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Around this time of year, most of us are envisioning or have already dove headfirst into the deliciousness that is Christmas time. You know, all the festivities and treats saturating the experiences inside our homes, at work and the like.
Now, we all know that any thoughts of repercussions from our enthusiastic participation in these said activities are unequivocally pushed off to at least January 1st… no the 2nd… no, well, actually… Let’s just not think about this until later, like when we get back to our daily routines some time in January!
It is said gym memberships spike at the start of the year because of our uber exuberance to start the New Year on a positive note. But often, the drive to achieve this and other goals set at the start of each year, fizzle out before the first Spring thaw appears.
Now I’m not here to lecture anyone on how to do your holiday thang. Please, do you. Do family. Man, I love the holidays!
Rather, I’m fascinated by the mental gymnastics we perform around this time of year into the next. You know the goals we set, why and how we set them.
Do we actually like the goals we set?
Do we maintain and achieve these personal goals?
I mean, think about your regular job. We (or those we work for), seem to have little difficulty in setting those specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based (SMART) goals. Regardless of the occupation, there is a way to set goals, productivity standards to be met and the like.
So how come when we are addressing personal goals, we seem to be able to readily set goals that address our outward presentation to the world – you know our bodies, how much we make, etcetera.
However, when it comes to goals that are rooted in addressing the very core of our nature, what we were created for, we have a much tougher challenge in identifying who we really are and what we really want i.e. personal dreams and desires to establish these specific goals. What indeed fuels the soul and enlivens our spirit?
It’s time for a transforming mindset. New perspectives.
Take a walk with me as we take a quick glimpse at this journey we call life. Remember when we were kids, the grandioseness of all our dreams and desires?
You were going to be a firefighter and save the world!
You knew you were going to be
a preacher...zoo keeper!
You knew your singing, acting, dancing
and innate ability
and command attention had a bigger stage.
Bigger than the cuddly toys in your bedroom.
Bigger than the brothers and sisters,
mothers and fathers
enlisted and forcefully included in
My personal favorite to date is my niece, who a few years ago, when graduating from kindergarten proudly declared she was going to be a “Gingerbread Housekeeper.”
I had to ask her the obvious question:
To which she matter of factly stated:
“So I can eat all the gingerbread I want!”
(With logic like that, she can do anything!)
Yet, as we grew up, for many of us our dreams became incongruent with the circumstances we faced whether in our upbringing or through subsequent life experiences.
Consciously or unconsciously our perspective on those dreams, on changing the world, on just doing that ONE thing we had a burning desire to do and be, changed. These hopes and desires were adjusted, amended, put on the back-burner, forgotten. Or, jaded by experience, we turned our backs on the very things that once filled us with such joy and whatever possibilities those dreams promised to take and give us.
For some in our midst, if we are still dreaming, then it is in the belief that at some point, we can make these dreams reality.
Congratulations to those who are living out their dreams, whose daily, weekly, annual goals reflect who they know they were created to be.
“What indeed fuels the soul and enlivens our spirit?”
But for some of us, it has been decades since we dreamed. Since we believed. We may have lost our dreams, forgotten how to dream, or find that the hardest thing is getting ourselves out of the way of our dream.
Conversely, maybe we achieved that which was of singular focus and pursuit from our childhood years…
…Only to find ourselves feeling strangely bereft despite all the fame, accolades or sentiments surrounding us, especially after standing tall and feasting on the pinnacle of these pursuits.
In the stillness of a moment, if we are honest with ourselves, if we allow ourselves to meditate on what gives us, causes us joy, in spite or despite our circumstances, we often find that our career or life path trajectory may not necessarily be aligned with our inner condition. Let me expand on this a bit.
Think about that job we are going to because circumstance dictates we have to. Maybe we went through a protracted period of formalized training, obtaining a degree that we feel compelled to pay off. This is especially glaring in this day and age of questionable rate of return on investment for the degree field, or pricey educational institution we studied at.
Perhaps we don’t have an idea what we really want to do and so we find ourselves in a career we know for sure we don’t want to do as a life pursuit, but find ourselves doing so anyway.
Or desperation in life deals a cruel death to any dream except the reality of survival.
Or those with pension/retirement plans, healthcare options associated with a job, over time, the perceived and real benefits of these plans outweigh the misery of our daily experiences of the associated job/career field. So we stick with the job, never you mind that that job might progressively be causing a sickness of soul.
Of a truth, there are unintended consequences of living unfulfilled potential, unachieved desires, unmet authentic goals… a life with regrets, loss of inner joy and peace. These are priceless treasures so often overlooked but so painfully experienced with the passage of time.
“I guess what I’m trying to get to is that we talk about physical food, but often, we neglect soul food… that which feeds our inner self, fueling our external condition long after our physical self is spent.”
Can I make an observation?
It seems as though our traditional goal setting done every January is weighed down with goals that often don’t fully address our deepest dreams or desires. And so we find that over the passage of time, we revisit the same goals over and over because whether attained or not, they ultimately are not soul fueling, spirit satisfying goals.
What if our main goals, faithfully declared at the start of every year, were driven FIRST by what feeds the soul instead of the body? This has more than a lasting effect on our lives. It has a lot to do with living out our created potential.
My friend, this for many of us is in essence, our new perspective.
What I’m trying to get to is a rethinking on how we position ourselves at the start of each New Year. We are also at the cusp of a new decade, presenting us with a golden opportunity… What if we took a radical shift in our thoughts as we prepare for the new decade? Use December/January as a mulling over time. Time to ask honest questions like,
- What truly gives me joy, inner joy?
- If I had no barriers, where would I be, what would I be doing right now?
- All things being equal, I find I am filled with joy the most when?
- What makes my soul smile?
- What makes me LOL that I don’t care if I peed my pants?
- If I had one more year to live, what would I want to learn or do in the course of the time allotted to me?
Is there a something new I have been hesitating to try, to do?
Is there a something burning inside of me put on the shelf so many years ago?
For 2020 and beyond…Perhaps it is time to dust off my astronaut suit.