I never make New Year's resolutions. I figure any life/behavioural change you want to make should be as important to begin on March 7, July 29, or any other day. Trying to add a restriction to your life like cutting down on fun things such as alcohol, chocolate, fatty food, television etc. is extremely difficult to do during the dreary mid-winter month of January. So I say have fun in January and don't deprive yourself!
That said, a new calendar year is a good opportunity for a fresh approach.
This time last year I heard about Daniel LaPorte's Desire Map. While I haven't read the book, I understand that her approach to goal-setting is to focus on the way you want to feel, rather than setting specific targets for your To-Do list. This way, you are open to all sorts of opportunities that will provide that feeling in perhaps surprising ways. If you only focus on goals, you are limiting the possibilities. Logistics change, but core feelings and desires usually don't.
So, a year ago, I looked ahead at 2013 and asked myself, "How do I want to feel?" The answer was: needed. After a couple of years of sporadic freelance work I was getting bored and seeking new challenges. I wanted to be of use to people, to be someone that others thought of immediately when they wanted reliable help with a project. I wanted to be busy. I wanted more friends and colleagues. At the core of these wants was the desire to be needed.
And boy did I get what I wished for!
2013 was my busiest year as a freelancer. I created over 30 videos (including corporate, promotional, documentary, and crowd-funding) for a variety of clients, managed social media accounts for 3 businesses across Canada, and worked at the Legislative Assembly for two months. I became a go-to video editor for several amazing local producers. I did work that doesn't even have a job description yet (tweet chat community builder?). And I began managing the financial side of my husband's new consultancy business.
I was needed on the personal front, too. There was a death in the family and subsequent elder care responsibilities that are ongoing and sometimes overwhelming. I sure didn't see that one coming, and it was a reminder to be careful what you wish for!
It's also an indication that I was wishing for the wrong thing. Being "needed" relied on other people to influence how I felt about my life. And since I can only control MY behaviour and MY feelings, it's no wonder I was a little swamped by what 2013 threw at me.
So instead of focusing on a passive outcome (e.g. "needed"), my intention for 2014 is more active.
This year, I want to be ready for whatever happens.
For example, I want to be in shape physically so I don't turn down opportunities because I'm feeling out of shape. I want to finish up personal creative projects so that I'm ready for the next exciting freelance gig. I want to be in solid financial shape so we can pick up and move to Australia when that opportunity comes knocking.
As Danielle LaPorte says, "You have to make space for your future to show up."
There is a lot more work I need to do in order to focus in on how I want to feel in all of this, but I'm getting there. It's a radical approach to goal-setting, and I like it.
Want to learn more? Watch this video: