New Year's Day is right around the corner, and I guess that means it's time to start setting goals again. I've never been a fan of New Years Day. Don't get me wrong — I enjoy the party and the kissing at midnight, but it's the whole goals thing I don't like. Everyone asks me what goals or resolutions I have, and I usually tell people the same old things that everyone says: get in shape, finally get that promotion I've wanted, etc. Deep down, I know I'm not going to accomplish these goals the same way I didn't accomplish them the year before — and the year before that.
So, this year, I'm forgetting about setting the same goals. In fact, I'm going to focus on NOT setting goals — and here are three goals I'm not going to set:
1) Lose weight. I've set this goal every year, and every year I haven't done it. I'm not going to make this a goal this year. Why? Because my doctor says there's nothing wrong with me. I'm not overweight, and I don't have any of the health problems that come with being overweight.
As I sit and think about it, I only want to get in shape because I want to have a more chiseled abdomen and “buffer” arms. I want to look more like one of those magazine models — which is exactly why I won't be making weight loss a goal this year. Instead of trying to look like a model, I'm going to work on being happier the way I am. I am going to embrace me — the entire me.
2) Spend more time with my kids. Now, before you go all bananas on me and tell me what a bad parent I must be for not wanting to spend more time with my kids, let me assure you, I spend as much time with my kids as I can. Life is busy, but I'm home as often as possible.
This year, simply spending time with my kids is no longer going to be good enough. Looking back, I don't remember the times I was home with my parents, bored. I do remember going on hikes, going to my grandparents' house and playing in the barn. This year, I'm going to do more activities that create memories. I'm going to paint with my kids, read with them, sing with them. More importantly, I'm going to focus on doing things they want to do with me. I'm going to stop saying “maybe later.”
3) Make more money. Like most people, I dream of driving fancy cars. I also dream of having a big house and being able to go on nice vacations. As a father, this is especially important to me to make a good income so my family can know some of the better things in life — things I never had. But this year, I'm going to forget about making more money. In fact, I'm going to forget about wanting better things.
I see commercials for the latest and greatest smartphone and think to myself, “wouldn't it be nice to trade in my cracked phone for that one.” Then I beat myself up when I remember that I can't afford it. But as a middle class American, I am more fortunate than the majority of the human population. Instead of wallowing in my “first world problems” that are usually associated with money, I'm going to work on appreciating the simple things that the majority of the world doesn't have: a hot shower, free books at my library, a heated house, ovens I don't have to light a match to start and grocery stores with endless selections of food. I'm more fortunate than kings of old. Actually, I'm more fortunate than a lot of current kings. And I'm going to work on remembering that — even if my friends have a newer smartphone.
Aaron Anderson is a therapist and Director of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. He is a writer, speaker and relationship expert.