Stephanie Briones

New Year, New Habits

I should start out by saying that I’ve never liked the idea of goals—not having them, and definitely not setting them. And I should also mention that I’m not trying to say that you shouldn’t set them, especially if doing so works well for you. If you do have the goal setting thing down, I envy you.

I’m sure my opinion of goals stems from past failures at accomplishing them myself, but I’ve always liked to think it’s because I’m content, and very much enjoy the present. Setting goals has always been so stressful and so… permanent.

Goals for the present

I’ve had a change of heart after having many great conversations with my partner about goals. Up until recently, if someone asked about my goals, I may have reacted in this way. I’ve only ever forced myself to create them when I’ve needed to for work.

However, what I’ve learned about goals, or my new interpretation of them, is that I can still enjoy living in the present by creating ones that make the present more enjoyable for myself, and for those around me.

That’s a lot different than my previous perception. Goals always seemed to be for another time, not for now, and it’s difficult for me to find motivation, or get very excited about things that are way off into the future. But I realized that I don’t have to create goals for a part of my life I don’t know anything about yet. If I work on my present, and make small changes that influence how I feel day-to-day, my future will already be better off, and I don’t need to stress about it.

An article from Zen Habits reinforced this new understanding. In “5 Ideas to Create an Amazing 2015”, Leo Babauta says:

“Create habits, not goals or resolutions. Resolutions are like wishful thinking, that fade away inevitably as the year’s newness wears off. Goals are great, but it’s hard to juggle 5-10 new goals when you have a lot of other things always going on. Instead, focus on one new habit at a time, and give it your full attention, until it becomes automatic. Then do another new habit. After a year, you could have 12 new habits, and you’ll be a lot closer to any goals you might have wanted to reach.”

One new habit at a time

About a month and a half ago I put together a list of goals with action items, and it was really tough. It took a whole lot of effort. Half of them have already changed, but now I don’t think of that as a bad thing. If what I thought I wanted a month ago is no longer true, that’s great. Accepting that my goals will likely change means I’m being honest with myself, and rather than look at that change as a failure, I see it as progess. I’m getting closer and closer to determining my real goals, and realizing what I want my life to look like in the coming years.

One of my new habits is working on my personal brand at least a few times a week. And one of my first accomplishments has been redesigning my personal site, and also cleaning up and applying the same styles to the blog.

A couple of other small habits I’m forming are:

  1. Not leaving the bedroom without making sure the bed is made.
  2. Drinking as much water during the day as possible. Right now it’s been about 3 bottles (or glasses) full. That probably doesn’t sound like a lot, but before, instead of water, that would have been coffee or soda.

Happy New Year, everyone.