I am so over goal setting. I think in this day and age of fast paced, constant evolution and uncontrollable outside influence, they are just another way to find yourself beating yourself up when you fall short of the goals you set yourself to complete in a year.
I am kind of unpackaging the theory of SMART goals…
I believe Time and Specific are too rigid, leaves no room for change or improvement. And after the last year, I am more about ‘feelings’, than things, titles, pay cheques.. And I don’t believe you can measure feelings accurately. In the pursuit of happiness throughout 2017 and a return to joy – there are moments, sometimes short and sometimes long. But a measurement of happiness? I am not sure it is appropriate to scale and I am not sure I could describe it.. When does ‘I am no longer unhappy, become happy?’ or ‘I am happy, become overcome with joy?’
That leaves achievable and realistic. Well, realistic is easy to rule out. Why be realisitic? Where is the fun in that? And it also caps your limits, your expectations. Reach for the stars and at least you may make the moon. I would rather go big and bold, daring and brave and know at least I tried.
And achievable.. well again, after the experience of last couple of years, I think anything is achievable, even when it seems impossible.
So for 2018, I am all about Intention setting and that is my new way forward. Same headings, different motive, different questions. What is my intention, what is my primary focus this year for my family and relationships, for my health, for my social wellbeing, for my career, purpose and finances?
I much prefer this way of looking at the year ahead; I can’t anticipate what will happen, what fate or other people’s actions and decisions will have on the course and bearing of my life. Being too prescriptive can end up being disappointing and totally disheartening. I would rather answer the question – did I make progress in this area, rather than, did I achieve my goal?
Today, as I started my 43rd year, I should have applied the same logic – rather than being too prescriptive, I should have just left it with the first intention… To have a family day that rocked! And let the day unfold.
Instead, I added in criteria for success – to have hot rocks and go to Brimham Rocks, things I know we all love to do as a family. Have a lazy morning with papers and sharing our 2018 intentions. Make birthday cake and watch family movies.
I suppose now comes the shitty first draft of a 42 years young Birthday Girl on a sofa feeling sorry for herself who just can’t get past the small annoyances, only making me more grumpy.
In reviewing our joint ‘intentions’ for the year ahead, we are aligned in all areas except one. The social aspect. Where I to continue to draw a line under the previous years, our first marriage, find new friends, new events and grow and add to a circle of close friends who inspire me and match my intentions with their positivity, openness, philanthropy, abundance, big ideas.. I felt that we were miles apart with the Big Man’s intentions to reconnect with friends lost in the drama, go back to ‘old’ events on the social calendar. Apparently, I make him feel guilty for doing so, or wanting to do so.
Perhaps It touched a nerve. My defensive attitude and dip into a negative frame of mind was obvious.
But in my defense, my explanation, to me is rational. I can’t go back and nor do I want to. I cannot, nor will not, go back to a social scene that makes me feel shame; where the judgement of others is obvious, not only of what he did, but also of how I have responded. I cannot, not will not, go back to a time in my life that to me now was fake, all a lie; how in those times I was happy, positive, proud of our marriage, family and accomplishments only to find out it was all based on my naivety and part truth. In certain circles, social events, feel like I am wearing the jester’s outfit and the world is laughing at the biggest joke in town.
My excitement in showing my faith in the future felt diminished by a return to dredge up the past. And so my bubble of excitement was kind of burst. After that, the rest of my exciting plans lost their lustre.
And so did I.
And perhaps that is why the day unfolded as it did; disjointed and disappointing. A run amongst the heather and peat with my eldest a highlight, but not the family frolic I had hoped for as my youngest decided to throw his bad mood and anger and spoilt nature in my face.
A mirror, being held up in my face. A reflection of how I am feeling inside. Blamed for the unhappiness and the guilt, makes me want to throw away my plans and intentions and shout and scream ‘I don’t care, I hate you all!’ and sit on a rock and not join in the fun.
But he is 8. And I am 42. Old enough to know better.
So I will put away my intentions. And go with the flow.
And the flow is carrying me to the cake they have all been making in the kitchen. Their smiles and love poured in to the cake will wash away my guilt and unhappiness and replace it with the very same.