solely on your shoulders, but which did not come with the hassle of physical exertion or constant repetition.
I love the way the writer, Faith Hill, puts it. She said, instead of New Year resolutions, she created a list of small, good things. Hers, however, is slightly different because she created it at the end of 2021, to celebrate the uncelebrated wins she had in the year. While it functions as a gratitude list of sorts, I think it can give us a template to address the question of setting goals that are not external and require little to no physical exertion. So, in 2022, here a few small, good things I intend to do.
Yes, it’s hard and complex. But it’s one of the gifts I can give my heart this year. Get rid of relational roadblocks. I want to open my heart to more kindness and compassion. I don’t have to wait for a job offer from Google, I simply just need to work on my heart and allow the Universe to open me up to its infinite opportunities.
There’s no ballpark figure. It’s just a consciousness I intend to carry to help me become a more socially conscious and mentally present in the world. Here’s a thought: I don’t think you can be a constant giver and not pay attention. Yes, there’s a kind of abundance that affords people the luxury of giving carelessly. But most times, giving from a place of pain or contentment requires you to look closely. Pay attention. Listen more. Have empathy. Giving is not just about the things we lose, it’s also about the way we become different. How minimalism can stretch and expand us for the better.
I had my first conscious birthday ‘thing’ last year. Maybe it was something of the way I was raised, but I’d never seen the need to call people together, or to intentionally consider milestones as things to celebrate. So, one of the things I’m going to be doing is to take the center stage. Finish a story, have a drink. Wake up on Tuesday, call a friend for lunch. Feeling extra energetic, order cake. Or ice-cream. Though I’m not much of an ice-cream person. Lol.
Anyway, these are my three small-good things I intend to practice this year. What about you?