what to do instead of setting goals

Does the idea of planning and writing strategy and setting goals (or making resolutions) ever stress you out?

Maybe it's because deep down inside, you know you don't need to change anything about your life or yourself. You just need to be in love with it.

I love ritual.

And ceremony.

I love the holy moment.

I love lists and planners and special candles for special occasions.

I love marking time.

New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are special to me. When one year becomes another, I see myself walking through a gateway, leaving behind the old, welcoming the new.

And I have rituals surrounding this.

I envision things and make dream boards and crack open fresh new notebooks...but one thing I'm not going to do this year is set goals.


Goal-setting is popular.

Almost to the point of being mandatory.

I used to do it.

But then I realized, it's a concept that I don't feel in harmony with. The result of me setting a goal is usually that I come up short then feel defeated.

Even the word goal to me sounds sort of grabbing and striving.

It reminds me of that thing that happened in the women's movement in the 80s when in order for a woman to be considered successful, she had to take on the masculine characteristics of dominant culture (- think power suits) and run a business and make money and be aggressive.

All of that is absolutely fine if it's truly what you want and what you are.

But it's not what I want or what I am.


I am my business.

My work and I are one in the same. 

And while yes, I certainly and with open arms, accept the flow of money into my life, I don't think my bank account is a reflection of my worth. 

I don't want to align with aggression in any form.

And goal-setting just doesn't do it for me.

After all, as I sit in my New Year's Day ritual, how can I possibly know how the year will unfold?

What I will desire? What miracles will happen? Where I will be led?

If I write down a goal then set about to achieve it, am I really in the moment? Am I moving with the organic flow?

Or have I just plopped myself down into a self-designed board game? (Ya'll know I can't stand games, right?)

It's not that there aren't things I want to do.

I want to do things.

I want to figure out a way to create prayer candles with my images, for instance.  I want to show my work in gallery spaces more often. 

And yesterday, I was standing in my kitchen and I thought how I'd like to buy little presents all year long and wrap them up and then shower people with gifts at Christmas.

All of these things and more I will write in in my new notebook.

I don't know if I'll do these things in 2018 or not, but right now, the ideas feel good and sparkling to me.


My Sacred Word

This year, my guiding word was belonging.

I'll spend some time in my journal writing about the journey of that word - why I chose it, where it took me, how it surprised me, what I learned from it.

I'll write about anything unfinished about belonging that I want to bring into the new year.

Then, I'll write about my word for 2018, why I chose it, what I hope will grow in me with its guidance.

I'll find images that remind me of the word. 

I'll begin to feel it moving through me.

And I'll think about how I want to feel in the new year. I'll write about how I might cultivate that feeling, and that will probably spark more ideas.

Special Days

I like to daydream about how I'll spend my birthday.

Tracy and I are planning a trip in March for his birthday, and I like to daydream about that, too.

But nothing I dream is set in stone. Deciding exactly how I think something should be just sets me up for disappointment and blocks me from the Divine surprise.


The Invitation

For the past three years, I've stated it was my intention to be published in two online magazines. I wrote down that goal. I put stuff on my calendar. I never submitted anything.

For the past three years, I've looked at those goals and felt a little sad. 

Well. I didn't do it, I think - so I move them over to the new year's goals.

This year, I'm not making any statements about what's going to happen, where my work will be seen, or who I'll partner with.

Instead, I'm making a list of all the people, organizations, publications, gallery spaces, and retreat centers that I love.

I'm making a list of the ones I'm drawn to, the ones that seem like a good fit for me - a good fit in that we would have something to offer one another. 

I'm making a list of what feels gentle and beautiful and expansive.

Oh, I would love to know her better, I think. My work would feel right there.

When opportunities arise, I will respond. 

I will take action, but I won't try to force anything into being and I won't hang the idea of success onto anyone or anything.

Because God knows more than I do.

Everything truly wonderful that's happened in my life has happened because God opened a door I didn't even know existed.

That's what I want to invite in to my 2018.



I love Amy Palko's Goddess Guidance readings and this year, I'm waiting for mine before I being to consider my sacred word.

After I choose my word, I select an oil or chakra spray from the Wild Sacred.

I, of course, gift myself with a new notebook for the year. 

I clean off my bulletin board. 

I clean and organize everything.

I burn white candles.

I pray.

I tell God all of my secrets.

I listen.

I paint.

Painting Your Vision

And this year, I'm painting for you.

If you want to do something new this year, if you want to dream and have that dream continue to speak to you all year long and beyond, all me to paint for you.

I'm creating Vision Paintings for 2018.

You can request yours here:

I'd love to hear from you.

Do you have a New Year's ritual?

Trying anything new this year?

Have a question about how a Vision Painting might serve you?

Please leave a comment or send me an email.

Let's breathe together and allow our hearts to expand into this coming year.