A few ideas about setting goals for the New Year.

In the midst of decluttering my desk last week, I ran across my goal list for 2012, scratched on a piece of loose-leaf paper, and tucked away to view throughout the year. It was fun to see what I was thinking this time a year ago, what goals were met, while others were totally forgotten. My goals ranged from pie in the sky ideas, to mastering the pie crust. I’ll be adding mastering the pie crust back to the 2013 setting goals list.

Last year was the first time I recall ever sitting down and actually making a list. In years past, I’d usually mutter a few things I’d like to accomplish, never writing them down or sharing them with anyone, perhaps to avoid the reality of what putting pen to paper means … that someone else may see them, or that I would have to actually see them instead of just a vague, casual mumbling forgotten by President’s Day. Writing them down would mean that I’d made a statement, a plan, a commitment to myself. So last year that’s what I did. I remember sitting across our kitchen table from my husband as we both discussed individual and family goals, and wrote them down.

One thing I realize looking back is that while I was working toward certain goals, unexpected, wonderful opportunities popped up. I think life is funny that way. We can sit on the sidelines watching what others are doing, wishing some of the same for ourselves, playing the dangerous game of comparison, letting jealously creep in and keep us bound. Or we can start doing. I think when we’re doing is when other opportunities knock. We meet new people, we learn, we expand our hearts and minds to see what else is possible.

That’s why I plan on sitting back down in the next couple of days to write a new list for the year. A clean piece of paper will be filled up with all kinds of things, some simple, some just flat out crazy. Some may be life-changing, others may be practical things I’ve been putting off. You can bet I’ll be sure to leave room and flexibility to be surprised by what may pop up in 2013.

A few ideas about setting goals for the New Year.Ideas about setting goals for the New Year.

At a loss for goals? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Learn a new instrument. Whether it’s the guitar, harmonica, or the old band instrument you’ve forgotten how to play that’s collecting dust, add some music to your life that you create. You don’t have to be perfect, or have any plans to perform. I live with an extraordinary guitar playing husband who can play by ear. It can be frustrating, when I’m just trying to learn a basic cord. So I’ve learned to play for my own amazement (usually behind closed doors in the privacy of my bedroom). It never fails to clear the cobwebs a bit, plus it’s just fun to make music with your own hands. It doesn’t have to be expensive. All kinds of video lessons can be found online, and you may be surprised if you ask around who may be willing to teach you in exchange for a batch of cookies. Used instruments are in abundance to purchase or rent, and again, if you ask around a friend may be willing to lend one for trying out.

Read more. This sounds so simple, but I realized months upon months had passed since I’d read a book just for fun. Choose a few and add them to the list.

Grow something. Check your growing zone requirements and find something you’d like to try growing. Even if you live in an apartment, there are options that will work to add some green to your life. Keep the plan simple.

Plan a trip. Research and plan that dream trip, and start saving now. Maybe it won’t happen this year or next, but begin preparing now. It’ll be something to look forward to.

Move more. Make a fitness goal. It doesn’t have to be a crazy goal. Maybe it’s just to move more each day. Over the course of a year you’d be surprised at how much better you’ll feel (and maybe how better those jeans fit).

Cook something exotic or new to you each month. I tend to run across recipes all the time that I save for trying some day and never do. Make that some day now. This is one I’ll be adding to my goals for the year. I’m hoping it challenges me to think outside of the box for meal planning and also learn how to get creative with ingredients.

Learn how to “how to.” Learn how to change a tire, unclog a sink, or something as simple as changing the air filters in your home. Pick one or two and do it. It’ll make you feel competent, and maybe you’ll be able to offer help to others in the future too.

These are just a few simple suggestions. Do you have any ideas to share? I’d love to hear them.

Happy New Year, y’all! And happy goal-setting!