In my last post, I outlined my goals for the year related to shopping and my wardrobe. Although those goals are ambitious, they weren’t difficult for me to write. I am aware of the changes I want to make in those areas and I have a concrete plan for how to make them happen.
Today’s post focuses on my goals for the rest of my life and it wasn’t nearly as easy for me to write. While I am aware of my discontent with various aspects of my life and I have some sense for what I’d like to see change, the route I need to take is unclear. It feels as if I’m walking through a deep fog with little sense of the path in front of me.
One Oil Barrel at a Time…
I’m reminded of a story from the book, “Eat that Frog” (sounds disgusting, but it’s about productivity, not strange eating habits!). The author had driven across the Sahara Desert (500 miles across!) many years earlier along a desolate road with little variation in terrain. The only distinguishing features were the oil barrels that had been placed along the track every five kilometers as road markers. In order to stay on course, the author just focused on reaching one oil barrel at a time until he arrived at his destination.
So I’ll do the same with my 2014 “Full Life Project.” I will set a few targets now based upon what I know. As the year progresses, I may opt to set new goals and broaden the scope of my endeavor if necessary. As a self-professed control freak, I like to have things all planned out before I embark on any new project. However, I’m aware that we don’t always have the answers and we can’t know the play-by-play of every life adventure before it begins.
Beginning with Two Simple Words
In my last post of 2013, I shared a link to a wonderful article titled “One Powerful Word: A Simple Approach to New Year’s Resolutions.” The author suggests that instead of creating a laundry list of goals, we should perhaps choose one single word as a focus for the coming year. I decided to take this challenge on for 2014, but overachiever that I am, I found it difficult to select just one word! So I chose two words as my theme for this year, Simplicity and Joy.
I firmly believe that even if I set no goals for myself for 2014 and only hold these two words in my consciousness for the 365 days of this year, I would experience profound transformation as a result. In fact, ever since I selected my words for 2014, they’ve been permeating my consciousness and guiding my actions and decisions. I have already noticed some internal shifts in just one short month.
As an aside, I’d like to share another perspective on goal-setting that was offered by a reader in response to my last post. There’s a new school of thought that suggests that having no goals and instead using systems may lead to more success and happiness. Even as a long-time proponent of goal-setting, I can see the merit in this approach and will likely adopt a hybrid of goals and systems moving forward.
Why Simplicity and Joy?
Why did I choose simplicity and joy as my words for 2014? I could write an entire post on this topic alone, but I will briefly encapsulate my reasoning here. As you may know from my previous posts, I have long been a “more is more” type of person. While the primary focus of this blog has been on my wardrobe and shopping habits, my tendency to aim for more has seeped into almost every area of my life. But the resulting overabundance of stuff, clutter, information, and commitments has not made me happy.
I’ve been paring down the clutter in my environment for a number of years now (see my “Simplicity in Action” story) with my closet being one of the last vestiges of physical chaos in my home. However, I’ve also come to realize that a vast amount of clutter exists within my mind. I would like to simplify the information that I consume and the ways in which I spend my time.
That’s where joy comes in. I want to more fully embrace the beauty in life and enjoy far more of my day-to-day experiences. I want to bask in the happiness of simple pleasures and live my life purposefully and joyously every day. While it’s nice to include things like travel, excursions, cultural pleasures, and fancy meals in my life, I don’t want to rely on such experiences as my primary source of joy. I firmly believe that joy is possible for us in the “little things” in life, so part of my intention for this year is to find that joy.
Beyond the Two Words
I may not need to create any goals for 2014 beyond simplicity and joy, but I would like to add some additional “breadcrumbs” to my life path. Although the pathway is not fully illuminated in front of me, I do have some idea of how I’d like to see my life evolve this year. Here are some of my goals for 2014(mostly not stated in the SMART format as of yet, but I’ll get there…):
1. Vastly improve my health
It’s often been said that if we don’t have our health, nothing else really matters. My health woes of last year convinced me of the veracity of that statement. While I’m definitely feeling better than I did last summer, I still spend far too many days feeling sub-par physically. I firmly intend to do everything within my power to enhance my health this year. I have a few plans in place to carry forth, including some dietary changes, improved sleep, and new treatment modalities, but I will definitely make adjustments as needed along the way. Once I feel better physically, I’ll be more able to pursue the other goals and intentions on this list!
2. Find two new hobbies
For many years, shopping has been my primary hobby. In order to really play down the role of shopping in my life, I need to find some new hobbies that I can enjoy. A wonderful reader recently sent me a list of hobbies to help get my creative juices flowing. I am also open to additional suggestions from you for new interests to pursue. I plan to select 5 hobbies to try over the course of this year, with the hope that at least two of them will excite me enough to continue over the long-term.
3. Make three new friends, improve existing relationships
I’ve previously mentioned the lack of friendships in my life in recent years. While I’m not exactly sure how to make it happen, I’d like to start remedying this over the course of 2014. Perhaps I will meet new people through my new hobbies or maybe just being open to new relationships will help manifest them in my life. In any event, I hope to connect with at least three new like-minded, positive, and growth-oriented women this year. I also plan to reconnect with some friends with whom I’ve lost touch and improve my relationships with key family members.
4. Take on a new volunteer role
I’ve done a lot of volunteer work in the past, but haven’t been involved in such pursuits the past few years due to burnout and health issues. I would like to find a new way to give back this year (beyond this blog, which I’m so pleased has been helpful to many people!) that will also allow me to get out of the house and meet new people.
5. Find new and enjoyable ways to earn money
As you know, I closed the doors on my wardrobe consulting business last fall. Since that time, I’ve mostly focused on improving my health and writing this blog. I would love to find a new way to earn an income that’s a good match for both my skills and my passions. I’m currently writing an e-book that I plan to launch in March and I’d like to take on additional writing projects this year. I’m also open to other entrepreneurial pursuits or a part-time job (or even a full-time job for the right opportunity). I’ve been fairly rigid in my work criteria in the past, but I’d like to expand my horizons and keep my options open this year. Who knows what might arise?
6. Continue to learn and grow!
I have always been dedicated to growth and learning and I’d like to enhance that commitment this year. I want to read more books (instead of so many magazine articles!) and attend a few classes. Another wonderful reader wrote me about two online resources for free classes (Coursera and edX), so I plan to take advantage of these opportunities for learning from the comfort of my home. However, I’d also like to venture out and take a class or two in my community and attend local Meetups on topics of interest.
Full Speed Ahead!
That’s all I have for now, but I think it’s a great start! As I delve into the plans I’ve outlined above and continue to hold the intention for simplicity and joy this year, I will share what unfolds for me. I will definitely write more posts on my quest to build a full life for myself and as always, I’m open to your suggestions for new topics to explore.
I’d also love to read about your life goals for 2014. What changes would you like to make in your life this year? How do you plan to trade your full closet for a full life? I invite you to share your goals, dreams, and plans with me and your fellow readers.