We’re a strange bunch when that New Year clock draws near to its goal, we go into overdrive with our own goals, dreams, aspirations and resolutions. And what of all these resolutions. I’ve been pondering how empty the blogosphere would be if we removed all the ‘New Year Resolutions’ conversations made in the last week. Resolutions? Not me but I do make and aim for goals continually, some of which I meet and others I don’t. I like to have too many goals because it leaves me room for more rather than getting to the end of my list and not knowing where to next.
Dictionary.com says (relevant meaning chosen from multiple meanings)
A Goal is the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end
Dreams are an aspiration; goal; aim: A trip to Europe is his dream.
Aspiration is 1. strong desire, longing, or aim; ambition: intellectual aspirations. 2. a goal or objective desired: The presidency is the traditional aspiration of young American boys.
And a Resolution is
3. the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.
They all seem very similar to me. Before today I held a belief that I did not believe in New Year Resolutions but each January 1, I would formulate a list of things I wanted or intended to achieve that year. For as long as I remember I’ve always been a goal setter. I vaguely recall making lists while I was in upper primary school and clearly remember making goals during my high school years. I also remember that a great many of my goals were not achieved. It would often see me questioning the value and of course being hard on myself for not doing all that I planned. Now as I look back I see I was learning how to set realistic and achievable goals. It was in my early 20′s that it all came together for me. I had become a single mum with an 18 month little princess. My goals for that time actually started before then. My newfound circumstances were the result of wanting a better life, a life that a sweet, smart pretty little girl deserved. And so we embarked on our new life. They were difficult times but the optimist in me made it a good life, public pools, libraries, playgrounds, playing together & reading books, baking and gardening. Lots of debt, little money and at first no home. We started our new life together in emergency housing for the homeless. Each tenant was housed for 8 wks in which time they were expected to save the money required to rent in the private market. Most people stayed well over 3 months and some up to 6 months. Right up front I was told about the expected 8 wks plan to independent living but also not to worry if I didn’t make it in the time, as failure was common and because of the Christmas period I would be given extra time. Ahh, I’d been given a goal and I rose to the challenge. We moved into our own privately rented unit in the 9th week, Christmas period included. That Christmas I realised God was real when the Salvation Army left a box at my door and it contained every item from my shopping list I’d not been able to buy, right down to a can of soft drink for each of us. That was massive, I had stood in the supermarket crying as I’d tried to figure out what to leave behind only to receive it all plus more from strangers. My next goal was to pay out all my debt and save for a ‘brand new’ fridge and washing machine while I waited out the expected 6 months wait for state subsidised housing. And I did it! Moving into my new unit with my first ever new electrical items was a very proud and exciting day for me.
So now I’m saying goodbye to 17 years of marriage and making new goals again. This time the goals are helping keep me happy and focused. It’s not so much about the physical need but more about the process. It gives me something to plan and dream, it keeps me focused. Honestly, the last 3 months have been the most difficult in my entire life, more difficult than escaping a violent relationship, more difficult than starting out young with a baby girl but because of those past goals and lessons learned I know this time I can do it again. Looking back at all my past goals and the testimony of all God has done in my life shows me I can. I know getting bogged down thinking about how hard it is doesn’t help and lately I am guilty of having trouble remembering that fact. But time and time again Jesus lifts my spirit and I get back on track. No matter how often I fall He picks me up.
So for this January 2013 my goals are very simple but they are big for where I am at. They are enough to remind me where I’ve been, what I’ve achieved and where I’m going. They are enough to remind me of His working in my life and give me peace to just be – where I am today.
I’ve a perfect little 1 bedroom flat to settle into and put my stamp on. I’ve plans to make a patchwork rug for the floor. I’ve also committed to making 12 sewing items and declared it publicly over at Karen’s from didyoumakethat. I’m even going to put a bit more pressure on myself by promising to make a donation to charity if I fail. Maybe I’ll still make a donation if I achieve them as a means of celebration. And of course I’m going to get well and get a job. I’ve not worked since 2004 except for voluntary work in our church office which I loved. I’m looking forward to having a job I enjoy more than the prospect of increased income. So I have dreams and goals for 2013 but I still don’t think resolutions are for me!
So how about you are they different words, same meaning? I wonder if it depends on your world view, perspective and to some degree whether one is an optimist or pessimist.