I love a good goal setting exercise. Fresh starts, new beginnings, a chance to start over and dream and reimagine.
I love a good goal setting exercise. Fresh starts, new beginnings, a chance to start over and dream and reimagine. I love goals so much I enforce it on my husband and kids every year – and this year I have upped the ante and we are doing MONTHLY goals too (thank you, Heather Moritz) Poor things. Actually I think it’s going to work much better this way because it can be so easy to set a goal, dream, resolution, aspiration, whatever you prefer to call it on January 1st and by March you’ve made no progress and by June you can’t even remember what you set out to do, and by December you’re well and truly depressed to read them. So, we have all done our yearly and monthly personal goals and team Miller is raring to go.
Everyone is now back to work and school and I was feeling privileged to have a few days to plan and prepare before any client facing work began. I’d had a crazy autumn with travel and lots of delivery, so having a few days to get my mind and business ready for 2020 felt like bliss. I had grand plans. Reading, planning, imagining, reflecting, reviewing, and dreaming bigger dreams than I had before. I’m re-branding (can’t wait to tell you all about this soon) and so setting goals in line with all the change that’s ahead felt really important. I’d recently read the quote popularised by Bill Gates – ‘Most people tend to overestimate what they can do in one year, and underestimate what they can do in ten’. I totally agree with this and would add that I tend to overestimate what I can achieve every flipping day. But, my new-year-idea was that I’d try and put this into practice and so would imagine ten years from now, then five, then a year from now, and then work back to what needs to happen every month, week, and even day to get there. I felt expectant, excited and definitely a little daunted.
But my best-laid plans have been pretty much railroaded. I’ve been struck down by a nasty virus, just the usual affair of a cough and a cold, shivers and sweats. I hate being ill (stupid point to make – is there anyone who likes it?) and in fact I am fortunate to say it’s rare. But being ill is weakness, isn’t it? I desperately tried to battle on and do what I had set out to and planned to do (you must keep going, Hannah, don’t waste time). But my body and brain were having none of it. I tried writing my thoughts down but I had genuinely forgotten how to spell or indeed construct coherent sentences. I tried reading about a different way to goal set (thank you Danielle LaPorte it’s been an interesting process) but honestly all that happened was I lost my confidence and ended up in that what-on-earth-do-you-think-you-are-doing place with no emotional, physical or mental resistance to fight back. Add to this the rest of life, which has this week included the usual mix of stuff such as a broken car, a very premature niece that’s dominating my thoughts, an eldest boy wanting help with EPQs (no, I don’t know what it is either) and uni summer school applications, the youngest son having a pretty tough time of it at school – and the ability to bring the focus I so craved was just quite frankly a pipe dream.
I pushed back hard against this all week (despite being hot then cold, with achy limbs and stinging eyes – yes, I know dear reader, what you are thinking, I need help). No, I must push on, I must get this done (there are only 52 weeks in a year, Hannah, and you have just wasted one of them), I must not waste time, you’ve got to make it count, the whole year might just fall apart if you don’t do what you set out to do, it’s a sign that you’re on the wrong tracks, perhaps you should just go and get a real job, and so on. All very helpful, self-caring thoughts (does anyone resonate, please say it’s not just me?). We can be pretty tough on ourselves sometimes. Or pretty stupid. Deep breath.
Here is what I have learnt (or re-learnt perhaps) this week. Or maybe just remembered. Sometimes things don’t quite go to plan. I don’t even mean the big, life changing moments that send us wildly off course. I just mean life gets in the way, and it happens pretty regularly.
Sometimes you need to adjust your plans, alter your expectations, and go with it.
Sometimes you need to rest. (sidenote -And more importantly than all this, sometimes you need to ask yourself – what on earth is driving you to push yourself when you’re clearly not well and not up to it? Whatever it is isn’t very kind, and doesn’t have your best interests at heart.) Depending on your personal persuasion, trust that God, the universe, or even little old you has got this, has got your back and you don’t have to be orchestrating every little thing for it work out OK. Flexing, adjusting, adapting to what is right in front of you doesn’t negate your long-term plans and hopes, and sometimes being present and responsive to who needs you right now is way more important than being driven towards a goal.
If your new year hasn’t quite got off to the start you had hoped for, it’s OK. The whole year isn’t a write-off. It’s only just getting going. Each new day is in fact a chance to review, reflect, make plans, dream bigger. You don’t have to wait for a special moment or for it even to be the beginning of the week, or month. You can just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and do-over. If you’re anything like me, and prone to some unnecessary self-criticism, please let me tell you (and please stop and listen and repeat)- you are doing a great job. An amazing job even. So stop a little, give yourself a break. Take a walk. Have a nap, have a day off if you’re really not well for goodness sake. Then pick yourself up, and get going again. Every day is a new day. A fresh start, a new beginning. And you’re probably making a whole lot more progress than you realise.
P.S. I resolved that I was going to write regularly in 2020 (I did also say this last year but I let fear and perfectionism stand in the way) and so, out of a disappointing, off-plan week, I’m making sure something good comes out of it. My first piece of writing for 2020. And I’m determined to just ship it – it doesn’t need to be perfect, I just need to get writing again.