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Goals Vs. Tasks

Goals create big changes; tasks keep things the same.

We need to have a balance; we need both.

The mindset of achieving goals at any cost creates chaos because those people and things you already have are neglected or damaged.

The mindset of maintaining and avoiding change creates stagnation and leaves you nothing to replace those things that wear out or break, or the people who move out of our lives for their own reasons.

A balance of creation and maintenance allows both change and preservation. Trees spend the spring madly creating new tissue, and they spend the rest of the year solidifying and integrating the tissue they created in the spring.

A goal and a task are not the same thing. If you can just take the correct action and get the result you want, that is not a goal; it’s a task. And lots of us could use some support and encouragement to get our tasks done.

Routine work like home maintenance, yard maintenance, car maintenance, parts of your job at work are tasks. No special techniques are needed, just the necessary tools and supplies, and enough time to do the work. And maybe a little motivation is in order, too, like a self-directed kick in the behind.

A goal is a large change in ourselves or our lives. This could be a career change, a move, a relationship change (in any kind of relationship, not necessarily just in an intimate relationship), or anything that could be considered disruptive if it weren’t our choice to change.

Goals require many steps to accomplish them, oftentimes specialized techniques or tools, and a huge amount of work. They do not maintain what we have but rather change what we have in a fundamental way. Goals often require more than one person working together to accomplish, and they impact both people and things. The hope is that the impact is positive for all concerned.

So seek balance, and work on both your tasks and your goals.

The Key to Change

“And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been … and let us see that we learn to take it without letting fall too much of what it has to bestow upon those who demand of it … great things.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke, 1892-1910

The new year holds such promise, with its clean slate and its fresh beginning. We can almost feel the field of infinite possibilities unfolding before us as we look ahead unencumbered by our past that we left behind in the old year.

We feel passionate, hopeful, eager for transformation, seeing the world with new eyes so that the world looks new again, filled with the promise of “things that have never been”.

We believe that this time, things will be different, we will be different, and our lives will become what we want them to be. We even understand the magnitude of the effort and time involved in the transformations we ask of the new year, and are willing to put in that effort and time to accomplish them.

So how do we find ourselves in the same situation we left behind, year after year? How do we lose sight of the bright shining future we envisioned for the new year yet again?

The key lies hidden in plain sight, as it so often does: at the new year, we choose to see the possibilities, we stoke the fires of desire for transformation, for evolution, for growth and change, and perhaps most importantly, we let go of the past, releasing it to stay in the past, in the old year that’s ending.

You see, as long as we’re holding onto the past, we can’t create a new future. As long as we feel emotions like anger, regret, sorrow, grief, frustration, annoyance, vengeance, we are tied to the past by the strongest of cords.

The key to lasting, effective change is simply to allow the past to stay in the past instead of holding onto it by reliving our emotions.

During the holidays, we have a break from our routines, along with a festive spirit and (hopefully) time away from work to relax with family or friends. Because we have broken our routines, our minds have become more open to new possibilities, and our focus is on the future.

We often feel emotional about what the future could hold as well, and we’re ready to open our hands and our hearts and let the past fall out and lie amongst the ashes, where it belongs, while we turn our eyes and minds toward the horizon and the shining new year rising before us, replete with promise and possibility.

This year, keep your eyes on the future. It will be bright, because it will be what you create. Allow the past to remain behind you, unseen and unfelt. You have lived through it once; carrying the past with you will not mitigate its effects; rather, you will strengthen it by pouring emotional energy into it.

Pour your emotional energy into your future instead, into the infinite field of possibilities lying before you. You have the ability to choose the future you want to walk into; you can create the life you want to live. Study the possibilities with an open mind and an open heart, thrill with the possibilities, infuse them with positive emotions, and start working to manifest your dreams.

It’s time to set down your baggage and leave it in the past. Turn your eyes to the horizon and embrace the promise of the new year.