The end of December is the time when most of us focus on the things we don’t like about ourselves and set goals to change those things during the next year. Maybe we want to lose weight or be kinder to people who annoy us or perhaps there are life goals we want to achieve in the coming year. These dreams and goals all get bagged up into a list of New Year’s Resolutions.
While it’s great to set goals around the things we want to achieve, this approach to the new year reminds me of the process I go through when I’m planning to travel somewhere new.
I prepare by reading guidebooks, talking with people who have been there before and drawing up a list of places to visit and things to do. I remember when I arrived in Paris for the first time. I was armed with a daily itinerary of what I was going to do to make sure I squeezed it all in. I spent the first two days racing from place to place so I wouldn’t miss out on anything. Of course the sights were amazing, but it wasn’t until I explored the side-streets and alleyways or got lost that I truly experienced the magic of being in Paris. Sitting quietly in a cafe away from the tourist hot-spots enabled me to watch people go about their everyday lives and gave me the opportunity to reflect on what I truly wanted from life. I realized that the real experience of being in Paris came not from ticking things off my list, but from the unexpected that happened when I allowed my curiosity instead of my itinerary to lead me.
While it’s good to set goals for the year, make sure you allow 2017 to unfold in it’s own unique way. Don’t be afraid to change your goals or step away from them at times. Give yourself the space to explore different aspects of your life. Take time to reflect and be open to ideas and experiences you might not have considered in December 2016. Try new things and stretch yourself in ways unrelated to your goals.
Let your goals give 2017 structure, but don’t let them define your year.
There were a million things I could have done in Paris that would have enriched and stretched me as a person but I never knew they existed before I arrived there. In the same way, you cannot possibly know what 2017 holds or what will truly benefit you the most. If you focus only on achieving your goals, you might miss the magic of the year.
Allow 2017 to reveal itself in whatever way it chooses.
My prayer for you is that 2017 will be full of more love, adventure, challenge and magic than you could ever imagine.
Image by Tetsumo