So here’s this thing that I can’t seem to make sense of. Anyone who knows me or has read this blog knows that I’m not particularly great at achieving goals I set for myself, whether due to crises that arise or getting bored or just giving up on persevering with them. I have read just about every known goal-setting and achieving philosophy known to man and set my intentions accordingly, generally pretty realistic goals and hopes, nothing too huge or out there, identified the steps required and followed the SMART format and so on and so on and so on – and yet. Nothing has ‘stuck’. I’m yet to find that ‘way’ that works for me, but the reality is I probably never will, because ultimately fulfilling intentions and achieving goals comes down to self-control and discipline, two areas of my life that could do with a great deal of improvement.
The point I’m getting to is that as of today, I’m half-way to my goal of reading 100 books this year. Yesterday I listed my 50th book on Goodreads, and I am fully confident of hitting 100 by December 31st. Last year I only got to 57, and I honestly can’t tell you what has made the difference this time around. The fact I love reading is a no-brainer, but that’s no different to this time last year, nor is the fact that I’m dealing with an upheaval in life amongst all the normal duties of parenting and living. My intentions are no different, my ability is no different and my access to resources is just the same. So why am I succeeding now when I didn’t then? I don’t know. I can’t even put it down to an eternal obligation like tracking on Goodreads – being an absolute obliger means that to fulfil any commitment, to myself or anyone else, I need something outside of myself holding me accountable. The only thing I can think of is that I am absolutely determined to get to 100. That’s it.
My question is – how do I apply that determination and commitment to everything else I want to achieve or complete? How to I change my diet to what nourishes me, write regularly, create something every day, move every day, finish and start all those household projects that excite me, learn more about things that excites me – not huge tasks or transformations, but small, everyday good things that align with my beliefs in living well and fully into my life’s purpose? I have an accountability partner who does, well, hold me accountable to what I say I’ll do, but there’s no sting if I don’t fulfil my commitment or intent, and apparently even knowing it’s usually to my own detriment isn’t enough to stop me from eating what actually harms me or spending more hours online or on my phone than in Scripture or reading another book or creating. The sting of physical pain and emotional dissatisfaction and discontent I live with as a result of my choices doesn’t seem to be enough alone to provoke change. Why? Who in their right mind would keep doing what hurts, especially when they have the ability to make changes that heal? That would be me, and yes, I’m very aware of the propensity of humans to resist getting out of their comfort zones in a bid to avoid any form of discomfort, even if those zones are made up of unhealthy coping strategies and ways of living, even knowing that changes would lead to a life lived fully alive and thriving. Again, that would be me.
I don’t have the answers I’m looking for right now, but as I count down this last week to turning 40, I’m unplugging from the noise of the world to listen for whispers, to make way for the Spirit of Life to dwell where He is usually drowned out and made quiet by my distraction and looking at all the shiny things that grab my attention. As I reviewed the first half of 2016 earlier tonight, and saw all the intentions and hopes laying idle and forgotten, I took heart in knowing that tomorrow is another gift from the One who loves me unfailingly, another new beginning and chance to live as fully as He intends for me, and I will embrace that with everything I have.
40 is the beginning of the rest of my life and I can’t wait to see the story unfold.