Why I’m not setting goals this year, and what I’m doing instead

We’re a few weeks into the new year, so I’ve had some time to really think and settle into a plan. I think I’ve come up with something sustainable and not discouraging.

I recently listened to a really great podcast that sort of blew my mind, I think it might actually change my life. In The Lazy Genius, Kendra talked about the difference between transformation and formation. Transformation is trying to constantly achieve our ideal self- aiming for things like smaller pants, a cleaner house, zero debt. This transformational thinking is dangerous because it often leads us to think we are only successful when we are moving towards our ideal. If we skip a day of exercise or neglect our gratitude journal for months then we have failed.

What if, instead of seeking to transform into this other person at the end of a line of steady choices, we saw each day as something that forms us into who we already are? … [If] you release your expectation to transform into an ideal version and instead see every day as a gentle forming, a shaping of who you already are, the road is so much more gracious. You’ll start to see that it’s not just that who you are is enough but that you can become an even truer version of that person by recognizing the small ways your choices can form that person even more deeply.

How freeing is that!? Kendra encourages us to ask “formational” questions, like: what filled me up? How can I love my people better? And then to just live life, but with intention. She talks about setting intentions instead of setting goals. There’s a difference between plans we’ve failed at, and intentions we haven’t reached, one of them is so much kinder to ourselves.

She talks about a lot of other really helpful things in her podcast, like thinking of our failures not as a period but as an arrow, a way of continually figuring out what works and what doesn’t. If any of this resonates with you at all, I strongly encourage you to check it out. You can find it here.

So this year, I am NOT setting goals. I’m “continuing in the process of forming the person I already am”, as Kendra says, and I’m setting intentions.

And I’m only setting two intentions for myself. At least for now. The beauty of coming from a mindset of formation is that its so flexible.

  1. This year, I want to create more balance in my days, allowing more time for things that fill me up. Things like nature walks, one-on-one time with my kids or husband, reading more widely and more deeply, and exploring new hobbies.
  2. I want to learn to trust and follow my own intuition. When my gut is telling me something is right or wrong, or prodding me to explore certain avenues, I want to listen and recognize that as worth pursuing. I want to make a plan to follow through in what my intuition is telling me to do.

I’m looking forward to a new year and a new mindset!

I am already good enough! But as I live my days with intention, my actions can more deeply form me into a truer version person I already am.

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