I usually make goals for the new year. My dear friend, Anna, and I will make a list of a few different goals we have, swap lists, and then (ideally) discuss throughout the year, offer encouragement and feedback, and then do a year-in-review conversation after it's all said and done.
This year (2013) our conversation went something like this:
Anna: We haven't talked about resolutions yet.
Me: I recently looked over my 2013 goals and felt immense failure. Zero accomplishment.
Anna: I was worried about that for myself.
Me: Have you looked at yours?
Anna: Yeah...not so much.
Me: Well. This was a year of lots of transition for both of us. So there's that.
Anna: There is that.
Listen. This is ok. I mean, it's not what you hope for when you set goals for a year, but there's got to be grace. Another dear friend, Cameron, recently sent me this in response to an "SOS-I'm-freaking-out-about-the-things-I-need-to-get-done-but-have-not-done" email, and I love it. (I have really great friends.)
So...in light of that great reminder, we'll try again this year. (In my and Anna's defense, we've been doing this goal-setting for a few years now and I think this is the first year that neither of us has accomplished any of the goals we set).
We have yet to swap our official 2014 goal list, although I'm hopeful that we still will. It's just that I find it difficult to set goals when I'm facing such a huge, life-changing event like "having a baby". It's just so UNKNOWN.
Ok yes, every year is a huge unknown; this is true. But...you usually have some sort of "idea" or, if you're really overachieving (knock it off), a PLAN for the year. Some super high-functioning people may even be able to adjust their goals based on transitions/changes they did not anticipate over the course of the year, therefore still successfully meeting these goals when the year closes, despite the unexpected twists and turns. THOSE people...ugh. I'm out of breath just considering this (that may be pregnancy though, who can tell?).
I digress. What I think I'm trying to say is that I'm super aware of how hugely UNKNOWN this year is...and that is a vulnerable feeling. I prefer to at least live with the delusion of control over what may happen, therefore shaping my goals based on what I can expect the year to look like. For example, one of my goals for last year was to learn German (not fluently, of course, but to at least become conversational). This was based on my expectation that I would have time to invest in working through Rosetta Stone lessons throughout the year. Woops. The first half of the year I was drowning (not dramatic, true) in work and did not have one extra drop of time or mental energy to put into German lessons. Then we found out I was pregnant, I stopped working full-time, and it was downhill from there. I can order food like a champion, but if our German conversation veers from what I want to eat, suddenly mein Deutsche ist nicht sehr gut.
That being said, looking at this year, I don't know what goals to set. I know what I'd LIKE to accomplish, but there is the fear that this baby will so turn our world upside down that come December 2014, I'll look back and laugh over the goals I set. Is that a reason to not make goals? No, certainly not. But I just don't even know where to begin.
Cameron, of the above "grace not perfection" reminder, was offering encouragement to me and passed along a great tip that she had picked up from a design/organizational blog she follows...make a to-do list that only has 3 lines. Limitless to-do lists are too overwhelming (and if you don't cross off the majority or all of the items, you feel defeated. And by "you" I mean "me")...so choose the 3 most important things and focus on those. And they don't have to be things you dread, like "all the laundry". It's YOUR list, so if one of your items is "quality time with Z: feed him a real dinner and sit next to him on the couch", that is totally allowed. Bonus! You'll feel like a boss when you cross that off the list. Anyways, this approach seems right up my alley (especially these days when my energy is so very limited. Where is this 3rd trimester energy surge that I keep hearing about?).
I think I will do this with 2014 goals. Choose 3 "most important" things. Tangible things that I want to focus on regardless of what the year brings...things that will be beneficial for me, for Z, for our new family with Baby Landis...that I can look back on and say "Yes, I accomplished this, in spite of the changes and transitions and unexpected things. Cross it off the list."
So. That's what I'm thinking. This feels manageable and, for me, better than throwing up my hands and counting this year as a "pass" for any focused personal improvement and growth because it just feels too hard or overwhelming in lieu of what we're facing.
3 things. I can do that.