37 has been one of best years of my life.

It may have even been the best year of my life. I sit here on my 38th birthday as a pretty happy guy. I have found more love, more peace, more contentment and more autonomy in my life every year for the last decade.

The thing is, this hasn’t come from looking back, but from being right here, in the present, with acceptance, while still making sure I have hopes and plans and dreams for the future. These are my goals for the next year.

1 – Get my website and podcast launched

I fear judgment and criticism, and because of this I tend to avoid doing things unless they are perfect (I have a whole blog planned on just this). Things are never perfect, so I never do a lot of things I have planned. I’ve deleted this blog 4 times already, and I will hate it once it’s posted. So, one of my goals is to stop letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, and letting my fear of judgment keep me from doing things. Specifically, this means telling people this website and blog even exist, and accepting constructive criticism on how to improve them. This means not deleting every podcast I do (7 so far) and actually posting one, and accepting that it will not be perfect.

2 – Get my diet in order

I am embarrassed about the condition of my body right now. I’m scrawny, with a fat gut. It is more than cosmetic though – I don’t feel well a lot of the time, and I turn to sugar to comfort myself/relax. I suppose it’s less damaging than some of my old habits, but with the links between sugar and various health issues I am not so sure. I have started working toward a higher-fat, low carbohydrate, no-sugar diet, and I already feel better. Along with this, I would like to do a better job exercising, but I am finding this difficult with some of my neck issues. It seems like everything, even yoga, puts me in too much pain to be functional. I am hoping an anti-inflammatory diet will help.

3 – Be more gentle

Man, this is a tough one. I think I am a kind person. I am compassionate, I truly care about people, and I spend most of my time trying to be useful to others. But I am not gentle. I have a tendency to speak pretty harshly (I prefer to call it “direct”) and I can be dismissive of others when I am focused on something. I am rough with objects – doors, cups, books, chairs, etc. I suppose this isn’t terrible, but I feel like it might contribute to an overall “roughness”. I can’t think of another way to say it, I would just like to be more gentle to everyone and everything around me.

4 – Learn to write well

That’s it. I am not a fan of how I write, and I would like to improve it. Blogging more is one of my strategies for this, along with reading some books on the subject, and learning about basic grammar and rules for writing.

5 – Shut. Up.

I talk too much. I speak less than I used to, but I still talk more than I would like. I get caught up on different topics that I like talking about and I just don’t stop. I like the sound of my own voice, and, at times, people seem to value what I say (which makes it harder to stop). The thing is, this all just feeds ego and the idea that what I have to say matters, and this is poisonous. There is actually an entire blog planned for this as well.

So there they are, goals for the next year. None of them are meant to be self-deprecating or self-critical, just honest about what I can improve on. What goals are you currently working with?