As we’re beginning a new year most of us are also beginning to work on our 2019 resolutions, goals, mantras – whatever you want to call them! I’m no different.
The power of goals
It sounds cliché but I believe in the power of goals. I think they’re the driver of our day-to-day actions and motivations. When we have a goal, no matter how big or how small, we tend to consciously and unconsciously take steps that get us closer to that goal.
Determining our goals, however, can be as big of a challenge as actually achieving them. It requires soul searching – identifying what truly drives us and the underlying motivations behind our actions. Sometimes goals just come to us out of nowhere, but most of the time, some serious thinking is required. I personally struggle with this step. It’s a work in progress, like most things in life.
Once the goals have been determined, I’ve come to realize a few times in my life that the process of working towards them brings me more joy than actually achieving them. I’ll give you an example:
During my 3rd year of university I took a business class just for kicks and ended up LOVING it. From then on my goal was clear: to get accepted to a highly competitive business school. Over the next year I was filled with motivation to achieve this goal. I worked hard to excel in all my courses, I did extra curricular activities, I mingled with people who were already in business school to learn as much as I could from them and I continuously pushed myself out of my comfort zone. The whole application process was quite rewarding. Even before the final verdict came I had already succeeded in so many ways. When my acceptance letter finally came I remember feeling mixed emotions – I felt satisfied that I had succeeded but overwhelmingly sad that the “chase” was over, I no longer had anything to get excited about. Business school ended up being challenging and fun but not nearly as exhilarating as the chase!
The point is, goals kick us into gear, they ignite action, they push us to grow. This is why they are so important. Whether we ever fully achieve them or not is secondary because success is in the process.
With that said, here are my 3 goals for 2019:
Parle Français 🍟
Canada has two official languages, English and French, yet I only speak one. This year, I’ve decided to change that.
Truth be told, I do know a little French – I studied it in elementary and high school and I even did grade 7 and 8 at a French immersion school (where all courses are taught in French). But, I’ve lost all of my French language skills since then. A classic example of if you don’t use it, you lose it. Oui, oui!
My goal is to be able to hold a basic conversation in French by the end of the year. Key word: basic.
How am I going to do it? Two of my girlfriends and I signed up for a French night course (goal buddies = motivation). When the course is over we plan on treating ourselves with a trip to Quebec (Canada’s beautiful French Provence) to put our newly acquired skills to the test.
So far all I remember is je m’appelle Tanja and est-ce que je peux aller aux toilettes? Gotta start somewhere!
Travel to a place I haven’t been before ✈️
This is a reoccurring goal of mine ever since I started travelling in 2007. As much as I would love to return to the places that already stole my heart, I find that visiting new places is often the most rewarding.
A new place doesn’t have to be half-way across the world. There are plenty of places in Canada and the States that I haven’t been to before, I think I might start there. Long weekend trip anyone?
Channel pain into productivity ✊
For me, January 1st 2019 marked not only the beginning of a new year but also the beginning of a new chapter of my life and, sadly, the end of a very painful one. As some of you may know, I lost my mom less than two months ago. January 1st marked her Passover, a symbolic date for both her and myself.
Ever since the day we said our final goodbye I have been numb. Instead of allowing myself to feel I have been bottling up the overwhelming pain that comes with losing someone, especially someone who is the center of your universe. I have been living my life as if everything is okay, knowing that deep down inside I am suffering.
In order to be able to mourn her death properly and move on with my life, as I know I have to do, I not only need to allow myself to feel pain, but also find a way of channeling that pain into something productive, something positive. For me, that something is art. Art in the form of photography, in the form of writing or in the form of drawing.
Honestly, having a travel blog and being part of the travel community on Instagram has helped me tremendously because it has given me a creative outlet. Something that I lacked for a good portion of my twenties (unless of course you consider university assignments a creative outlet). But, this outlet is a double edged sword – it can also act as a distraction from reality and sometimes we need to face reality, like I do now.
I definitely think I’ve used Instagram and my travel blog to escape the painful reality of my mom’s illness. I never mentioned a single word of the pain I was going through. I never showed my true face. In order to use this outlet to channel pain into productivity, I have to start being real and that means facing my pain and actually talking about it. This blog post is a start.
I used to think that people didn’t want the truth on Instagram. That everyone just wanted to paint a perfect picture of their lives. But lately, I’ve come to realize that those who show their vulnerabilities on the channel are those who I’ve connected with the most. Sadness and pain are part of being human, we shouldn’t hide that or be ashamed of it.
My situation is perhaps harder than most, but I encourage you to use your creative outlet for the same purpose – to channel your pain into something productive and positive. I don’t know where it will lead but I’m going along for the ride!
I’d love to hear from you!
With the said, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post and some of your goals for 2019. Please leave a comment, I look forward to reading it!