There’s a jewelry company that has inspirational quotes on pins, bracelets, and necklaces. I picked up one for a friend that read: progress over perfection. To be honest, most of my life they seemed to be one and the same. I felt the pressure to always be making progress, measurable progress, significant progress. I carried progress like a backpack loaded with hardbound books. And progress, for me, was perfection in blue jeans.
I knew I couldn’t be perfect, but I could stay busy. And busy was almost as good as perfection. However, busy is not part of my natural flow. I would rather think, analyze, plan, and observe. These all feel busy to me. But they don’t look busy to others. So I learned to look busy and measure progress.
Over the last few years, I have changed my definition of progress (and of busyness). I’ve learned that less can be more. Less stress. Less drama. Less clutter. Less on my to-do list. Less busyness allowed me to focus more on a few things. I discovered that I could go deeper. I saw how there was more richness and fullness. There was progress that could be measured and progress that was immeasurable because of its profundity.
2020 captured this reality better than any year I have lived through. There were fewer conversations, but deeper ones. There were less accomplishments, but ones that mattered more. There was nothing new, but it all seemed novel and momentous.
Now, here we are in 2021. There is within me a growing anticipation of potential progress. I set some goals and made a plan. But then I looked it over and realized it was too much. There is no margin. So I cut it all back and trimmed it some more.
This year there are only a few goals to measure and track. Here are my goals for 2021:
- Writing – I want to make progress as a writer. I have been blogging for ten years, but only recently considered myself a writer. So I’m looking for ways to challenge myself in quantity and quality. More words on paper. Better skills in writing. Discipline.
- Podcast – My goal includes 25-30 episodes and a few international guests.
- Dinner Church – Keep it up. Lean in. Help a few others do it, too.
- Self-care – Basically, my goal is to do whatever it takes to stay sane and not implode. Seems reasonable.
That’s it. These are my goals and my progress that I’m planning on in this new year. A year that is probably destined to look like 2020’s ugly stepsister. There are twelve months for me to make, measure, dream, plan, and execute. Only God knows where I will be on December 31st. And, today, I’m okay with it all.
New year, new you. It’s one of my favorite slogans. I love setting new year goals. I like everything about it. The planning and the vision boards and the journal tracking. I’ve been doing it for more than twenty years.
Goal setting became important to me when I started my wedding photography business. It never occurred to me to set goals or write down my dreams. I had dreams. Lots of them. And I’m so good at daydreaming. Dreams and visions of what could be and what should be fill my head all day long. Some of them are elaborate. Some are even realistic. I’m an idealist…I guess. I like to think.
Then one day I heard someone quote a statistic about writing down your dreams and goals. The ones we write down are more likely to be accomplished. It makes sense. The first step to reaching your dreams is to get it out of your head and into the world. Paper seems like a good place to start. You can see it, touch it, even taste it if you really want to. Weird, but ok.
But it’s 2021. New year, new you seems dubious. Ludicrous. And my mind is filled with questions rather than dreams. Does it matter? What’s the point? Will it make a difference? Have I really accomplished anything all these years anyway? Am I simply circling the same mountain?
There is a reason for setting goals beyond the goal itself. It creates habits. It creates body memory. It gives direction when the world is filled with chaos. After twenty years, it has become part of me and the rhythm of my life. Why would I not do it? It is a new year. It is a new day. And I can also be made new.
The chaos of the world doesn’t have to stop me from becoming a better person. The chaos could even inspire me to be a better person. It could inspire me to lean into God and my family and my dreams. Who knows? My dreams might become reality if I get them out of my head and into the world. It could be that there is someone else dreaming the same dreams, hoping the same hopes, looking for a reason to be made new, too.
I’m so thankful for Dr. Kimberly Majeski! She is an ordained minister in the Church of God (Anderson). Kimberly currently teaches at Anderson University and runs two ministries; Stripped Love and Preacher Girl School. She has a great story and teaches us how to be compassionate to others when we don’t know their story.
You will want to check out her website and Preacher Girl School.
Books mentioned in this episode: