Focus on the right things in 2022

Every December I download several year-end reviews. I also create one and make it available on my website for my readers. I love reflection. I love looking back, remembering all that happened in the past year and setting new goals. It’s been a much-loved tradition in my life.

But this year I’m taking a hard pass on an annual review. I didn’t achieve any of the goals I set for myself. Not even close, and it’s not the first year. In the past my failure to reach my goals fueled me to set new ones; but something has changed for me.

Every damn year I plan for more. I will make more, be more focused, save more and be more of a minimalist. (I get the irony there.) I’ll spend more time with the important people in my life. I’ll eat more healthy food. And every year, when I review my goals, I haven’t hit the mark

I’ve heard the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. If you are like me at this time of year, you find yourself creating vision boards or downloading free goal setting or planning for your best year ever PDFs. Why not pause this year? Unless they work for you, skip the planners that promise to help you focus or get momentum.

Don’t beat yourself up for not achieving the goals you set after lighting candles and drawing oracle cards. It’s okay if you didn’t manifest the life you dreamed of this year. Make step one of your year-end review this year to not do a review. Or, if you do a review, do a gentle one. Don’t compare your accomplishments in the past twelve months to the plans you made last year. Try being grateful for the things that brought you joy instead.

Not only am I not reflecting on last year, but I’m also not setting any goals for next year. I already know what the right choices are to make in my life. I am guessing you do as well. Bigger goals and more earnestly set intentions aren’t the solutions most of us need. I think on some level you might already know that to be true.

I speak as an older woman who has acquired perspective and wisdom. The road to contentment in life meanders. It will take you through the town of Acceptance, where you spend a lot of time learning to love the person you are and not the future person you aspire to be. It will take you through the village of Unexpected Events, where you learn to set aside your plans and dreams to deal with the harsh reality of illness, divorce, death or a pandemic.

There will be other stops along the way but be confident you are steadily moving towards achieving the most crucial goal of all – loving yourself as you are and for who you are. Move towards the things that bring you joy and peace in your life. Use the knowledge and wisdom you already have – even if you do it imperfectly.

Sandy Reynolds
Sandy Reynolds is a writer, speaker and the co-host of "Reframe Your Life" - a podcast devoted to digging into the art of memoir and story. You can find out more about Sandy on her website or Instagram.

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