I'm a firm believer in goal setting.
Each year I make a lengthy list of resolutions; sometimes the list tops nearly 20. And each year I choose to abandon a few of the resolutions midway through the year for various reasons. If you've changed as a person and recognize that the goal no longer fits your current values and priorities, I think you have permission to let it go.
For example, one of my goals last year was to lose the 15 lbs I'd acquired early on in our marriage and to drop another 10 for good measure to get down to my college weight. I imagined myself in my size 2 skinny jeans. Plenty of other women had done it as I looked over the internet finding various role models, diets, and even imagining some cute outfits I'd squeeze into when I had my 19 year old body back. About 15 lbs into the weight loss I was able to fight for another 5 bringing the grand total to nearly 20 lbs. But the minute my lips tasted something sugary I'd plunk 2 lbs back on. My body seems comfortable about 15 lbs heavier than my college weight now. The truth is that the number on the scale required no effort on my part when I was 19. I ate what I wanted, exercised on several sports teams after classes each day, and danced until the wee hours of the morning on weekends. My body felt comfortable there. With a few more curves and a lot more responsibility I have different needs now than I did then. Midway through the year I abandoned the "skinny jeans goal" and accepted my body at its new weight.
Along the way I did learn some new dietary habits (eliminating daily desserts, enriched rice and pasta for the most part) and I have incorporated far more vegetables and healthy proteins into my diet. I also have several exercise options available indoors to help through the cold, winter months. The goal was more amended than abandoned.
On a positive note I did achieve many wonderful things in 2008. My husband and I travelled throughout New England, visited Charleston S.C., enjoyed my first visit to D.C., explored Baltimore, and took a long adventure to the Panama Canal, South America and the Caribbean. We also saved a large chunk of money towards a downpayment on our future home and put money into our retirement accounts (which have sunk 40% this year, ouch). We decorated our apartment (with many hand me downs and sale items!) and made it more homey. We celebrated our first year of marriage with a picnic and began some lovely traditions as a newlywed couple. We also started back to school to finish advanced degrees in our fields and improve our future job opportunities.
It's been a busy year and we've grown closer to one another and hope that our future continues to provide blessings and opportunities far beyond the goals we conceive in January of any given year.
2009 is fast approaching... Do you have a list of goals in mind?
Recommended resources for goal setting:
Ideas for goals: