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

Woman holding a January Calendar
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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