Purposeful goals for living well in 2018

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Four inches of snow rests quietly on my driveway, waiting to be topped by an expected 8 inches of fresh powder this week. Sitting by a fire, watching Monday Night Football and petting Scout and Scarlett, my two Labrador retrievers, I decide to keep my pajamas on and let the snow pile up. There will be plenty of time to remove the snow in the morning.

I usually do not procrastinate and allowing snow to pile without removing it is not within my norm, but tonight I allow myself a vacation — a break from reality. Tonight I have to plan.

My hope is to make 2018 purposeful and to ensure I make a difference — I need to set goals. In past years, I made New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, finish writing a book, to eat healthier or to exercise more. Looking back, these resolutions are things to be accomplished, not resolutions to improve my life.

Looking back, I now see accomplishments have little positive effect on my main life purpose. If my goal is to be intrinsically satisfied with the life I live, to be existential in what I offer the Earth, to make a positive difference in the people I come in contact with daily and to improve the life of the people I love most, little will be done through accomplishments. The real goal is in awareness.

A nicer car, bigger house or smaller waistline will not change the well-being of my world. People I love, friends who challenge me, haters who despise me and people I affect who I never meet will change for the better if I am honest with myself. Once I decide to put others first, I begin to be the person I want to be in 2018.

I disregard the notion of demanding to take time for oneself before one can make time for others. I’ve heard many say, “If I don’t take care of myself first, I can’t take care of anyone.” I believe this false platitude is an excuse to be self-absorbed and selfish. This belief is one main reason why society struggles.

Putting oneself first diminishes the importance of everyone else. I argue the opposite. By paying attention to others’ emotions, feelings, needs and necessities, one becomes heightened to the world around oneself. This heightened awareness allows one to live life fully. Nurturing, loving, offering of oneself and truly taking the time to really listen to the meaning of words spoken by a friend, family member, loved-one or casual acquaintance improves the life of others — hence, improving one’s own life.

My goals are simple for 2018. I will listen more than I talk. When I’m tired, sick, lazy or apathetic and someone needs help, I will always help. I will share with as many people as will listen, a positive message of the world I live in. I will continue to passionately love the people I love, strongly embrace and nurture my friendships and create as many positive relationships in my life as I can. If I can accomplish these goals, 2018 will be a success.

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Send comments or other suggestions to William Rutherford at bprutherford@hotmail.com or visit pensiveparenting.com.

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