I’m not the best at setting goals and actually accomplishing them.
Like the one time I got a couch from Craigslist and put the old one, affectionately known as “The Rock,” on the back porch with the goal of hauling it to the dumpster?
Yep, it sat outside 2 years.
It became the hideous, unmentionable skeleton in the closet.
You thought I was accomplishing something with my life?
Until you looked out the back door.
Ah yes, the dilapidated, infested, weather-torn, demon-possessed Bel-rock couch from a budget horror film sat there in complete defiance to my highly ambitious life.
Goals mean NOTHING when you have no real intentions to making yourself uncomfortable to make them happen.
Would it have been uncomfortable to walk out to the back porch and carry the potentially (and highly-imagined) spider-infested, disease-carrying, snake-pit couch to the dumpster?
But I chose the easy route. Leave it there. Pretend like it’s invisible. Let “time” take care of it.
It’s easy to not do anything. Or to make someone else make you do it.
Last year I sat down and wrote a lot of New Year’s goals for myself. Yes, many of them, like the trashing of The Rock, never came to fruition.
New Year’s Goals I didn’t accomplish in 2014:
Pay off all my credit debt
Pay triple my minimum monthly payments on college debt
Run a 10K
Write one morning a week consistently for my blog
Go to 5 states I’ve never been to before
Participate in a flash mob
Go to a third world country
Go to a variety of cultural places of worship
Yeah, these things didn’t happen.
But let me tell you some things that did happen in 2014.
New Year’s Goals I accomplished in 2014:
Move to a different state
Live in a big city
Not use any credit card or incur further debt
Salsa dance regularly
Hang out with people of different skin color
Hang out with the poor and homeless
Get involved with anti-trafficking in a big city
Be in a church that is highly diverse
Be in a very intentional community of discipleship
Workout at least 3 times a week
Looking at what I’ve been able to accomplish is neat, but sometimes if I write out all the things I accomplish it ends up not even being what I actually want, what I want my life to look like.
I don’t think it’s bad to look at the things I didn’t accomplish or the goals I didn’t hit. In fact, I need to look at those. If I ignore it, then I forgot my purpose and my dreams. Seeing what I haven’t been able to do allows me remember where I want to go and how I can make some decisions today that will allow me to keep going in the direction.
You see, you have to remember– this is about the journey. As you set a goal or start down a path, it’s really just amazing that you actually started! What happens next is bonus material.
Reaching the goals, missing the goals… it’s all a discovery process. Through it all I have learned who I am unlike any other time in my life. Because I had great expectations for myself and decided that uncomfortable was a greater risk than chilling out, making everybody else happy with my life.
It’s funny, though, because as I look back at this year sometimes I feel guilty that at this moment I’m genuinely happy and hopeful, because there were so many moments of hurt and despair.
But I also choose to think on the moments of “Ah, this is it!” Those aren’t moments you can dream up or put on your goal list. You think it’s a certain paycheck, or marriage, or babies, or promotion, or destinations?
It’s not. The moments I have found where I think, “This is what I want my life to look like,” happened as I was walking along daily life and was surprised. It happened around a table, during conversation, in an unlikely friendship, in a situation that was counter-cultural, in a moment that involved giving of myself to people.
Those moments had everything to do with love and being uncomfortable, to walk into a situation that I had no idea how it would pan out, and be at risk.
I had to pick up my own Rock Couch and move it on.
I think that’s what I want to do every day.
Not try to hit these New Year’s Resolutions necessarily.
But to walk into the uncomfortable. Embrace the awkward.
Try it. I can’t explain it, but it’s very freeing. And it will open you up to experiences of “Ah-ha, this is it!”
I’ve already written my New Year’s resolutions with every intention of not hitting many of them, but hopefully I’ll stumble into greatness on the path there! So any New Year’s goals you want to journey on to in 2015?