Wishes Aren’t Goals

It’s that time of the year when I start to look at the things I wanted to accomplish in the year and analyse the successes and where things might have gone pear shaped.

Then I received an email from a charity I support asking for volunteers to run the London Marathon 2016. I’m thinking about it. Really thinking about it. Primarily because for several years I have always had ‘run the London Marathon’ on my list of things to do. Never mind that I have never ever even tried to apply talk less of run it; yet it remained on my list – probably since my mid-twenties.

I do remember how I came to the decision to put it on my list. It was after watching The London Marathon on T.V for the first time in 1997. I was enthralled, and overwhelmed, by the determination and accomplishment of the runners as well as some of the amazing stories fuelling their motivation. I thought to myself, “I’ve got to do this”.

After receiving that email, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to do this. I can finally accomplish my dream. However, I was hesitant. So I asked myself, as you do, if I really did want to run the London Marathon or was it just an interesting thing to do – a list filler?

In my short time on earth, I’ve learnt a few things:

  1. A goal without action is nothing more than a wish
  2. Writing down a goal is pointless if you haven’t made a decision to do it
  3. Counting the cost of a goal before committing to it aids decision making
  4. Feel free to release yourself from achieving this goal if the actions from points 1-3 don’t engender you to the goal.

There might be some things on that list that you can simply cross off before 2015 rings to an end. You are never going to achieve them simply because they aren’t what you really want. Maybe you saw others achieving it and thought it might be a good idea.  Perhaps you just thought it would be a cool thing to do. However sincerely you thought you wanted to; actions speak louder than words.

We all know the things we really want, what we really really want. (See what I did there? 🙂 ) Nothing stops us from committing to those things and seeing them through. No one has to make us do them. Perhaps it’s time to release ourselves from achieving certain things that just aren’t meant for us. Permit ourselves to break free from the shackles of pseudo failure. Those goals don’t belong to us.

However, if the opposite happens. If you feel yourself aching to commit to something on that list, then there it is. That’s your goal. Hang on to it and pursue it.

And if you really really really REALLY want to do it, remember point 1 above though, no action = a wish list.


Counting The Cost

Can you ever really count the cost associated with a decision? Organised humans will know the costs associated with a decision and the super organised ones may go as far as having contingency plans in place as well. But can you really know what it costs you until you are going through it?

When my husband decided to embark on adult education and we agreed to move to Cambridge, it was a very ‘romantic’ notion. Starting a new life, achieving a long awaited goal, having a second chance – all those sort of emotions were stirred up in us. It was a very exciting time but probably not fully thought out :). We grew to find out that the cost of the move was not the financial pay cut we both took. It wasn’t our kids starting at a new school. Or making new friends in a place where we had no friends or family. Or moving house. Or losing clothes and stuff to decluttering before the move. Or starting a new career. It wasn’t any of those obvious things.

We looked forward to the opportunities that the ‘new’ offered and looked at the financial implications and the effect it could have on our children. Yet we overlooked some vital questions – how will our daily lives change practically and how will it affect us as individuals? I don’t think we really broke it down. We were too excited!! LOL

We didn’t really think about the practical day to day stuff. Like the fact that he would be away at school a lot and that would mean I would be at home with the kids more; during exams he would hibernate and bury himself in studies again leaving me alone with the kids :-|; that although he had to study he couldn’t shut out his family and would have to balance the two. Nothing could have prepared us for the feeling of being along even though we were surrounded by people. Sometimes I couldn’t do my own thing because he had an evening lecture. I wasn’t prepared for the feelings of resentment or wanting to run away from it all. From his perspective, though he knew it would be tough, he couldn’t have imagined how much independent study time he would have to put in – it was onerous. Or the relentless daily schedule of his college. There is no way you could absolutely count the cost of the unknown.

Maybe the flip side is if we were anal about it we wouldn’t have moved. Then we would have robbed ourselves wonderful experiences and growth! The thing is you can never know how much it’s really going to cost you.

So if you have travelled down a path that’s making you wonder how the heck did I find myself here? You just might be on the right path; it’s just tougher than you thought it would be. Hang in there.

I Don’t Do Resolutions

They make me depressed when I get to the end of the year and I haven’t accomplished them. So you ask, were they written down? Were they time bound? Were they blahdiblahdiblah? Yeah yeah. I know. Goals should be SMART and blah blah blah but resolutions don’t work for me.

I find that having a theme or a focus for the year works better for me and then I apply it to every area of my life. At the end of each year I’m able to see tangible changes and I don’t feel like a loo-oo-ser. My theme for 2012 was new beginnings; I left my job after 10 years, moved to a new city with no friends or family, made new friends, tried new recipes, got a new job, did new things. 2013 was about actions not words; I started this blog, started writing a book- ish 🙂 , became a school governor (which I had wanted to do for ages), turned a hobby into a business and generally applied integrity to the things I said I would do. 2014 is going to be a year of growth and I’m looking forward to stretching beyond my usual capacity.

It obviously doesn’t mean I don’t believe in plans. I just prefer not to be caught up in the emotional frenzy of a new year and make good choices for myself without the almighty resolution hanging over my head. I have accomplished so much more this way than the years when I ‘resolved’ to do something. In the words of John .C. Maxwell,

you can’t manage a decision you haven’t made.

The other thing I don’t like about resolutions is how it fragments life. Like a new year really means you can put the past behind you like it’s not a part of you. I appreciate the optimism of a better year ahead but life is a continuum and can’t really be fragmented into the ‘you’ of 2013, 2014, and so on. Rather than resolving to do something fantastically and radically new, why don’t we add to the progress or non-progress of the previous year. Acknowledging that change can’t happen without action. And honestly, there are some things we aren’t always ready to change. We’ll just have to accept that they’ll be there to be picked up in 2015, God willing, because life is a continuum.

Some people may use resolutions in the right way and kudos to them. I have simply made peace with the fact that they aren’t for me.