Goals, Intentions & Bucket List…oh my!

“Happy New Year!!” These words are heard shouted, as the clock hits Midnight on December 31st at the end of every year. It’s a joyous time. A time for people to start anew. As an adult I am often asked, “Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?” I can remember during my youth and younger adult years, contemplating this question and feeling pressured, in a way, by society to make one or more resolutions at the start of the new year. However, something has always caused me to question the purpose of the New Year resolution(s).

First and foremost, I want to start by saying, for those who make New Years resolutions and follow through with them, more power to you! Setting a goal, or goals, at the beginning of the year is a great thing to do. What I believe made me question resolutions in general was, “Why does a person wait until the New Year to set goals for themselves?” Furthermore, for those who continue to set goals, and continuously not follow through with them, what purpose does a person get out of this? Sure, it’s motivating and exciting to think of a positive end result occurring from a set goal; but what happens when life doesn’t travel the path you have in your mind? One may set out with a ‘go getter’ attitude, but life may throw you a curve ball, temp you or take you in a totally different direction. When this happens, it’s at this time when I’ve seen or heard people becoming disheartened or lose the drive to keep striving for their New Year resolution(s). Is it that many people fail to plan for the ‘what if’s’ Or a lack in strength of mind or dedication? How bad did they really want to reach their goal in the first place? Whatever it may be, things happen & people lose faith sometimes.

Don’t get me wrong, I have been one the many people who set a goal and fail to reach it due to…well, life. Life is unpredictable. This is what I think does not get taken into consideration when setting a resolution at the beginning of the year.

Instead, I have become a huge believer in setting yearly intentions. (A point in which I will elaborate on later). But first I want to elaborate on choosing to make my annual “Birthday Bucket List.” I do understand that a bucket list is just another roundabout way of making a list of resolutions. However, the difference for me is that, my bucket list consist of small goals that I would like to achieve throughout the year or prior to my next birthday. My brain thinks of them like rest stops along a highway. Each stop is an achievement and a time to recognize how far I’ve come, as well as, taking a second to pause and plan/determine the distance to my next stop. Kind of like a time to take a quick break, stretch my legs and continue on. Whatever I don’t accomplish on my bucket list during the year, either it goes on my next years bucket list or I reflect on “why did I not accomplish this? “Is this a goal I still find important?” “Is this something I still wish to accomplish?”… (I may ask myself those questions, not in those exact words, but something along those lines). The Birthday Bucket List was something I did not start until I was 29 years old. At the time I couldn’t have imagined spending my 30’s the same way I had spent my 20’s. You see, after the sudden death of my brother and only sibling, at the age of 23 (he was only 26 at the time of his death) I spent my 20’s in a state of enormous amounts of grief, guilt, sadness, loneliness, depression…I reached my lowest point in life. Even though I did seek therapy, was inconsistent with any antidepressants but I still tried; then finally I did hypnotherapy, something I will write about and leave for another post. Anyways, my 20’s I ultimately spent stuck and searching for a shovel to dig myself out while being confused as to how I got there and why. I decided to do something or somethings I had wish I had done during my 20’s and I wanted to knock the most important things out in the year before I turned 30. I didn’t want to look back and think “What did I accomplish in my life over the last decade?” I wanted to give myself the gift of reaching a goal. My goals were to run a half marathon, travel anywhere on a plane (bc I had never flown on a plane before and had a deep longing to do so all my life), complete 5 paintings and move to a new town. All of which I did accomplish.

As for the New Year; I am a true believer in setting “New Year Intentions.” Merriam-Webster.com defines an intention as,

a determination to act in a certain way.

Setting intentions to eat healthier, rather than loose 20 pounds takes the focus off a set goal and more in creating a healthy habit. Once you make eating healthy a habit during the year, weight loss may then be a positive outcome but either way despite the weight loss, one has created a healthy, positive, habit that is in the end a success!

No matter what your choice is, my hope for everyone out there is that no matter what path life takes you down, you stay on a positive track and good luck to all who have set out on making 2018 New Year intentions!


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