Near the end of 2019, I did what many of us do. I made an assessment of the past year and considered some goals for 2020.

Notice that I said goals, not resolutions. I’ve set resolutions in the past and I’ve learned that giving myself the ultimatum contained in an actual resolution works AGAINST me more than it works FOR me. Goals are more manageable, more achievable. They can be handled in bites and once I’ve reached one goal, I can move on to another one.

Resolutions say “I will begin (or stop) doing this and I’ll keep at it until I’ve mastered it.” I almost never master the things I resolve to do.

So, I set goals. The thing I appreciate most about setting goals is the act of placing markers that point me in the direction I’m wanting to head — to the goals I wish to achieve. In order to do that well, it helps to start with reflecting on the past and assess where I stand right now. The Cultivate What Matters Goal Planner  (which I am using for the first time this year) gives us these steps toward goal-setting:

  1. Begin with listing what worked in the past year (the good).
  2. Look at what didn’t work in the past year (the challenges).
  3. Consider what lessons we have learned from both the good and the challenges.
  4. Admit what remains confusing, unanswered or unresolved in light of those assessments.
  5. Write a statement declaring what you are choosing to believe despite those unresolved issues.
  6. Finally, set some goals and plot how you’ll reach them.

What I’m choosing to believe and using to direct me toward to goals for 2020 is embracing the freedom to begin again. I may have regrets, notice missteps, tally failures from the past year, but unless I’ve really blown it, each day, each week, every month and certainly every year offers the promise of a new beginning. A fresh start. Maybe even a “do-over.”

I call the opportunity to begin again GRACE.

My first goal for the coming year is to extend grace to anyone who has caused hurt or offense in my life in the past year, whether I let them know it or not. I want to let go of those things that I’ve carried around and allow the offender the chance to begin again. There aren’t many, but there are a few and they are baggage I do not intend to carry into 2020.

What about you? Have you set any goals for the coming year? Feel free to share them here.

I wrote for 5 quick minutes (more or less) on the word “direction”, linking up with other bloggers at Five Minute Friday. Click over to read other essays.

 

Did you choose One Word for the year?

I considered letting that pass, but I keep coming around to something I want to carry with me into 2020 — the quote “Always we begin again.” The line from the Rule of Saint Benedict has popped up in various places in the past several months, including in a book that was probably my favorite read of the year, On the Brink of Everything by Parker J. Palmer. I’ll likely be sharing other nuggets from this profound book about “Grace, Gravity and Getting Old” in the weeks to come. For now, Palmer has given me my One Word for 2019 — which is actually two words, but I’m okay with that.

BEGIN AGAIN

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