If you’re anything like me, this week you’ll be considering and setting goals for the new year. Generally speaking, I don’t make “resolutions”; I make plans. For example, in previous years, I aspired to:
- Read a book a week for the year (done)
- Write a novel (done)
- Become a pastry chef (done)
- Read all the way through the Bible (done)
- Run a marathon and then an ultramarathon (done and done)
- Master clutter (not so much)
We all have hopes and dreams, and the clean slate of a new year is a perfect time to focus and consolidate those. We have plenty of company, after all. (Just try getting on the StairMaster at your gym in January.)
Maybe you have one thing that keeps popping up. One crazy ambition that floats to the surface, sees the light of consideration for two reckless seconds, then gets pushed back down and buried with shovelfuls of “realism.” That thing about which you always say, “I could never….It’s just not something I could do. I’m not (fill in the blank here) enough to do it.”
And yet, the desire is still there. Why?
What if you were talented/strong/fast/smart enough to make that dream come true? How do you really know you aren’t? If it were an easy thing to fulfill, it wouldn’t be a goal…it would be everyday life. What makes it a goal is that you can’t currently do it. Now, plenty of people do extraordinary things as part of their everyday life. Their job is your dream. They just get up and go to work. But they weren’t born doing that; they worked up to it. They didn’t always do what they were doing now; at one point, they just really, really wanted to do it. And then they did.
What those doers had way before they had the means to accomplish anything is the desire to do those things. The courage to attempt them. And the determination to make it happen.
Maybe you’re not strong or fast. Maybe you lack certain skills. Maybe you’ve even made a dozen failed starts. So what? Those aren’t reasons for failure; they’re excuses not to push forward. Those people who succeed in making their goals reality? They know that dark place too…they just keep going straight on through.
You don’t need to be strong; you will get stronger. Raw talent is frequently hidden by insecurity–and generally trumped by effort. If you don’t feel capable enough, fake it till you make it. You’ll either discover you are talented, or you’ll practice so much that you’ll improve and blow past those with genuine giftedness but no ambition. Heart trumps talent any day. The only things you need–those qualities goal-reachers have in common–are desire, courage, and determination.
This year, when you think about what you really want to achieve and the doubts flood in to push that one thing back into its shallow grave, ask yourself if you have those three things. If the answer is yes, you have everything you need to be on your way. This year, why not challenge yourself extravagantly? Pick something…that thing…and go for it. Then just keep going.