I’m currently wrapping up my day and ending my week. It also happens to be the last month of the year. Yet as everything is coming to a close, I’m not ready to tie a shiny bow on any of my projects. The fact is I’m in the middle of two manuscripts, the Christmas shopping isn’t finished, and there are always papers to grade and laundry to be washed and folded. If I tried to wrap up anything in my life right now it would resemble enclosing a litter of puppies with tissue paper.
Why do we want to force projects, deadlines, and, well…life into packages before they are ready? I think packages are appealing because they look complete and polished.
We all want to feel complete (I’m preaching to the choir). Honestly, I desire to complete every project I began in 2015. But let’s be real, life can take a turn and then I’m inspired by something shiny, and it’s not a bow. A new book idea comes to mind or time dulls my enthusiasm.
Really it’s a pretty clear reflection of our culture, this thing that happens in the background. We’re never satisfied. How could we feel satisfied constantly looking for the bigger, and the brighter? Next thing we know, the idea we were inspired by just days or weeks ago has become lackluster, possibly even disheartening.
And that is the other end of the problem. We not only want to wrap up our goals quickly (and realize we can’t) but we also fear that what we’ve done might be uninteresting or worse, disappointing. Have you ever opened a dissatisfying gift? Even the most polished wrapping can’t make up for a terrible present.
At the end of the year, why do we hustle to accomplish all of our yearly goals? Because we yearn to feel complete and to wrap things up. To feel satisfied. And to for sure avoid being disappointing.
I’ll admit in the past I’ve stuffed as much into the month of December as I could, even to the point of making myself sick. Whether I double booked Christmas parties or ate seconds without stretchy pants, shoving everything into a box (or into December) isn’t ever going to be pretty.
So, how can we bring our year to an end feeling complete and polished and avoid all of this drama?
- Set bite-sized goals that add up to your end-goal.
- Focus on one goal at a time. (Maybe two if you’ve got the support!)
- Share your goals with a friend for accountability.
- Reward yourself with each achievement.
- Don’t beat yourself up for missing a deadline. Rework your goal to meet it sooner rather than later. Remember, we’re aiming for complete and polished.
- Celebrate the major accomplishments in a major way!
There’s no better feeling than knowing you’ve set out to do what you intended, and done the job well. Some might argue that you’re never done with a manuscript or laundry, but when we intentionally set objectives there are boxes to be checked; we can tack the proverbial shiny bow on top of the task(s) we’ve wrapped up.