I’ve been immersed in my own Dreamtime these holidays, listening to the desires of my heart and soul, and those of my family as well. As it says in the introduction of the Lunar Journal, “To ‘Priestess Your Life’ means to live with intention, being the change the world needs now…” Setting goals for 2017 is part of this living ‘on purpose.’
I often find January, this time before my birthday, quite introspective and therefore introverted. I’m getting better these days at accepting that, rather than berating myself for feeling unable to plan a birthday party or anything social! Actually, this is a deep and necessary in-breath for the coming year, and I do that best alone.
Risk & Reward
It’s a risky business, goal-setting. To set effective goals (ones that are S.M.A.R.T) is to face the possibility of staring ‘failure’ in the face later in the year, or later in the week!
But in naming our goals – this vulnerable territory of ‘not there yet’ or even ‘so far off, I have absolutely no idea how I’ll get there!’ – we create the possibility of witnessing our progress over time and celebrating our movement towards that which we love and value. Risk and reward go hand in hand, and we can reframe failure as evidence of our progress and ‘stepping towards’, rather than something to be avoided at all costs.
I started using a bullet journal in August last year, and found this versatile analogue system could cope with both my long lists and periodic list fatigue! I have also been inspired by how other people (like Kara, Laura and Liz) make their to-dos attractive, and honour the power of beauty as a motivating force. I love how beauty, clarity and simplicity can work so effectively together, and am experimenting a bit with that this year. (Here’s a simple bullet journal intro video.)
After dreaming with my family – each of the kids and a bit with my husband – about what they were hoping to do and be in 2017, I took myself through a similar but more in-depth process. Inspired by Lisa Jacobs, I made a list of all the goals I could think of, and then arranged them into five categories she uses: spiritual, physical, mental, financial and relational. (These categories come from a book called ‘Harmonic Wealth‘ by James Arthur Ray.)
I had roughly ten goals per category, so 50 altogether. It’s entirely possible this is “too many”, that this amount of goals will spread my energy too thinly, but that’s part of my 2017 experiment! I like the sense of working on a breadth of life, rather than just focusing on the financial, or just on family, etc.
Thinking about how to track my goals helped me clarify which ones are specific enough, and which ones aren’t. Getting specific means I’ll know when to celebrate an achievement (not my strong suit, I often just set the bar higher almost immediately!), or I’ll clearly recognize when something was too ambitious for this one-year time frame.
About five of my goals still aren’t exact – they’re more like mantras, reminders or intentions where I’m not yet sure how to bring them into a quantifiable reality, but I’m okay with that. I’ll keep watching those ones and see what ideas emerge over time about how to embody them.
How I go about actioning my goals..
20 of them are one-offs, or something that I will need to deliberately bite off, like ‘go paddle-boarding.’ I’ll split this list up and bite off 5 per quarter, breaking each project down into smaller steps.
15 of them are time-based, like ‘host a Midsummer Party.’ I’ve put these ones in my diary to action when the time comes.
10 of them are daily habits, like ‘stick to one coffee a day.’ I’ll track them in a daily habit tracker.
5 of them, as I said, are currently unspecific, like ‘read aloud more with the kids.’
Once I grouped my goals, I decided to create a page for each category in my bullet journal. I read through each set of goals and got a feel for how to lay them out on the page. Sometimes this was determined by a concrete goal, such as ‘read 12 books’ where the image of a book takes up centre page, with others goals working in around that.
Other times, how I was going to track those goals determined what happened on the page. For monthly or fortnightly dreams, I set up spaces on the page to track progressive steps towards that goal, ie. for ‘go on 12 dates with my daughter’ I have 12 spaces around a loveheart to colour in.
I am not the world’s perfect artist. My lines are wonky and unsymmetrical, but I don’t let that stop me! There’s been a deep pleasure in seeing my goals as a visual on a page – it’s galvanising and concrete! Ridiculously anal, some might say! A waste of time, others (*my husband!) might say! I say, it’s been a perfectly pleasurable way to spend my holiday time! (And watch out, world!)
Predict your rebellion!
I am anticipating that I will get sick of this whole undertaking periodically throughout 2017. That at times it will feel like I’ve bitten off too much, the to-dos will feel too heavy, and I’ll spurn all my lists for a while. I’ve learned that, for me, I need a holiday from all the lists fairly regularly! This Aquarian is compelled to shatter my personal routines – Uranus-style! – every now and then, regardless of how nourishing they are!
I’ve learned to hold my lists and goals lightly. They are not a noose around my neck, and I am deeply appreciative of how they give me something around which my energy and intention can coalesce. Stepping away from them does not equal failure or giving up. Or if it does, it’s a nourishing give-up, like a winter break, facilitating invisible root growth and renewed vigour!
I’ve also scheduled in four ‘rest’ weeks, where I deliberately step away from the do-it, high-achiever mentality. I know that I habitually load my plate pretty full, and a rest week gives me permission to ease off the gas. (It’s another experiement, I’ll let you know how it goes!)
And the good thing about the bullet journal is that my lists are still all there and relatively ordered, when I’m ready to come back to List Land!
It is interesting how vulnerable I feel, sharing these goals, even though I haven’t named them all specifically. It’s edgy to share the images of my goals pages. Many of my intentions seem either too small or too big when I think of sharing them with an audience. The urge to downplay and avoid is strong. But one of my goals – one of those unspecific ones! – is to share more vulnerably on my blog, so ha ha, this is doing it! Where’s that tick box?!
I plan to track my progress over time by colouring in my goal pages, but I will also reevaluate them every three months. Perhaps some of them will become irrelevant, in which case, the simplest thing is to cross them off my list! Quickest way to free up that energy!
With the one-off goals, I’ll choose 5 more to achieve in the coming quarter – or at least, to get rolling with the next steps, given that some of them are long-term, multi-step projects (like ‘write a book’!). I’ll also bear in mind that my Oct-Dec quarter is pretty busy, and I’ll anticipate a limited capacity then.
I write all this as a Full Moon in Cancer gift, something concrete to bounce off, from my home to yours, as we sing up 2017, priestessing our lives, listening for how we can live the calling of our soul and the healing of the Earth (I believe these are one and the same).
I would love to hear/see pics of how you name your intentions and keep your focus over the course of a year! Here’s to loving, intentional living! Here’s to dreaming big and getting more comfortable with ‘failure’ as a constant companion on the road to success! Love to all!