“Those who are most successful in their life endeavors are those who identify, define, and pursue their next most important step without being distracted from it.” – Joshua Becker
We are constantly told to set goals for ourselves. We need a 5 year plan. A 10 year plan. A 20 year plan. We should be working towards these goals every second of every day.
But the goals I set for myself 5 years ago might not necessarily be right for me anymore. Five years ago I was single, living alone, working a job that I hated and generally not in a great place. I set goals for myself that included running goals, weight loss goals, business/career goals, travel goals, blogging goals, hobby goals, book reading goals, dog training goals, volunteering goals…
Five years ago I didn’t know what would make me happy and I was quick to fill my life just to take my mind off of how miserable I was.
I never realized that setting so many goals added to the crushing sense of being overwhelmed in my life.
In fact, only recently when looking at the pile of past goals with a post-it note that read “Revisit/Revamp Goals” did I realize that maybe these goals aren’t helping me to create the life I want after all. Maybe by decluttering some of these goals, I can take those important next steps with purpose.
Gone are the reading goals that suck the fun out of my favorite way to unwind. Who cares how many books I finish in a year if I’m getting quality reading time in several times a week?
Gone are the lofty career goals. After 10 years of managing people I can say it is not how I want to spend my days. I am very fortunate to have found a full-time manager position where I manage the money, rather than the people, for an organization that I really care about.
Gone are the travel goals. I still want to travel in my spare time including visiting all of the National Parks (a goal on my 2016 list) but the urgency to get it done before I turn 40 (why did I pick that age anyway?) is gone. I love being outdoors and discovering nature so I will get to all of the parks in due time and truly enjoy my trips rather than being obsessed with crossing them off a list.
Gone are the goals for hobbies I felt that I should have. I love to write but I just don’t enjoy the regular upkeep of a blog (hence the 5+ failed blogging attempts in the past 5-7 years). I would rather put that writing energy into the book I’m writing or my daily journal. I like to take pictures but don’t need to pressure myself to take classes and do photo shoots when what I truly enjoy is documenting my farm life for my Instagram page.
Gone are the running and weight loss goals. Instead I want to focus on all-over health: healthy eating, staying active, strong mental health habits, and incorporating relaxation into my routine.
See where this is going?
I’m not going to stop setting goals. I’m a very goal-oriented person by nature. I love having things to work towards to keep me on track. But these previous goals weren’t improving my life at all. They were honestly more superficial – more about how I looked to others than what I truly wanted for myself.
I want goals with meaning.
In 2016 I made another list. It was a “someday list”. I have realized that these are the goals that were true to my heart.
Someday I want to open my own “Rescue Ranch.” My husband and I bought a farm last year that currently houses 27 animals, 13 of which are rescues. I love being able to open my home to animals in need and give them the best life possible. My goal now is to continue to build my farm so that I can welcome more animals, whether as a foster mama or as permanent residents.
Someday I want to be a beekeeper. I am starting my 3rd year of beekeeping and my goal now is to obtain my Master Beekeeper Certification – not because I need to add another trophy to my wall but because I want to understand everything I possibly can about bees and be in a position to educate others on them as well. I am passionate about pollinators and I am determined to be a better steward of the land I live on.
These “someday” items just lived on a random page of a goal journal. My weekly, monthly and yearly goals that I set every year did nothing to support these. But THESE GOALS are the true goals that deserve my efforts and attention.
Now I focus daily on decluttering and mindfulness – getting rid of the excess and forcing myself to truly be in the moment. This helps me to recognize when something comes up that is helping me to achieve my “somedays” and when something comes up that distracts me from it.
I’m not perfect and I still have a long way to go but giving myself permission to declutter all of those excess goals is incredibly freeing. And with this newfound freedom, I think I will finally have the ability to achieve beyond my wildest imagination.
About the Author: Rebecca is a beekeeper and animal rescuer building a cozy simple life on 10 acres in the woods with her husband. Her Instagram account @hhflowerfarm showcases her journey into simple living as well as documents daily life on her farm. Find her at hhflowerfarm.com.