The New Year’s resolution has long been a source of personal failure. As a child, I would handcraft a list of behavioral changes and specific goals I intended to accomplish the following year. I imagined that midnight on December 31st was as magical as Santa. I would wake on New Year’s Day refreshed and improved, capable of success in every imaginable way.
I was wrong. Every year I was wrong until I began to despise the changing of the calendar. I was not going to write X number or words every single day or chew my food X number of times or exercise for X number of minutes X times per week because you can’t plan life. You can only plan for life.
As an adult, I relearned how to set achievable goals. My first step was making my list smaller. The second was breaking up the items on the list into bite-sized pieces. Still, there was failure in the sense that not all boxes were checked come time for the ball to drop.
In the last few years I have redefined both failure and success. My goals remain fluid because I have recognized myself as fluid, as a person in a constant state of change. My goals today may not apply tomorrow. Priorities are subject to being reordered. And one item on a list might be achieved through the efficient accomplishment of another item. It all lies in perspective. It turns out there was success in failure all along.
This year, I have a one goal: it is to accomplish one project each month. I have not defined to myself what a project is outside of it feeling important. I excel at generating ideas and beginnings, but I frequently find my work unfinished. So, I decided to define only what it means for a project to be complete: I must be satisfied with what I have done. Ultimately, I am calling myself to engage with what is meaningful in my life at any point. Because there is no expectation of how long a project must be or take to complete, this is a practice in authenticity.