New year, better me…I hope.

Over the next two Wednesdays, the Wickeds will be talking about past-year accomplishments and goal-setting for the new year. It’s a common conversation after the holidays, and something I’ve done like clockwork each year. I usually approach goals and resolutions in a very tactical fashion – writing goals, financial goals, overall career goals, resolutions to keep up with my Morning Pages, or exercise every day. Straightforward. Measurable. Something I can write in a notebook or keep in a file on my computer and return to every month or every quarter to see if I’m on track.

But this year, as I dutifully started thinking about those things, I noticed they didn’t seem like enough. Sure, I need to sketch out the tactics of my life. If I set – and write down – a goal to write three short stories, I can return to that note whenever I please to see how far along I am. Everyone needs something black and white to aim for.

Black and white, though, doesn’t tell you how you’re doing as a person. Checking off a box certifying that I wrote X amount of words, or published an essay, or did my Combat workouts six days every week is all well and good. For 2014, I want to keep track of how I’m changing for the better. I wasn’t quite sure how to measure that.

I’m a work in progress, as we all are. I know my areas of weakness and have made (some) headway in a lot of those areas, although not as much as a perfectionist like me would want. I’m obsessed with teachers like Dr. Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay, Julia Cameron and the like who focus on improving your mind and your attitude to improve your life, and I work hard on affirmations and positive thinking and gratitude. I’m fairly self-aware; I know when I’m not allowing everything I’ve learned to come through, when I’m not being my best self. I know when fear is stronger than love.

And that’s what I want to conquer this year – or at least noticeably improve. I have an amazing life filled with lots of love, the best kind of friends, two successful careers, and joy that is mine for the taking. This year, I want to take more of it.

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I want to let my gratitude and love shine through, every day. I want those people who love me to feel loved back, all the time. I want to get back to a place where I do what I love without worry or fear. I want to hoist life’s challenges up into a cloud of compassion and watch them disintegrate from the force of my strength. I want to smile and laugh my way through every day, no matter what, and focus on those I love.

So as I think about goals and resolutions, I finding more reflection necessary. Celebrating how far I’ve come, certainly, but also acknowledging the work I still need to do. I won’t have a box to check when I do a quarterly review, but I think there will be other ways to tell if I’m making progress.

7 Thoughts

  1. I like your thoughts Liz. To put it in the corporate language you use for your tactics, it’s like vision-setting in addition to annual goals.

    Do we improve ourselves from the inside out, or the outside in? I write about these two philosophies in my short story “Bread Baby” in Best New England Crime Stories 2014: Stone Cold.

    “Ms. Jameson believes you improve yourself from the inside out. Her motto is, ‘Be Your Best Self!’ Ms. Fraser, on the other hand, believes that if you set the perfect table, cook the perfect meal and serve it in a perfectly decorated dining room, your inner self will be whipped into compliance. They carry on this conversation through their TV shows and magazines, the great dialectic of our age, like Plato and Socrates, but with glossy photographs and a lot more product placement.”

  2. Lovely thoughts, Liz and say so much about the wonderful person you are. Thanks for sharing them. And Barb, I love you inside out/outside in thoughts.

  3. Liz, thank you for writing this. I have also found that affirmations are very important. I couldn’t do them nearly as well as I do now, until I started letting go of a lot of backstuff. Slowly, but sometimes quickly, the backstuff starts to allow a little room for affirmations to grow and fill that space the backstuff leaves.

    Barb, I will never see Plato or Socrates in a cave or at the Acropolis without Braun sandals or a Bean’s backpack.

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