What are your goals for the New Year?
December 30, 2003
Dear Neil: As a follow up on your recent column on all the ways we tell ourselves what we “should” do in life, I am wondering when it is appropriate to look at what it is we truly want. Now that I’ve defined what I “should” do, can you help me determine what it is I actually want to do?
– Wanting More in Vail
Dear Vail: Here’s an exercise to help you focus on your goals, which will assist you in putting definition to the question “What do I want?” I would recommend that you write your answers to the following questions:
n What adventures do you want this next year?
n What are the work or career issues you need to change or deal with?
n What could you do to improve your health, body and level of fitness?
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n What’s fun? How can you integrate more fun and play into your life?
n What do you want different about your important intimate relationships?
n How do you fritter away your time? Fritters use up your time, life force and energy, but you don’t feel better for having done them.
n What is it you hope for this next year?
n What have you been putting off that you would feel better about if you completed?
n Is there anything you’re doing now – or not doing – that you’re going to regret later on?
n Are there any dreams you really want to attain that you’re not going after – or you’re going after too passively?
n Answer the following questions: “I could improve my diet and the quality of my nutrition if I would I would feel more sexually alive and vital if I would If I were to take more responsibility for the attainment of my goals, I would If I were to take more responsibility for my happiness, I would”
Here are my recommendations for creating your New Year’s goals.
First, go after creating your highest goals and visions, and quit wishing or dreaming that they will just happen on their own. Decide by your actions to direct your own life – and then go to it.
Second, don’t build up walls around yourself and emotionally push people away. It will lead you to feel isolated, unfulfilled and unhappy.
Third, it’s far better to trust than not to trust, even if you wind up hurt or betrayed. Not trusting others will give you psychosclerosis-a hardening of the mind, heart and spirit.
Fourth, learn to be on your own side. For you-and for the attainment of your goals.
Fifth, check in with your body and ask it “What do you need in order to feel wonderful on a consistent and regular basis?”
Sixth, stay with your hope. Hope is what gives us our vitalness and is the only thing we need in order to keep functioning. Hopefulness is about being Pollyannaish – it’s optimistically viewing the future – and it is not objective and neutral. Your New Year’s goal begins with a vision of something that you hope for.
Seventh, when we focus on what we have, on what we’re appreciate of in our lives, we’re happy. When we focus on what we don’t have, we’re not. Live more in the spirit of appreciation, gratitude and thanksgiving for what you are, what you have and what you are becoming.
“He who desires but acts not breeds pestilence.” William Blake
Neil Rosenthal is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Boulder. He can be reached at (303) 758-8777 or e-mail at his Web site http://www.heartrelationships.com