Phil Guest, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Common
The trick on any incredible journey is not to assume you know the destination. Many other people in your life will try to tell you where you are going; or even where to go if you cut them off in traffic.
Goals are not something to be won like an award. In fact, you are often left unsatisfied when you reach them. It really is true; the more you savor the journey, the more you enjoy your life.
Goodbye January! Resolutions are okay. But, if we fail in January, we risk limiting our potential for the entire year. In many cases, these feelings of failure are the key to why the rest of our year can feel empty. January is difficult enough without putting extra pressure on ourselves.
According to a University of Scranton (Shout out to Dunder Mifflin!) study in 2018 - 92% of people fail to reach their January resolutions. I don't know about you, but I've never been part of the top 8% of anything. So, if you failed to meet your New Year's goals, you're not alone.
tomdobb, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
If you were successful in January, congratulations. Keep it up and use the following tips to keep going strong throughout the year.
If you struggled to complete your resolutions like the guy in my mirror, currently brushing his teeth, give yourself a break. Perhaps you chose a goal that wasn't right for you or wasn't right for you at this moment.
Focus on what you did accomplish. I'm going to say that again, focus on what you did accomplish. We are often more than willing to take the time to beat ourselves up. But fail to give ourselves credit.
Grab a notebook and look back on the previous month. Review each day in your mind. and physically write down your wins. The act of writing helps make them feel more real. This simple step of acknowledgment can do wonders for what you will do next! Repeat this at the end of each month. At the end of the year, don't focus on resolving to fix where you failed. Instead, celebrate your wins.
4-Simple Steps to Make the Most of This Year and The Years to Come
Much has been written about goal setting. Setting goals is easy. The work is in ebbing and flowing with them as you go about your journey. Each month, in your notebook, take a moment to answer the following questions:
- Where Are You Going?
- Where Are You At?
- Where Have You Been?
- Where Are You Going Next?
These questions are much harder to answer than many people realize. You might be surprised to discover that it can be quite tricky when you stop and try to put your journey into words.
We become so accustomed to motion that we lose sight of our journey. I am intentional about saying journey and not the destination, as trite as it may sound. This phrase, for many, has become no more than a meme. But it really is the key to finding joy.
We often confuse "where" as being a destination when it is best observed as a direction. When you travel in a direction, you are still acting with intent. But without committing to a destination or a goal, you are free to explore, change direction, or even stop.
Having a set destination often forces you to rush. When you do this, you miss opportunities along the way. Imagine meeting the partner of your dreams or finding the perfect career. Only to pass them or it by because you have somewhere else to be?
Put that way, it sounds silly. But many of us live our lives just that way, following a prefixed path to an unknown destination. Sacrificing days and even years of our lives hoping to reach some mythical Emerald-Green City at the end of the Yellow Brick Road.
Every Moment in Your Life IS A Once in a Lifetime Moment
Courtney, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
"Don't miss the stuff that you love about this thing, because this is once in a lifetime." — David Alexanian
Actor Ewan McGregor tells a story in the docu-series Long Way Up. He reflects back on an earlier series that he starred in called Long Way Around. At one point, he and his riding partner, Charlie Boorman, became despondent. They were circumnavigating the globe on BMW Motorcycles. They were struggling to get through a remote area of Mongolia toward Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's capital. They were contemplating taking a quicker, shorter road and maintaining their schedule.
After talking it over with their show's producer David, they decided to stay the course. David said, "don't miss the stuff that you love about this thing, because this is once in a lifetime."
Those are words we all deserve to hear once in a while. We are each living our own once in a lifetime. Yet, we often exchange the joys of today for some unknown and certainly not guaranteed future happiness.
This is not always intentional. But to break the pattern, we must be intentional; know where we are going, and celebrate where we have been. Having goals to go somewhere new is exciting. But we shouldn't fixate so intensely that we miss the joyous moments of the road around us and the unexpected detours that give life purpose.
When Winners Beat Champions
As for Ewan, he and Charlied persevered through Mongolia. Their choice to skip the shortcut led them to a street shelter in Ulaanbaatar. There he met Jamyang. A young girl whom he would later adopt. Changing both of their lives forever!
The best goals are like Road Trips, not Trophies. Appreciate where you are going, and allow yourself to change the destination along the way.
Champions may be those who arrive first. But, I believe the real winners are those who enjoy the journey. After all, the best moments are often those we don't think to ask for.