Happy New Year!
New year, new possibilities, that’s how the saying goes. But I wonder – why are there more possibilities on January 1st than on any other day? And why do we start the new year by kicking ourselves up the butt?
Why do we set New Year’s resolutions?
As the new year rolls around, many of us set resolutions. Most often, they revolve around self-improvement. But by the time February says hello, studies show that 8 out of 10 people who make New Year's resolutions have already abandoned their goals for change. All that’s left is a sense of failure and disappointment as we go back to our old ways.
So, why do we start the year by saying to ourselves, 
“Hello you, Happy New Year! But BTW I’m not happy with you, so this coming year I’ll be bringing out the whip and we will work on your performance/looks/behavior/whatever. Then maybe next year I will like you and your life will be great.”
The same thing then happens again the next year, and the next, and the next. Not much fun in that.....

Run, Forrest, run!
We are so trained to set our mind on specific goals if we want to achieve anything in life. However, having specific goals has always made me feel stifled and restricted. 

As a young athlete, they made me scared of failing, of being an idiot and a loser. They limited me, and therefore my results. Most of the time they weren’t even my own, just a reflection of what someone else thought I was capable of. Flattered that someone saw my potential, I would stretch for those goals, while at the same time feeling inadequate the way I was. 
These goals never made my spirit sing or soar. 
I think this goes for everyday life as well. We are so eager to run toward one goal after another, chasing that finish line, the applause, the approval. Never really reflecting on why we are running or who actually sets the goal. Our goals are so often not our own. 

We may think they are, but most of the time society is dictating them. 
We strive to follow the rules, to be approved of, to look the part, to fit in.
 This is not actually why we came here…
We came here to be ourselves.

Letting our gut lead us
My best results as an athlete came when I explored, had fun, and followed my curiosity. When I stayed true to my intuition and let my gut lead me. The tough choices and decisions were not tough at all in those moments, because they were aligned with what I wanted. And life was fun that way, I was being myself.
However, no matter how much fun I had or how successful my explorations were, I thought this made me unprofessional and not dedicated enough. So, I would fall back into following “the right way” – setting SMART goals to achieve, whipping myself to improve further. 

And every time I did, my results deteriorated. 
As did my spirit, and my health. 
You can imagine my joy and relief when, as an adult, I read about
goal-free living
This was what I intuitively had been doing as a child and teenager – and since abandoned more and more. 
Ultimately, most children just know what works for them, without needing to be told. 

Milk and honey
So what is it like to live without goals? It certainly is not living aimlessly, blowing like a leaf on the wind. But instead of setting specific goals you are lead by a knowing, a dream, a purpose, a relentless desire. Something only you can come up with for yourself. Something that is pulling you toward it, making your spirit sing and soar. Something that might - at first - makes sense only to you.
I like to describe it as the simultaneous feeling of being at home and having something to grow toward.

All of us have this inside us, if we listen carefully enough.
For me, this knowing is like a glowing ball filled with everything that I love. It is almost tangible, with great powers pulling me toward it. Although it is far away in the future, it is also right here with me now. I can feel it, inspiring me, comforting me, and nudging me on. 
And this feeling does make my spirit sing and soar. 
There is no obstacle too great, there aren’t actually any obstacles, only different paths. In this mood, time ceases to exist. 
How would you describe your calling? Or would you call it a dream? A vision? A purpose? How does it feel? Which words or colors or sounds would you use to describe it? 
Enjoy the ride
To contradict myself slightly, I believe we need both dreams and goals. One without the other will easily end in despair. However, it’s about how you define your goals. 
To enjoy the ride as well as the destination, goals should represent your values and dreams rather than just fit into society’s codes or someone else’s vision for your future. 
They should be filled with passion. Your passion. 
Passion is not hedonism; it is not self-indulgence. Passion is what is meaningful to you, what matters to you, in your life. 
It is what nourishes your life.
After all these years, even though I am aware of this, when I feel unsure of myself, when I feel too small or foolish for believing in my passions and calling, I still relapse into my old goal-setting habits. 
It feels safe to “do the right thing” - in the short term. 
Luckily, I can recognize the pattern... 
If I start to feel like I cannot breathe, that my creativity has vanished and I am low on energy just thinking about a certain activity, it is most probably because it is too result-focused. 

Rather than retreating into this “safe-mode”, I need to remind myself to fill my goals with passion and curiosity. 

New Year’s intentions, not resolutions
So, back to those New Year resolutions…
Close your eyes. Take some calm breaths, paying close attention to your resolutions. 
How do your goals for the coming year make you feel now? Do you get a rush of excitement? If so, great!
If not – let them go. Who cares if you are too skinny or too chubby? If you work too much or too little? If you’re not to everyone’s taste? You are not meant to be everyone’s favorite. Aiming for that will make you end up pleasing no-one, least of all yourself.
Instead, I would encourage you to set a theme for the year ahead. 
How about starting the new year like this:
“Hello sweetheart, Happy New Year! I love you; we are doing great, you and me. What happy mischief could we get up to this year?”
Now, close your eyes again. Take some breaths once more, and then let this year’s theme drop into your head. It might be a word, a vision, a feeling, a sound. It might not make sense or mean anything right now. But one thing is for certain, it will not contain a “but” or a “should”. 
It just is what it is. 
Write it down. Then write a letter to yourself, dated a year from whenever you are reading this. The letter is from future-you to present-you, summarizing everything that will have happened since you set your theme. Put it in a sealed envelope and do not open it until a year from now. I promise you; you’ll be surprised!
Remember - be kind to yourself, be compassionate with yourself.
Lots of love,
Cathrine 💖
An extract from my book “I am Beatrix”, to give you some inspiration:
Beatrix watches the ladybug fly off, thinking that it makes sense that it is lucky, and that luck is a very precious thing, so you must make sure to look out for it. She also realizes that luck doesn’t always come the way you expect.