How many projects are you currently working on?  Purging closets?  Putting in storm windows? Taking down holiday decorations?  Returning ill-fitting gifts?  Repainting the kitchen?  Cleaning computer files?  Organizing your taxes? This is on top of your regular chores list, yes?  I get you.

My boyfriend and I had several weeks in a row where it seemed like all of our after work time was spent on one project after another.  On a late night walk around the block, after completing one very frustrating home improvement project, we created a special project for 2017 and marked it as high priority – to build boundaries around our projects.  We agreed that before beginning any project, we initially budget out the time needed to complete it, and, if needed, spread it out over several days to ensure it was not compromising our valued time for connection.

Often, when we dream up these projects, our intention is to better our lives in some way; so if they are cutting into our quality family time, or stirring our moods so heavily that they impede our peaceful spirits; what’s the point?  I do understand that some projects are unavoidable.  I recently broke my house key off in my door lock, and thus the project of replacing the locks became a high priority.  With that said, as we undertook this project, we quickly realized that it was a task that was going to take more time that we originally anticipated. We agreed on a stopping point, after we felt our frustration with the project starting to grow, and then we walked away from it for the night.  After an hour or so, we discussed a game plan for how we would tackle it the next day, agreeing that if after a set amount of time we couldn’t get them working, we would hire help.  I’m proud to say we completed the project together, and still liked each other in the end.

Goals and desires are the vital pulse of most New Year’s resolutions.  What we are looking to achieve, improve, or change in the upcoming year.  They are a clean slate for what ails us, and the hope for remedying it.  I was watching the documentary, “Around the World in 80 Faiths,” and heard a beautiful phrase from a Buddhist monk.  The monk was speaking with the host of the documentary about the evolution of his religion, and the off-shoots it has taken.  One of those off-shoots specifically seemed wrapped up in excess, and seemed to lack all spiritual purpose.  The monk stated, “It is dangerous to pursue only progress.”  This really grabbed me.  Pursuing only progress, while not remaining rooted in our spiritual, or deeper selves, often does indeed lead to dangerous situations, events, or distributions of energy.  It made me think of cloning.  How, if we pursued only progress, without considering any ethical implications, or spiritual factors, the outcome might prove dangerous to our society as a whole.  We think about our smartphones, and how every few months a new one is being released, able to do more and more.  Yet, in all this data sharing, we are also giving up our personal privacy for the opportunity to participate in many social media platforms.  I think about the excessive use of transport, rather than physical exertion; and the gasoline and emissions expended because of it, continuously destroying our planet.

When we relate this to our individual lives, it can be easy to see how pushing for our goals and desires also means evaluating how they realistically fit into our lives and the impact they potentially hold.  When we express that we want more financial stability in the upcoming year, we also need to build the boundaries around how we obtain it, so that our hunt for it doesn’t damage other valued areas of our life.

So, as you plan your projects for 2017, I encourage you to consider how you will reach them, and factor in what will make them more fully successful in your life, without forcing you to strain another aspect you value.  Goals that are defined with clarity, and that do not hold internal objections, are the goals you are most likely to achieve.

What an honor to cross into 2017, trusting that these tools will serve some of you to grow your lives in positive way, as they have mine.  Many blessings to you in the New Year.

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