It’s that time of year when we focus on self-improvement and goal setting, on starting fresh.
But this year, I’m not making any New Year’s resolutions.
Sure, there are things that I want to achieve this year, but they’re bigger, long-term goals that have been underway for a while, like getting my novel published.
Last year, I made two resolutions: to write every day and to read 100 books in 2017. I didn’t do either.
Despite not meeting my target, I did improve massively in both areas. The number of books I read last year was down, but the quality of the experience was much improved. Instead of reading endless mediocre books, I made a conscious effort to read more non-fiction and mix up my genres. As a result I read some genuinely amazing books and didn’t have any long periods where I was bored and struggling to find something enjoyable or moving to read.
I also made a lot of progress with my writing. I didn’t write as many words as I would have liked, but my overall writing career took a big leap forward and I spent much more time focusing on it, in a variety of ways.
So I guess the point is that goals can be a great thing, but putting an arbitrary number on something can be restrictive. It’s another way to make you feel bad about perceived failures, when the bigger picture would show only progress.
I do want to work more on myself, on stepping back and allowing myself to rest and feel happy, rather than always pushing on to the next thing.
After all, there’s no point in achieving your goals if they don’t improve your life or make you happy.