Living without goals


On New Year’s Eve, I tried to explain my decision to forego making resolutions this year, choosing instead to trust myself as a creative individual, to follow the leadings of my heart on a daily basis,  and work on developing better daily routines. 

Then my brother sent me a link to a wonderful post by Leo Babauta (click HERE) in which this inspiring individual explains why goals as a system usually result in failure. It resonated with me so deeply that I am absolutely convinced I am on the right track. It’s a little scary for a compulsive list maker who has gotten through many difficult periods by looking ahead to a planned vacation or a major holiday to contemplate a life without goals. On the other hand, I love surprises, especially the good kind. And please understand that this decision isn’t the result of an inability to focus or the lack of a work ethic. On the contrary: I know what I want and I am willing to work hard to get it. I am simply give myself permission to pursue my passions as a lifestyle as opposed to relegating them to items on a to-do list. And, like Mr. Babauta, I have found myself “achieving more than if I had goals, because I’m always doing something I’m excited about. But whether I achieve or not isn’t the point at all: all that matters is that I’m doing what I love, always.”

After just a few short weeks of this new way of thinking, my spirit is in a much better place. Much of my negative thought-buzz has disappeared; I feel balanced, motivated, and (dare I say it?) happy. So, inspired by Eydie of What We Create (click HERE), I have chosen a “little word” for myself for 2012, a word for contemplation and meditation, a word to help guide me as I move through my days . That word is RELEASE. Finally, I am ready to let go: of relationships that take much and give little in return; of goals and expectations that impose limits rather than lead to success; of a daily grind that steals my precious time and robs me of my joy. 

Of everything that has kept me small.

If this sounds threatening to you – and a year ago, it would have sounded downright ominous to me – then it might be something you need to examine. Check out the tips for living without goals on the Zen Habits website, and try spending just a few hours exploring your passions without a predetermined agenda. You might be amazed at what you will discover.

Happy New Year!