And so we’ve rolled into another year (see what I did there?)
New year’s resolutions have gone out of fashion, I get that. “You shouldn’t wait for a specific date to set goals, you should always be setting goals” is the modern refrain. And yet we can’t deny there’s something about the calendar ticking over that makes you reflect. What do I want the next 12 months to look like?
For many people the answer is “different to the last 12 please”. And there’s one word in that sentence which is the killer. But I’ll come to that shortly.
But first a word about goals. Or at least my personal view on goals. I understand the importance of a well formed goal. Specific, measureable, ecological (i.e. fits in with the rest of your values and needs), important etc. And there are times when setting specific goals in that way is really useful. But useful for what? Goals aren’t’ important in and of themselves. They are important because they set you up with momentum and direction. They are the tool to get your life moving, not an end in themselves. The achieving of the goal is not the thing. Who you become in the achieving of the goal is the thing. Getting a blue belt (or a purple, brown or black) is trivial. The forging your personality goes through on the path to that belt is what matters.
So I believe in fuzzy goals. I never set a goal to start a martial arts school. Or a business consultancy. Or a private therapeutic/coaching practice. These things just happened because I had a general sense of the things that spun my particular propeller and followed that scent where it led. Not like a bloodhound. More like a tourist in a strange city wondering where the smell of that fresh baked bread is coming from. I drifted into it. Ambled. I believe in fuzzy goals and I believe that if you have a vague idea of the general direction you want to head, and live by a few basic principles great things begin to happen.
So let’s come back to that wish for 2018. How would you like the next 12 months to be? “Different to the last 12 please”?. The word to watch there is “please”. It’s an entreaty. A request for a favor from the universe. Hoping that the world, other people, circumstances, will serve us up a different set of conditions. Hoping that luck will fall our way. But as John Will is fond of saying. – hope is not a strategy. So get rid of the “please”. Get rid of that wish that someone, something, some event will happen to you. Replace the request with intention. And apply some basic principles.
Be proactive – mind your own business
If you touch hands at the start of a round and then wait to see what happens, something will always be happening to you.
And this is how some people spend their entire lives. Not living it, but rather having their lives happen to them. Whatever your resolution for this year, of course outside factors will have an effect. The behaviours of others, the economy, the politicians, your mother in law, the weather, you name it. But that’s none of your business. Your business is to look the momentum and direction you want in your life and move towards it. That’s your job. Goals can be fuzzy, but what needs to be very clear, is your understanding of the part you must play in creating your life. Want a better relationship? What can you do to change the patterns? Want a better financial situation – what are the small steps you can take to be in more control of it. Yes I agree, there’s more to the outcome than what you do. But that’s not your business. Your business is maintaining your own energy and actions. So mind your own business and everything else will eventually take care of itself.
Don’t’ waste energy
I love getting big strong newbies in mount. I love how they struggle and thrash. Using their superior strength and fitness to gas themselves out. They have more energy than me. More strength. But your strength and your energy count for nothing if they are focused on the wrong activities. Put your energy where it does most good. We’ve all made mistakes in our live and it’s easy to ponder them and ask ourselves what if, and why did I? People have had all sorts of terrible things happen to them and it’s tempting to turn your gaze back to the past and wonder why me? We all have limitations on us and it’s easy to think if only I had more money, more time, a better support network, a more understanding boss.
It’s not fair
You don’t understand
It shouldn’t be like this
I deserve better
These are all valid statements. They will often get the support of like-minded friends. But make no mistake. They are energy leeches. They suck energy from your life. There’s an opportunity cost here. For every moment you spend on those thoughts, that’s a moment that you can’t be moving forward. They are natural thoughts to have and of course it’s ok to spend some time, some energy on those thoughts. Just like it’s ok to spend money on frivolous things from time to time. But you want to be budgeting carefully. How much of your energy and time are you prepared to spend on such things before moving into a more creative zone? A zone which creates new ideas, opportunities and experiences. To move into that zone there are just a three simple instructions that you need to follow. Everything else is just noise and wasted energy. Here they are:
Start where you are.
Use what you have.
Do what you can.
Follow those three simple ideas, and you won’t need hope as a strategy, you won’t need to ask the universe “please”. You will just stumble into great things and meet great people.
See you on the mat.