|New Year's Eve hike in Zion's|
Happy New Year!
Everyone is thinking about goal setting at the beginning of this new year and there are countless articles and blogs and websites about how to do it effectively. Here are a couple of ideas I really like: Gretchen Rubin (author of The Happiness Project) has a series of questions on her website to ask yourself as you're making new year's resolutions. I think she has an awesome way of breaking things down to a few easy steps or questions and her focus, of course, is always on happiness. Remembering happiness as not just the end goal, but also the checkpoint for your journey along the way is really the only sane way to accomplish things. I also like The 43 Things website where you can share your goals and your progress and offer support to others doing the same. What a nice little community to be a part of! In my browsing of the site I found "learn how to communicate with animals" to be a particularly awesome goal. (I had a similar quest last year). :)
Just a couple of additional thoughts on goal setting.
1) Our happiness is completely tied to progression. Stagnancy is depressing and also unnecessary since we live in a world full of limitless opportunities to improve. When I'm feeling bummed out, the quickest way for me to get a grip is to either do something for someone else or learn something new. Isn't that interesting? Serving and learning are two things you don't have to plan for, pay for, or rely on other people for. You can just do it and it makes you happy because you are expanding (progressing) your mind and your heart. I love it. Service and learning are two easy and measurable resolutions to add to any list.
2) I have spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to figure out a trick to being consistent. I so want to be a person of action because change comes in actually doing things and doing them over and over (for example, I can only be happy if I choose it consistently). Guess what? There is a trick and here it is: Don't deliberate. The moment I start questioning whether or not I'm going to act is the moment I allow all sorts of lies and half truths to enter into my thinking, which can then persuade me otherwise. Don't deliberate about doing what is right. Just do. There is another part to this equation, which is allowing the spirit to prompt us to act in a different direction if necessary. But while the spirit may prompt us to do differently (go to your sister's house instead of go on a run today), it will never prompt us to be different than what is right and good (be impatient instead of kind today? I don't think so). When it comes to being better, don't deliberate. When it comes to doing what is right, again don't deliberate.
I love this quote by Neal A. Maxwell (a religious leader in my church), in speaking about Christ's use of time, "I thank Him for His marvelous management of time, for never misusing a moment, including the moments of meditation. Even His seconds showed His stewardship." It's valuable to think of time in terms of stewardship - realizing that even our seconds can be used in a way that transforms us. I hope to use my time more transformationally in the year ahead.