You can call them Resolutions if you like. Here are 5 goals I'm setting in 2018:
I'm terrible at keeping New Year's Resolutions, or any resolutions for that matter. Change, even the positive kind, has always been difficult for me to swallow. Recently my life has changed in major ways that were outside of my control, which has been terrifying...but also liberating. I had to deal with unwanted pain and adjust how I define success.
Success is the reason we make resolutions every January. Why have a promised myself to go to the gym 3 times a week every week each January since I was 16? So that I could have a physique I considered a "success". News flash: that didn't work. I realized that whether I was in shape or not, I wasn't going to truly be happy. I'm guessing I'm not alone here.
I'm not saying there isn't merit in our resolutions. We make them with the best intentions because we want to make our lives better. That's a good thing! What I've learned is we have to base success on our values instead of an arbitrary goal if we want to keep our resolutions. It sounds confusing, but it's really not. Go back to the exercise example. If my goal is to lose 20 pounds because my value is "to look good", there's a high chance I'll fail because there is so much that's out of my control. My genetics might not be tuned for rapid weight loss. I might hate going to the gym more than anything in the world (I do). I won't see immediate results, I'll get pissed, and I'll quit after 6 weeks.
Let's change what I value about exercise to be more broad and within my control. Let's say my value is to make give myself as much positive energy as possible. I know exercise is the best way to energize my body, so I'm more inclined to work out because it will make me feel good regardless. I'll change my relationship with food because I know that junk food lowers my energy levels. Indirectly, weight may fall off. I'm more inclined to stick to this plan because my success metric is to feel good. Doing the work to feel good isn't work at all, it's altering your lifestyle for the better.
With these value-based resolutions in mind, I want to lay out 5 promises I'm making to myself in 2018 and the values I associate them with. I'll stay accountable on these, with monthly check-ins (gulp) to track progress:
Value #1: Maximize my positivity.
Goal: Run 500 miles in 2018.
-I used to think being positive was a question of willpower. To some degree it is, but I recently learned how important physical activity is to my attitude. Simply put, when I exercise I'm happier afterword. Instead of attaching a weight loss goal, I'm tracking a distance goal to get myself out running more often.
Value #2: Learn more new things.
Goal: Read 26 books in 2018.
-I'm a pathetically slow reader, but I've also never made a solid commitment to reading. My hope is by focusing on learning as much as possible, the byproduct will be ditching wasted time watching TV and on social media. A book every two weeks will be a good start (I'm thinking I can beat this goal).
Value #3: Chase after my dreams.
Goal: Write 100 blog posts in 2018.
-My career trajectory took a detour in 2017 and I realized it was because I wasn't doing work that made me proud. This site has always been something I've been proud of, and 100 posts will keep me coming back to the fun work I'm doing here. Not always good work, not always easy, but definitely fun.
Value #4: Be more honest about myself.
Goal: Write openly about my insecurities.
-A big reason why my career took a detour last year was because I wasn't being honest with myself about what I wanted. I thought a job that paid a certain salary in a certain kind of office building would bring me joy because it's what I've always worked for. It didn't because I sacrificed my identity to get there. This year I'd like to be more honest about myself because it will open up the paths in life I'm supposed to be walking. I'll start with this: I'm terrified no one will read my writing on this site. Wow...that wasn't so bad!
Value #5: Put experiences above accumulating wealth.
Goal: Track everything I get for free in 2018.
-I've spent most of my professional life focused on how I can make money. I would say most of us have. This has cost me more than any money I've saved, specifically in missed experiences. There are times I've been too afraid to spend money on a trip or tickets to an event that would have been an amazing to go to. I'm done living that way. My biggest value proposition on this website is to show you how to travel more for free, and I plan to live by that mantra. Each month I'll update my running tally on free things I've gotten and how they've opened up new experiences in my life.
2018 is already off and running, and these are the values I'm going to live by. What are you changing this year?