If you ever read my old blog, you’d know that one of the traditions it started for me was New Year’s resolutions. I never used to do them before blogging, but something about the accountability of writing them out publicly made me care about setting more goals. (Another reason I think more people should blog.) So in keeping with tradition, I’ll evaluate mine from last year and use those to set some new ones.
To preface, last year I decided to try setting more intangible goals for personal growth rather than specific milestones that could be checked off and then left alone. These were things I wanted to have in the back of my head as I encountered difficult situations; little reminders of things I could work on gradually, over time. I’m really glad I did that. Here’s what they were:
1. Ask more questions than I do talk about myself.
This is something I’m still working on. I noticed lately how much it’s creeping up again; I’ll catch myself 75% percent of the way though a conversation and realize I haven’t asked the other person a single question that had nothing to do with me. Each of my responses puts the focus back on myself, and I don’t want to be like that. I think having the resolution definitely helped me be more aware of it, so in that sense it’s a success. But it could still use work. Lots of work. I’m kind of a selfish prick.
2. Challenge the people I care about in healthy ways.
This one’s hard to quantify, but I think the key to challenging people this year, for me, was more about asking questions than it was pushing back on things I disagreed with. For example, I found it easier (and sometimes more effective) to keep probing friends with questions when they were struggling with something- and just doing my best to assist them in solving their own problem- than trying to do it myself and tell them what I thought was right. I also learned people are more likely to take risks when someone’s willing to do it with them.
3. Be so uncompromising on the things I believe in that a few people hate me.
Okay. So hate is a strong word. But I did take some risks on being liked. Being abroad helped a lot with this. I wasn’t in a community of people who grew up the way I did, or thought the same way I did, so I had to choose sometimes between being true to myself and making other people comfortable. It was hard. I’m proud of some of the risks I did take (and I know they probably didn’t cast me in the most favorable light to some), and I think I could stand to take more. It’s all about practice, and small steps, and being patient with yourself as you wait for your confidence to grow.
4. Let things go that I can’t control. Who cares who cares who cares.
Man, this one is so freeing when I can just get myself to do it. I think that’s all I need to say here.
5. Pursue learning for its own sake.
Really glad I did this. It was so satisfying to dive into things I didn’t know and just enjoy the journey of benefiting from other people’s wisdom and experience. It’s really humbling to realize you don’t know anything compared to most, but then there’s so much room for possibility! Now I’m entering a period of my life where my learning work ethic is stronger and I’m hungry to know more, but then use the things I learn to go forward and actually do something with them. Which brings me to 2017.
Without any further meandering, here are my 2017 resolutions.
- Love people for who they are, not who I want them to be.
- Loosen my grip on my life; listen to God’s voice more and my plans less.
- Learn for the sake of doing (see the tie-in to previous #5?).
- Be the first to speak up (whether that’s asking for help, saying what’s right, initiating a relationship, etc.).
- Have a more concrete direction for post-graduation. (This last one is the only tangible goal, and that’s because I think it’s important.)
If any of you wanna approach me from time to time and open a conversation with “Hey, how’s #2 going?” or something like that, I’ll be impressed and probably embarrassed. I could always use accountability. Otherwise, Happy New Year and good luck with whatever you’re all heading toward. May you navigate it with grace and joyful anticipation.