Letting Go Of Ideal Goals: Setting Priorities for 2017

How is the new year going for you so far? This is the time of year when we typically evaluate our lives, set goals, and decide that this will finally be the year that we make big changes.

We often approach setting goals as this massive overhaul. We decide, I am going to be a completely different person and fix everything that’s wrong with me. We determine our ideal, what it would look like to have it all together, and we plan our goals accordingly, often setting an unrealistic high bar for ourselves.

I’m not sure that’s the best way to approach a new year.

Instead of trying to change who we are and implementing a lot of new things, what if it’s more like re-establishing our priorities?

This year, I find myself asking this question: How can I create habits and routines that will get me back to my priorities? I don’t necessarily need something NEW; I need to get back to what I already know is important.

Here’s another way of asking it: How can I become more of myself this next year? What would happen if I could let go of expectations that were never mine to meet? What does growth look like that will allow me to become my unique, true self?

When I approach setting goals with the mindset of establishing priorities, it keeps me from trying to do it all. I don’t want to tackle too much this year. That’s how I end up feeling like I’m failing.

When I thought through the priorities I want to focus on this year, it came down to two things:

1. Create more space for listening to God.
2. Have intentional, scheduled, planned times of writing.

That’s it. Those are the two priorities I will most intentionally develop this year.

Hopefully, I’ll grow in other areas of my life as well. But a lot of those other areas are already part of my routines. And the truth is, if I create space for listening to God, it will transform me as a person and overflow into every other area of my life.

Those are two areas of my life where I’ve clearly seen that if I don’t have an intentional plan, it doesn’t happen. When I think about where I want to be a year from now, those are the two areas that will make the biggest impact in getting me there.

So what do your goals look like for 2017? We’re only a week into the year. If you’re already feeling overwhelmed or like you’re falling behind, maybe take your list of expectations and simplify it a bit. What is your priority this next year? What area of your life needs the most intentional focus and planning?

Don’t try to do it all. Pursue what’s most important. Focus on what will help you become more fully YOU.

(Original Image: Nick Kenrick via Creative Commons)

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