My 2015 Non-Goals

You know the drill by now, it’s non-goal time. In a month where we’re encouraged to pick apart bits of ourselves – more of this, less of that – sometimes it’s just refreshing to take a step back and see the landscape for what it is. To swim in the grace we’ve been given; leap in the forgiveness we’re granted. To just keep walking, one foot then another, without searching for a new route that might offer a quicker arrival to a destination we were never intended to seek.

And so, I do this every year on Jan 1st: a brief list of non-goals. Non-resolutions, non-changes, non-improvements. It’s a short list of things I’m learning to embrace about myself; things that make me uniquely… well, me. I find it to be a really refreshing practice, so if you’re in the mood, shall we pour a cup of coffee together and spill it? Here’s my list:

  1. You’re learning to celebrate your introverted nature and understand your need for rest. You’ve been curling up with books during Bee’s nap and letting the dishes, the laundry, the emails wait just a few hours longer. Sometimes you’ll fall asleep with the afternoon sun on your face and a memoir in your hand, and on these days, your patience can move mountains.
  2. You’re finally prioritizing and letting those values just be, without consulting third, fourth and fifth opinions that might perhaps encourage you to shift them elsewhere. Your marriage, your family, your sleep, your writing, your health. These are high on your list, and although they come with a price, the rewards have been plenty.
  3. You’ve been subtracting much from your life: less stuff, less self-imposed pressures, less noise. You’re a better person with less. You’re gentler.
  4. You were born with a thin skin, and for a bit, you tried to thicken it to become like the others. The strong ones, you’d think. The bold ones, you’d say. But your thin skin offers – on most days – an empathy you couldn’t feel beneath layers and layers of thickness. And for this, let it be thin.

Care to peruse a few old non-goal lists? I dug up 2011, 2012 and 2013 (which, unsurprisingly, I simplified quite a bit!). Happy 2015, friends – would love to hear a few non-goals you’ve acquired over your lifetime! Feel free to share in the comments, as always.

  • beautifully written, and so much I can take from this. Thank you for sharing! Many blessings in 2015.

  • I love the beauty in your non-goals…they reflect the grace of their writer. Perhaps my hope of the New Year lies more in a fresh perspective of the woman I want to be as opposed to the things I want to do. That being said, I’ll be subtracting from my closet and home while adding to my life a gratitude journal. Celebrating my marriage is another biggie. We all know it’s work, but I never want to forget it’s firstly an extraordinary gift. Cheers to you and your sweet family for 2015, Erin!

    • “woman I want to be as opposed to the things I want to do” – I LOVE this, Theresa!!! Three cheers. :)

  • I appreciate your non-goal list. When I take the time to reflect, my non-goals often naturally give rise to a couple specific goals as well. A non goal of mine for the past couple years: reflecting on beauty & continuing to enjoy creation & creativity, along with taking note & celebrating renewal, new life & lovely things in those around me as well. For me, this turned into an “art night” every couple months with other women to help me set aside some intentional time for art & keep me inspired in my enjoyment of daily beauty in the not-so-mundane.

  • I love your perspective. It’s hard for me to contain myself from making new goals when I am so displeased with a lot of areas in my life, but your writing definitely helps me be a more positive person who will look at 2014 as a good year where I’ve found and come to accept important things about myself.

  • Lovely list, Erin, It seems like you and I are pretty similar; I found myself nodding my head at these. I’ll be writing my own non-goals in my journal today, too. Thank you for sharing!

  • Thin-skinned: I like that. I like that my 2014 was a year of relative ease, compared to my first 4 four years of blogging, motherhoood and marriage. It was a year of firsts, of sighs, less sorrows, more bliss. I haven’t set any goals for 2015 except to embrace my own skin. Thank you again, Erin. Your words are your masterpiece.

  • I really love this practice of seeking not what we think we should change about ourselves, but striving to embrace more fully who we all ready are. Thank you for this reminder, Erin!

  • love this post – put shared it on FB and it sparked some good conversations with friends about the importance of a new year, and the unnecessary burdens we self impose. Love your blog!

  • Erin, I love this post!! I also loved the December post about slowing down- so important!

    I was getting overwhelmed seeing all the goals everyone is posting, but reading this post warmed me. I’m inspired to do the same on my blog:)!

    I too want to value that I’m slowing down- I’m tired of feeling guilty for slowing down, and want to value it!. Beautiful words as always:).

  • I have never heard of this before, so I’m really glad that I stumbled upon it while reading Ember+March’s “Sunday Morning Coffee” :) This is a much more positive start to the new year that I’d love to start embracing as you have, instead of looking back on all the resolutions I haven’t accomplished over the last year haha. Hmm, this year I’m going to embrace my need to be alone from time to time without feeling bad about it, like I should be socializing or something. As an introvert, I really need times like these to rest, recharge, re-energize! Happy 2015!! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

    • Thank you, Audrey – I love the idea of embracing your need for alone time! Right there with you. :)

  • I love this! I have to admin that I am not a yearly goal maker and try to better myself at anytime. This is a great way to look at it all though.

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