Or, goal-setting for the timid.

I have been wittering away for weeks about goal-setting. I’ve mentioned it out loud a few times, but there’s been a much deeper internal monologue and I can’t count the number of times it has appeared on my list of actions for the day. I thought that I was shying away from actually doing it. Oh, I took steps. I dug out an old book on prioritising my passions and promised myself I would return to where I left off in 2017 and actually complete it. I watched endless YouTube videos which all agreed that the best way to set your goals was to work out what is important to you, then determine what needs strengthening, then set up specific goals and break them down into bite-sized chunks. Yet 2023 was knocking on the door and I hadn’t actually done the goal-setting.

Then yesterday morning I experienced a revelation as I made my bed: I already know what my goals are for the coming year. They are the things which I’ve been wanting to do all along and have been putting off. In fact, I was already halfway done with my goal-setting: I knew the what, I just needed to work on the how. Suddenly a mammoth task was half-done without me putting in any effort, because my brain had been working it all out whilst I wasn’t paying attention.

So here we are, and I’m clear about my goals for the time being. The William Hannah intentional journal pages will help me to achieve the little steps towards them, and keep me from concentrating too much on one to the detriment of others. Some of them (editing the novel!) are going to need a lot of commitment, others (knitting socks) come pretty easy.

Two goals have been struck off the list before I start. First, there is my Christmas tree. I’ve been intending for years to get rid of my old artificial Christmas tree and buy myself a spiffing new one that will be easier to put up and take down and have lights that miraculously string themselves. My sister wisely advised me not to put away my tree this year – just get rid of it. And that was my intention. Then a few days ago I looked at it, and I realised I can’t face the idea of sending it to the tip. It’s the perfect size and shape. Yes, it sheds artificial needles more than I’d like it to. Yes, each year at least one of the little branches detaches itself. It’s a nuisance to store, but you know what? A new tree would be a nuisance to store, too. Most of all, it is my tree, it is part of my family, and I can’t part ways with it until it gives up the ghost of its own accord. So, I don’t have to look at new Christmas trees this year.

The other cast-off goal is a little less romantic. I want a new computer but I can’t afford a new computer. Well, I can afford one which isn’t quite what I want and which I won’t use very often, but I can’t afford the new laptop of my dreams this year. Thinking about this, I looked into the second-hand market, but that would only have netted me something two years younger than my current mature offerings. I need to hold out until I can buy a brand new one. In the meantime, I’m going to lean much more heavily on my iPad, though I’m not convinced I’ll ever be entirely happy in an iPad-only set-up.

One of the items I’ve been mulling over on and off through 2022 and which has recently bubbled back up to the surface has made it onto the goals list and is going to be ridiculously easy to accomplish. In fact, I can have it sorted before midday tomorrow if I choose. There’s nothing like a quick win to set you up for a new year.

Amongst all this, the system I’ve set up for my planning feels entirely bedded-in. I enjoy carrying my A5 William Hannah notebook with me every day, though occasionally I’ll leave it at home if circumstances dictate. I don’t miss the Filofax at all. My fountain pens suit my current needs beautifully, though I’m not ruling out perhaps one purchase in 2023. I’m keen to work my way through my inks, so that’s one area where I want to be more circumspect this year.

Overall, what the past few days have taught me is that goal-setting can be a very formal process, or it can be much more organic. The important thing is to take the time to acknowledge what your goals are, to evaluate whether they are still relevant, and to put in the work to achieve them. That last part may prove to be the difficult bit!