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On making goals and staying accountable

I have mixed feelings about New Year’s resolutions. As I wrote in November, I do most of my annual reflection on my birthday — thinking about the past year and what I want to accomplish in the year to come. But there is something so enticing about a brand new calendar year — the months ahead seem so long and full of possibility…

Rather than think in terms of resolutions (it’s such a stodgy, resigned word), I’m thinking this year in terms of goals. There are A LOT of posts in the last week about setting goals (this one and this one are two of my favorites). And perhaps you’ve heard about Maggie Mason’s powerful Life Lists and how this idea is transforming lives… I am resolutely in the camp that you create the life you want — nothing frustrates me more than people accepting uninspiring jobs, stifling relationships, and mundane lives as though they have no say in the matter. The more I visualize the life that I want, the more excited I get about making goals — because you really can’t reach a destination if you don’t know what it is.

So. My goals for 2011 are:

Make time for stretching EVERY DAY.

In my 20s in Seattle I had a yoga teacher I adored. I have been unable to find a replacement for her here in Montana, so I switched to pilates. In both of these practices I leave feeling longer — physically and mentally. Nothing makes me feel more connected to my center and more resilient to the forces around me trying to knock me down. My favorite pilates teacher is moving on to other passions and so I’ve put it to myself to  create my own practice. I have the space and the gear — all I need is to give myself the time and retain my determination.

Live with intention.

I have been thinking a lot in the last six months about the pace at which we live. I have much more to say on this, but will save it for another post. Here I will just say that there are so many directions to be pulled in our lives and it is easy to get caught in the currents of the lives of those around you. I’m a pretty adaptable person, which in general is great, but the downside is that I very easily roll along with what is going on around me and forget to live intentionally. My second goal for this year is to cultivate the habit of considering my needs before the needs of those around me as I allocate my time.

Conscious consumption.

This is another topic on which I have MUCH to say and will save most of it for another time. Briefly, I think how we spend our money is the loudest voice we have to support or oppose the practices of a company. Every dollar spent on a product is a vote of approval and every alternate choice — of choosing not to buy or by finding an alternative source — is a loud dissent. It is overwhelming to think about my consumption as a whole and so this will be an ongoing, lifelong goal. This year I begin it with the food that I eat. More on this soon…

Along with these three big goals for the year, I’m making smaller goals each month to help me in my progress and to keep myself moving forward on all the projects in my life. The act of writing is powerful and clarifying and I’ve been experimenting with the best way to post these goals for myself so that I see them everyday. I’ve come up with this little number — tear off month sheets on one side and my big, year-long goals on the other. I’ve stuck a magnet on the back to hang on my refrigerator.

Just in case they would be helpful to others I’m putting them in the shop. I’ll be offering a printable PDF that you can print yourself and hang in the way that best fits your needs — this makes it super affordable and speedy – you can begin on your goals immediately. If you don’t have a color printer or the time or inclination to print them yourself, send me an email or etsy convo and we can discuss other options.

So…what are your goals for the year?

5 Comments Write a comment

  1. Hi Karin: I found your blog through Daily Coyote and have been enjoying your postings very much. I love the visual reminder you’ve come up with to help stay on track with your goals for the new year. I also love how you’ve got monthly goals as well!
    I’m trying something new (for me) this year that I read about in another blog I follow – it’s the concept of coming up with three words as a way of staying accountable. My three words are Simplify, Frugal, and Evolve. I’m looking to simplify my life, be frugal with time and money, and examine my personal growth over the upcoming year!


    • I LOVE the idea of using powerful words as goal reminders — it requires such a thoughtful distillation of your ideas that it seems to really force you to look at what you want to change in your life and like there is less opportunity to create loopholes for yourself when resolution declines — I may try that for my monthly goals….Thanks! and thanks for reading!


  2. I love that too swingset! And I like your visuals as well Karin. My goals this year are to keep making them…and not get stagnant. I need to write them down so I can see them every day. I love both of your ideas!


  3. My goal is to complete the couch to 5K program, even though I really don’t like to run.


  4. Pingback: On Personal Responsibility and Food Choices « Paper Route Designs

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