Happy New Year!

There’s magic in beginnings. A new year brings reflection and hope.

Setting Goals

I’ve been thinking about my goals for 2016. I was always on the fence about setting New Year’s goals, and then this past summer I decided to train for a marathon, and I followed a workout schedule. What a difference it made! Simply having a daily plan led to me completing 20 miles something I never would’ve done had I just kept going to the gym without a plan. That experience taught me the importance of creating a schedule and following it like a yellow brick road that leads to a pot of gold.

Then I started thinking about inner and outer goals. My goals have always been things I’ve wanted to achieve like writing a novel, posting on this blog every week, running a marathon and learning to speak Spanish. All outer goals that leave me constantly striving, working towards something or feeling guilty because I’m not working hard enough or I’ve let it slip completely off my radar. Yeah, Spanish is on this year’s list now.

What I’ve learned about outer goals is that if I don’t make a plan for how I’m going to achieve them, it’s not going to be achieved. There are too many daily distractions that can get in the way. At least, if I’ve been following a schedule to meet my goals if I veer off track for a day or two, I’ll come back to it because I’ve formed a habit and I’ll be able to look back at my schedule and see how far I’ve come. It’s motivation to keep going.

I enjoy setting outside goals. However, there’s a terrible side effect. Constantly striving. Striving brings me excitement and purpose, but it doesn’t give me a sense of daily fulfillment. Yes, if I’ve run 10 miles and completed my training for the day I feel good just not completely fulfilled. There’s a lack of peace brought about by striving. That’s where inner goals hold their importance. I discovered that when I set goals for myself to love, be creative, and to discover the beauty that surrounds me every day it fills me with a sense of wholeness. I feel complete. Good enough. Content. Inner goals can take away the pain of striving for my outer goals.

This year I will not only make a plan for how I’ll achieve my outer goals like learning Spanish, but I will make a plan for how I will remember to focus on my inner goals as well. The funny thing is the end result of achieving an outer goal can make me believe that once achieved it will bring about feelings of peace and fulfillment.  It may for a short time, and then it will fade leaving an emptiness that can only be filled by more striving. The feeling of fulfillment comes from inner goals, and the magic of focusing on love, beauty and creativity is that the feelings of peace they bring can be felt every day of the year.

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