Woman holding a January Calendar

Got Some Goals for the New Year? Great. Just Don’t Forget This

Picture: Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

I can be a dreamer, ready to follow a latent idea or new goal. My journal is full of ideas for books, programs and more (you do keep a journal to collect and test your dreams, right?). So when BBC Radio 2 asked what my hope for the new year was, my mind automatically went down the path of goals and ambitions. But something wasn’t right. There’s more to life than career goals. Here’s what I ended up sharing on the Pause for Thought segment instead.

What do you hope to do, see, learn or become this year? What are your goals and dreams? I’d love to know in the comments below. Just don’t forget that there’s something even more important than a bucket list checkbox ticked.

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My Hope for the New Year

Dreams journalPhoto by Kelli Stirret on Unsplash

When I first pondered my hopes for the New Year my mind wandered down the well-worn path of my ambitions—the books I want to write, the media projects I want to do. While it’s fine to have dreams, something about this seemed lacking. There’s more to life than career goals.

I blame this pause in my thoughts to a conversation I had with a man named Father Liam a few years ago. Merryn and I had recently come to Oxford so she could take a job at Oxford University, but that had meant me leaving a fulfilling career in broadcasting in Sydney. Liam had given me some time to talk this through.

“Without that radio job I feel lost,” I told him. “I don’t know what my calling is anymore.”

“You’re not hosting any shows here in the UK?” he asked

“I’m not. I’m not even sure I’m supposed to.”

“Hmmm. And how’s your marriage?”

The question came as a surprise—I hoped the career conversation would go further—but I told him Merryn and I were doing well. We’d weathered ten years of infertility—arguing about options, talking, compromising—and had somehow emerged closer through the ordeal.

Liam looked at me kindly and said, “I’m so glad to hear that. Commitment is the core of life—God’s commitment to us, our commitments to each other. You and Merryn went through that trial together without your commitment breaking. Oh how the world needs to see more of that. You may not realise the impact you’re having already, beyond what you say or do, simply by being who you are.”

Couple having coffee

Photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash

Liam’s words struck me then and they strike me now. It’s too easy to value our lives on the success of our careers when what matters most is our character. And character can change the world. A kind word to a heavy heart can melt sorrow and bring a tear to the eye. A compassionate act in an indifferent age can interrupt despair. Empathy can restart a lonely man’s story. A word of truth can set a captive free. Forgiveness can stop the wheel of reprisal. Grace can heal wounds. Goodness can overcome evil.

Yes I have my goals for 2018, but here’s what I really hope to grasp this New Year:

The work I do isn’t nearly as important as the kind of person I’m becoming.

Talk to Me

What are you hoping to do, see, learn or become this year? Leave a comment below now or call me using the ‘Send Voicemail’ button on the right. Please also rate and share this podcast on iTunes to help others discover it!


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  • January 3, 2018
    Neale Valentine

    Very helpful and timely reminder thanks Sheridan.

  • January 3, 2018
    Jan Erlam

    At the end of last year, I became ill and this served as a reminder that I am not self sufficient. I have had mental health issues since the death of my son 30 years ago but all was under control. Almost 2 years ago I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and the rheumatologists are so arrogant pushing toxic drugs that basically can cause the disease my son died from. I had to fight a hard battle, I did not believe in what they were doing because of my own education. I handed this to God, trusted him and he showed me options which I took however the specialists were not happy, persistently pushing I was supported by my GP and NRAS and yesterday at my check up I was told if My condition stays as it is I can reduced treatment in 6 months and only be seen yearly this was achieved without the dangerous drugs, I trust this to God to lead me as he has for 18 months however these doctors have impacted on my mental health and caused a secondary problem causing me anxiety worse than I have ever known. I have again handed this to God, I see his hand but it has also shown me I am not self sufficient my need is in him. This is my battle for 2018

    • January 3, 2018

      What a battle, Jan. And what a lesson to learn in the process. So glad you have your GP behind you. May the same trust that got you this far get you through the anxiety too.

  • January 3, 2018
    Anne Smith

    I want to get Closer to God. I have been persecuted by a man for 14 years and it’s very hard to have faith. I want more faith to make it through.

    • January 3, 2018

      What kind of persecution are you experiencing, Anna. Are you in physical danger?

      • January 3, 2018
        Anne Smith

        Not sure. He’s been coming into my place when I’m not home and he’s tapping my phone. He’s got my personal information and sometimes causes problems with agencies like Centrelink getting someone to ring them pretending to be me and changing my details. Thinking of getting a security camera but it might cause him to get angry and do something worse

  • January 4, 2018

    Great podcast / post Sheridan. In fact, I spent time thinking about the new year’s resolution (https://blessing.im/my-one-word-for-2018/).

    Thanks for the thought / challenge. It is easy to forget to plan and keep the important things in the fore. “While I do all I do / hope to, who am I becoming?”

    I guess I need to add an addendum of sort…

    All the best for you in 2018.

    • January 5, 2018

      A great post, Blessing. “Intentionality is key. Doing what I should be doing is another critical key. This implies prioritising and making sure every detail gets the attention it deserves.” That’s what I liked most about your chosen word for the year.

  • January 5, 2018
    Penelope Silvers

    This is so timely as I reviewed all the “tasks” I hope to accomplish in the coming year. I came to the conclusion that the most important thing we can do for God and our fellow man is to “be.” So my new un-resolutions for 2018 are to work on my character and be a blessing whenever and wherever I can. I am focusing on the being instead of doing. Happy new year to you!

    • January 8, 2018

      And in ‘being’ you will ned up ‘doing’ the best things. Great, Penelope. Thank you.


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