Are you looking forward or looking back?
This is an odd title for me—I spend a lot more time looking backwards than I do looking forward. But, as the calendar turns the proverbial page, it makes sense to look forward—and to write about it.
Looking forward by setting goals
Yep, each New Year’s Eve, I try to set some goals for the coming year. (One year I came up with a suggested list of goals for my kids. That didn’t go over very well.) Often, my list is nearly identical to the previous year’s. That means those ten pounds still sit around my hips. The ambitious exercise program has again been usurped by exercise that’s more fun. In other words, if I’m not chasing a ball, I’m not running.
Sometimes the unchanged list is also indicative of priorities that remain in place. I’m still working on worrying less, writing more, touching base with people I care about. Notice the modifier; I’m working on these things.
Looking forward by committing to a process
Perhaps it’s a rationalization, but maybe we don’t need to accomplish goals. Maybe “working on it” is enough.
In his article, Forget Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead, James Clear suggests committing to processes instead of a goal. This actual, he argues, actually brings you closer to your goal. For me, however, Clear’s idea presents a deeper wisdom.
There are some things that we know we should be doing, just for the sake of doing them. They aren’t goal related. Mine include writing cards to people who are sick or grieving, drinking in moments, biting my tongue, and working on the craft of writing. They’re a way of looking forward and moving forward.
Looking forward: Changing an Outlook
My husband and I stand at the abyss of empty nesting. It’s tempting to look back—okay, I’ll be honest—I can’t help myself from looking back. However, I’m looking forward too. I’m looking forward to selfish things, such as travel. I’m also looking forward to seeing my kids grab life by the tail.
For me, embracing the past and looking forward is an unnatural balancing act. I tend to look forward to an event or an accomplishment, not towards the undetermined future.
I guess that’s one more thing I need to work on.
Writing about looking forward
Think about whether you want to write about the times you look forward. What are your goals? Perhaps you want to write about the perennial New Year’s resolutions or why one year was different. What about your processes? Is your life turning a corner? Do you look forward to what it brings, or do you dread change with equal measure? To what events have you looked forward? (Hint: trips, weddings, college, graduation…)
However you look forward and whatever you look forward to, write about it.