Just yesterday I renounced New Year’s resolutions and goal-making in general, but it’s been shown that creating New Year’s goals is a great start to achieving them (and not setting goals is a surefire way to miss the mark entirely). I’m still sticking to my systems, but there are a number of outcomes I’m aiming at in 2016.
New Year’s approaches and with it comes the end of another year–and the final verdict on the New Year’s resolutions we all made twelve months ago. Was this year a success, or will it be enshrined in failure forever?
I’ve written a lot about New Year’s resolutions and goal-setting in the six years I’ve been blogging, but this year, I’m telling my goals goodbye–and here’s why.
I’m at an odd place in life. I’ve got everything planned out but nothing is certain–in fact, those things most certain are also the most unpredictable. It’s crazy. Sometimes I wonder if the fact I’m a Gemini predisposes me to a life of self-contradictory experiences.
I digress. I need focus, and I’ve learned what helps me focus is having goals, and over the summer, it’s been a longstanding tradition to keep a special set of goals to motivate myself and continue growing into the person I want to become. In fact, this might very well be the last summer when I can make such goals before the full force of adulthood whisks me away and the notion of a free summer ceases to exist. So I must make the most of it.
Let’s begin, shall we?
Five years ago today I started blogging. Years before that, I had kept an online journal and routinely participated in other similar activities. It’s been a pleasure, an honor, and an adventure making it this far–and I hope always to be on this journey with you.
The truth is, however, that I began this journey for myself: It is a path I love to follow, not for those who join me on it, but for the sights and experiences it gives me. It is my hope, indeed it is my dream, that as I move through this life–living life first and foremost for myself–that my passions, especially those passions that I’m able to share, may enrich the lives of others as their passions have enriched mine–how Tolkien’s passion for Middle Earth, Einstein’s passion for scientific inquiry, and Milk’s passion for social change have all shaped my life and the lives of others.
And I hope, along this path we all share, I may glimpse your passions as well.
Or: What Darren Did When Sweetless September Went South
I’m a goal-oriented person. I love nothing more than the sweet satisfaction of striking an item off my to-do list. I keep spreadsheets of daily goals to fill in and monitor my daily responsibilities–study for all seven classes, make progress in leadership and immigration paperwork, stop that annoying scalp scratching and relax for ten minutes each day–and filling in the boxes makes my day feel complete. All that time? It accomplished something.
So, fond of alliteration as I am, I’ve imagining Sweetless September since March.
Except it didn’t turn out like I intended.
My modelling career ended as soon as it began.
It’s been a while since I’ve checked in on my goals this year–but mostly that’s because I’ve been keeping to them well and I haven’t had much to write about. Now that I’ve achieved a few of them and the summer is about to start, it seems fitting to look at them once more.
Last night I did what I haven’t done in a while: I prayed.
I have mixed feelings on what we should pray for, how we should pray for them, and even if prayer’s always necessary, but I couldn’t sleep and the words I needed just seemed to be there. I began thinking of all the people in my life right now who are struggling with sickness whether physically or mentally or emotionally, and all I could ask was for God to share his light with them, to give them what they need to heal and recover.
But my words didn’t stop there. Give them your light, I said, so they can become themselves. Not who they are today–unsatisfied with life, burdened by illness, just getting by–but the people they want to become. Because there is nothing more beautiful than watching a person achieve their potential, watching them grow into the unique and unparalleled person only they can become. And I realized, as I said these words, how much I yearn to witness this transformation in everything I do: When I lead on campus, when I tutor, when I make goals for myself.
Especially, perhaps, when I make goals for myself because when I can continually grow and learn and evolve, the light that shines from this personal transformation will always be alive–and the honesty with which I hope to see it in others will always survive. I strive to grow so I will always remember that others can grow, too.
So we’re about a month in, and what a month has it been–for better or worse, worse or better, and I think I’ve made a lot of progress (and a lot of regression) with where I want to be this year. If you recall, I went through some special efforts this year to make my goals SMART–that is, specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. In most cases, I succeeded in doing this, but as you’ll see, in some spots I missed the mark.
It’s been a long time since I’ve written about my goals this year, and probably for good reason: Since I wrote about them last, they’ve mostly all crumbled away. But with every defeat comes a new perspective which is, after all, akin to victory in its own right, and I think one last look back at my goals this year will help me prepare for next year.
It’ll be a painful trip for me–in more than half my goals, I’ve had complete failure and that’s hard to face–but only through hardships can we truly force ourselves to grow.
It’s been no secret my summer is unusually short this year, and as such, it’s been no secret how hard I’ve had to push myself to complete not only my manageable goals for the year but also my stretch goals for the summer.
Although it’s hard to realize (and harder to say), this is my last monthly goal report before my summer shrivels up and leaves me in the midst of an extraordinarily busy semester.