It is New Year’s Eve, so I figured that a post about resolutions would be appropriate. And besides, if you haven’t already picked up on it, I like goals. I think that they are a wonderful way to accomplish the things you want in life. They can keep you from spending time needlessly doing things that you really don’t plan on doing. I mean honestly, did I really want to spend an entire hour on Facebook when I had just gotten on the internet to check my e-mail?
Although, on the other end of the spectrum, I don’t want to make so many goals that it becomes all I focus on.
We have to be careful about how we use goals. It’s a warning sign if you’re making goals because you think you are not enough – not popular enough, not successful enough. That is not the point of them. The point is liberation. Practical life goals, like starting to invest or signing up for that photography class you’ve always wanted are meant to be freeing. The purpose of our goals should be to give us more freedom, not to weigh us down. Having a schedule that you stick to rigidly leaves no room for an unexpected conversation with a friend, helping out a stranger, or a well-deserved bubble bath. Goals are good, but if we forget our primary vocation: to love – love God and love others – they mean nothing.
Don’t get too excited. I’m not saying that we should just throw schedules out the windows.
Scheduling and making goals in the right way will give you freedom to love others and also allow you to relax and be refreshed. We don’t need to “plan” the spontaneous fun out of life. But for myself, I need a set time to go work out or spend time in Adoration or else I won’t do it. We are able to acquire virtues like generosity or temperance by making them a habit. You could also consciously strive to acquire humility as well, but if you’re like me, tripping over your own feet suffices quite well and quite often…
As I had mentioned in my previous post about the connection of being a person of action and happiness, I happened to find a great quote from Benjamin Disraeli:
“Action may not always bring happiness;
but there is no happiness without action.”
So, if you are excited about the new year and are writing out the goals you want to accomplish, I have heard and read a lot of advice about making goals, and here are a few ideas that I have found the most helpful. 1.) Prayer is an important step to discerning what goals are worth working towards. 2.) The purpose of goals are not to one-up other people or compete with your personal view of their success. 3.) Look for making resolutions that don’t lose importance to you with the absence of other people. 4.) Do a regular review of your goal progress. I’ve found that it is equally as important as making a plan for your resolution. I have a tendency to work towards my goal but not review them and then realize that 3 months went by without any significant progress.
Today, New Year’s Eve, is a day to prepare for new beginnings. With that comes memories of the year before, the new friends we’ve met, the embarrassing stories we add to the list of never mentioning again, and the excitement of a new semester (minus the pain of paying for new books…)
Have a fun New Year’s Eve!