Let's Make Some Goals for 2024
This year, what do you want to accomplish - and how do you want to feel while you're doing it? (Or should we say no to goals altogether?)
Dogs of Cythera (1963) by Dorothea Tanning
I’ve always had an aversion to resolutions because I never want to feel like my life is just a series of finish lines and checked boxes. I want to relish the process of writing more than I want to be holding a finished book. I want to enjoy cooking more than I want to make the perfect meal. I want my closest relationships to be ongoing experiments that evolve in interesting new ways all the time instead of becoming rigid and rote.
I guess I’ve become a person who cares more about process than results.
But isn’t that a little bit wishy-washy? Shouldn’t I be able to define exactly what I’m aiming for? Lately, whenever I try to translate my desires into goals, I get a little anxious, a little stubborn. My big baby throws her peas at the wall and yells “I DON’T WANT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE WANT!”
What a brat!
When I really think about it, 2023 was a great year for me in part because I had so few goals. I finally stopped worrying about how ambitious I was and thought: Why not just relax and enjoy where I am? Why not do less? What’s to gain from scurrying around in a hurry, day after day, trying to do more all the time?
I even gave a talk at a local university where one of my slides said nothing but:
(Weird that I gave a talk at all, honestly, given how much LESS I was doing at the time!)
That said, I really want to do more this year. I want to write down some goals (OUCH OUCH OUCH I HATE IT) and actually accomplish them. I’m already committed to running a half marathon at the end of February. I’m starting to work on a new book. But it still feels so challenging to make these things official — and to commit to them with all of my heart.
So instead of imparting some wisdom here, I just want to say THIS PART IS HARD. And I want to ask you, sincerely, to share your insights with me.
What are your goals for the year?
How do you implement big changes when you have a habit of dragging your feet?
When you hit the wall with a big project, what do you do to push through it?
How do you commit to cultivating a full life when you’re a little bit of a commitment-phobe?
Thanks for your input — I need it! — and thanks for being here. Big babies need other big babies so much!
Please share your thoughts and insights in the comments below. Next week, Ask Polly will return to its usual format, but if there’s anything you want to see more of around here, please let me know!