Finding Your Purpose & Feeding Your Virtuous Self

We are almost one month into the New Year. For some reason, I’ve noticed a lot of backlash about people making New Year’s goals. People have not only given up on the resolution-making tradition themselves but have criticized others for posting about the things they want to achieve for the new year.

People have stated that it’s nonsensical to try to set new goals simply because it’s the new year. My response is, when is it not a good time to try to improve yourself? Every new day is an opportunity for a new you. And why not seize the opportunity on New Year’s Eve (regardless of the fact that it may have become a trite ritual) to make a change in your life?

Finding Your Purpose & Feeding Your Virtuous Self
I’ve waited for 21 days to talk about New Year’s Resolutions –and to step away from the cliche, I’ll refer to them as “personal goals” moving forward, because let’s not limit ourselves to a date that occurs every 365 days. Jeremy Dean, author of “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” stated that it takes 21 days in order to make or break a habit. Many of you have likely heard of Beyonce & Jay-Z’s pledge to go vegan for 22 days –Jay’s reasoning behind this was that it took that long to make it a habit.

So today, on the 21st day of the year, are you able to recall your personal goals that you set for yourself 3 weeks ago? And when I say recall, I don’t mean to look for the piece of paper on which you scribbled it on December 31st… Those things that you strive for, that you yearn for, should not be tucked away in a file or posted on a board but emblazoned on your spirit. If not, then you should challenge yourself to think “Who am I set these goals for?”

Have you been fully committed to your goals and have been following through with the promises you made to yourself. Maybe you missed a few days, but your commitment remains unwavering. If that is the case, take your right hand, reach it over your left shoulder, and give yourself a pat on the back –you have turned your personal goals into a way of life, and a habit!! Congratulations and keep it up!

However, if you have found that your goals have faded, maybe this is an opportunity for you to reevaluate and reanalyze your goals. It’s an opportunity to really consider the things that are truly important to you, and the best way that I can think of is to figure out the WHYs of your goals…

For instance, “I want to go to the gym because I want to be hot,” is a totally fair goal, however, is being “hot” of great importance to your being. Is it something that you want to be a defining part of who you are? However, “I want to go to the gym so that I can be a more active mother for my kids” OR “I want to go to the gym because a leaner body will give me confidence, and be proof that I can do whatever I put my mind to, and handle the challenges ahead of me” …Those are goals that speak to your core and goals that will continue to motivate you throughout the year and beyond.

What is your purpose? What drives you? What pushes you to get out of bed every morning?

A priest said something during a sermon that caught my attention: “If you are doing something in your life that does have any virtue, then why are you doing it?” He then went on to share that his grandfather was not only a member of the KKK but was one of the founders of the KKK in Georgia. (Now, you know I sat up in my seat when I heard that. The white lady next to me actually choked on her gum. LoL.) He stated that his father, who was raised to be racist did not want to pass on his ailment onto his children. He made a decision to take his boys to a KKK rally, and from a distance, he showed his boys, “This is what hate is, and I don’t want you to be like this.” So this man did not simply declare “I want to be a better father,” he made the decision to show his sons the virtues of kindness, respect, and tolerance.

So what does this have to do with your New Year’s resolutions?? My point is to think bigger and to dig deeper to find the meaning in your goals. Look beyond the simplicity of “traveling more,” and explore how such a personal goal can feed your soul by adding virtue to your life, perhaps courage to try something new, or generosity in giving aid to the poor.

According to Wikipedia, there are 5 different categories of virtues:

  • Virtues of Self-Control
  • Virtues of Self-Efficacy
  • Virtues of Regard
  • Virtues of Respect
  • Virtues of Kindness

The task that I take on for my personal growth is to tackle the endangered virtue of patience. In a world where things are everything is instant, from oatmeal to communication, developing patience will require discipline. The task which will truly test my patience, I am pleased to announce is BOOK #2!! This book will require reading and research, which will take time, much longer than it took for me to finish Book #1. In taking on this task, I require perseverance as well.

So how have you been doing on your personal goals? What is it that drives you to achieve these goals?

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