We are about one week out until Christmas. This means of course that we are only two weeks away from the end of 2014. Some of us had an amazing year, others (like me) will raise a glass on midnight December 31 with a scream, “GOOD RIDDANCE!” Yet, now is also when we start seeing all of the posts and podcasts about goal setting. They tell us goals are vital to accomplishing anything in the coming year, and science supports this fact.
The other day I had a discussion with my husband about some discontent I have had as of late. I realized all the leadership talk about focus had me riled up. “I don’t know if I truly have any goals.” I told him. “I mean I have lots of great things I am doing for Jesus, in ministry and life, yet I am not sure if I have an end game.”
I got to thinking about goals and how I wanted to set them for 2015. Yet, if I am honest I have tried so many “methods” as suggested from everyone from the known leadership universe from Jon Acuff to John Maxwell to Michael Hyatt in this idea. I have started small, planned out, organized and used all sorts of “mechanisms.” There has been Evernote on my phone, Corkulus on my computer and even old fashioned sticky notes in my plan of attack. I keep my list for a short while and then Patrick Lencioni would accuse me of being the “fire fighter” in his book, The Advantage. I lose sight of the the vision, because I am so focused on dealing with the issues of the day.
Then in the last few days I have realized some real things that have hindered reaching anything:
I Forget to End the Year.
What I mean by this is that it is so easy to focus on what is ahead we don’t wrap up what just ended. Our goals for the new year really become a hold over of what was unaccomplished in the previous year. We feel guilty if we don’t really want a particular goal anymore and now we don’t know what to do. End the year. Take an honest assessment of what was and wasn’t accomplished and why.
I Need to Grieve the “Undone.”
This might sound silly, but I heard it in an interview with Michael Hyatt the other day and it really struck me. It’s important for a moment to allow yourself to grieve a little in what you wanted to do, and didn’t. What did we “hope” we would do and we never go around to is. As the overdone song says we tend to think we just need to “let it go.” Yet, the true this that there are times when we can’t. When I don’t do this I can tend to have an extra set of “hold over goals” from past years. They sit there as a reminder of what I never get to. Stop the “someday I will be…” because it’s ambiguous and will never happen.
I Have to Acknowledge Discouragement:
I have embraced the BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) with the best of them. I have eaten the frog first. (Gotten through the toughest and grossest portion of the goal.) Then it still seems like my dreams are somewhere out there. Another year goes by and I still am not closer (or so it seems) to what I truly desire so my shoulders slump and I stop believing. It’s not like I literally wave a white flag and give up. Instead I would say it creeps in slowly until my attitude becomes one of, “why bother with this anymore.” This is the true reason why I have stopped plodding out goals. I am really hurt by the ones who have been stolen, buried and tainted.
To fully look to 2015 the reality is I can’t just limp through the end of 2014.
Let’s take the time to end well and then look to 2015.
What didn’t happen and we grieve it?
What was a nice idea but doesn’t need to come over to 2015?
What keeps making the list from 3 or 5 or 10 years ago that if we are honest need to go away?
Before I can even begin to craft a list for 2015, there needs to be some honesty about 2014. Are there unanswered dreams that need renewed focus?
To launch well, we need to end well. Don’t forget to take the time to actually get over this year. Everyone says 2015 is a blank slate. However, it’s not if 2014 has already crept over.
What about you? How do you end well?