Challenges and Goals

A new year always brings about a sense of fresh beginnings, a new start, a revamp of dreams and goals and plans.  A new year = a new you!

I’m going to get very personal here, which I rarely do, so please read this with kindness in mind.

I don’t feel new.

I have mixed feelings about moving into this new year.  I had high hopes for 2017.  I wouldn’t say I had overly high hopes, just your normal run-of-the-mill hopes, but high in terms of what it would bring me on a personal, internal level.

It turned out nothing like I had planned.

It was both the best year and the worst year I’ve had.  Well, in truth, the worst year was the year my dad died.  But it’s the juxtaposition between good and bad that made it the second-worst year, I think.  I had some great and exciting things happen (some of which will be revealed in future posts), and yet, it’s been emotionally hard, too.  

Without getting into details, 2017 finished in the opposite direction of where I wanted the year to go.  It happens.  We deal with it and move on.  Or, at least we try to.  I’m stuck in the position of not knowing how to move forward.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing at this point--eventually I’ll work it out.  It’s just taking a lot longer than I had hoped.  In the meantime though, I feel confused and frustrated and just at a loss of where to go from here.  On top of all of this (or perhaps because of it), I’m questioning too much about myself--who I am, what I want, what is truly important to me in terms of what I want to achieve in life.  Or maybe not knowing those things has contributed to why I’m feeling stuck and to the things that have happened over the year.  See...constantly questioning.  Questioning in and of itself isn’t a bad thing since it allows us to grow and improve ourselves.  But if it holds us back from moving forward, that’s not the best thing.  And that might just be what is happening to me.

A new year usually pumps us up for everything we hope to achieve during the next 365 days.  I usually feel this way.  But this year, I’m not as excited to move into the new year, basically because I don’t know how to get there.  I don’t know how to achieve my dreams and goals.  I’m not sure I know what those dreams are anymore and what my focus is or should be.  The dreams and goals I had are still there, but they might be taking a slightly different turn from what I originally thought.  Or, maybe I know what they are but don’t know how to achieve them at this point, maybe even afraid to chase them.  Whatever the case, it’s super frustrating to me, someone who tries to plan accordingly and tends to be a perfectionist in the execution of said plans.

Inside background information: I am a giver.  I am a helper.  I am a people-pleaser.  

These are (mostly) great qualities.  But when a person consistently, without question, puts them above their own needs and wants, it can be self-destructive.  And that’s one of the things I have learned about myself in the last year.  I’ve always known I’m a people-pleaser, but the extent of that, I was not aware.  And it has become a problem for me.  I am always--always--putting other people before me at the expense of myself.  I do it so often and without thinking about it that I don’t even know what *I* want, or worse, know it and ignore it, stuff it down, tell myself it’s okay to not give to myself because it means the other person is happy.  And then I get resentful for not getting what I need and want.  It’s unconscious self-sabotage. And that’s never good.  It leads to unhappiness.  And it leads to a life we’re unsatisfied with, unfulfilled by.  It affects our relationships and how we deal with life.

This is not the only thing that I’ve realized in 2017, but it’s a huge part of it, something that has contributed to certain choices I’ve made along the way.  And now, at the start of 2018, I am really looking hard at my life, really trying to answer the question of what I want out of my life.  What are my dreams and my goals and what will make me happy and bring me joy?

I don’t yet have complete answers.  Or, again, maybe I do and don’t know how to get there.  And maybe I’m having a hard time accepting new ideas.

Life is about twists and turns and changes we don’t see coming.  Our mission is to deal with those twists and turns and changes.  And as they say, it’s all about how we deal with those that define us.  It’s about having faith that everything will all turn out okay in the end, no matter the end result.  

Confession: I have not been dealing well.  

By this I mean that I’ve been questioning myself and my circumstances too much.  I tend to get bogged down in the questions rather than finding or accepting the answers.  I am an overthinker.  Thinking things through thoroughly isn’t always a bad thing, but it becomes a bad thing when the questions and the what-ifs take over.  I am truly envious of people who know what they want and go after it without questioning what it all means, what it will result in, what will happen to all of the different pieces along the way.  I so very much want to think that way.  I can work at changing that if I want to.  But either way, I have to stay true to myself, and that’s been the biggest challenge for me.  It’s hard to stay true to yourself when you put everything and everyone before you and don’t even think about what you’re truth is and can’t even recognize it when it’s staring you in the face.

The question is, now that I recognize this, how do I move ahead?  What steps do I take?  What are my dreams and goals and hopes for the future?  

I’m on the backend of 39.  I am staring 40 in the face, and while I do not consider this “old” in the slightest, I do consider it a potentially transitional age, one where we officially enter mid-life and maybe start to look at things differently because of it.  Maybe we’re happy with all that we’ve accomplished.  Maybe we’re regretful at what we didn’t.  Maybe we’re angry at whatever fear kept us from getting what we truly desire.  Maybe we’re resentful at what life has handed us.  Maybe some of these apply to me, and maybe they don’t.

At this point in my life, I ask myself:
What is it you truly want for the next 40 years (God willing)?  
What will make you happy?  
What choices do you make so that you live a life of no regrets?

For the first time in several years, I have not made any resolutions.  This doesn’t mean that I don’t have things that I want to work on or towards.  It simply means that I’m not declaring them.  First and foremost, I have to work on several things for me; the above is just one example.  That won’t be easy, both to identify and to put into action.  But it’s what’s needed.  How I will go about doing that, I have no idea.  I have started but it’s a long road ahead.

What I’m working on for 2018 is something new for me: I am working on myself.

I don’t know how it will go.  I don’t know what the end result will be.  It will more than likely be messy.

What I do know is that I’ll be doing a lot of self-help and inspirational reading, a lot of soul-searching, and a lot of crying, if I’m honest (though, in truth, I have that one down pat at this point).  I hope to do a lot of writing to help me sort through what I’m thinking and, more importantly, what I’m feeling (because I can rarely trust what I think).

At the start of all of this self-recognition, I felt hopeful at what lies ahead for me.  Now, that hope has been greatly diminished, most likely by my own questions.  But I am hopeful that my hope will return.  I am hopeful that eventually I will have faith that everything will turn out okay in the end, whatever the end result is.  I am hopeful that I can achieve my dreams and goals, that I am worthy of them.  I am hopeful that I will learn to have faith in myself.

And that is my goal for 2018--to believe in myself, to feel worthy of everything I want, to feel like I, too, deserve to be happy.

My plan for the year is to be less planned, to not try to force situations or circumstances, but to go with the flow and trust the process as well as the end result.

This. Will. Not. Be. Easy.

And things will change, for better or for worse.

But challenges are how we grow.  And when we grow, we expand our world.  When we love ourselves as much as we love others, our love multiplies and becomes more complete.  Maybe we even find our happiness along the way.

Here’s to works in progress.  

Here’s to hope.  

Here’s to me.

Here’s to 2018.


  1. Make your word for the year "ME"! And cut out a picture of someone who is bold, sassy and out there and put it where you can see it every day, many times. Actually, when I came to this realization (I was 50) my inspiration was a drag queen I had worked with for several years. He's out there, bold and in your face, but at the same time he raises and donates money to charity with drag bingo almost every week. So someone who lives his own life (married now to his partner of many years), creates the wildest costumes weekly and yet still gives. Good'll make it.

    1. So glad to know that I'm not alone in this quest! And that's a great idea, of cutting out a picture of someone I admire for these reasons. I'll have to think about who that might be. :) I love your story -- I hope to find someone who offers me that same inspiration that you found. Thanks for your comment and support!


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