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Mocha Musings: Knowing where you're going makes it easier to get there

The holidays are now behind us and we’re facing a new year together. What will it bring? New hopes and dreams? Well-meant resolutions? Opportunity for change?

The new year can represent a kind of blank slate for us in that we can decide what our goals will be. This doesn’t mean that we can attain them; we all know what can happen to our “best laid plans .” But we can still lay the groundwork for achieving our goals, whatever they may be.

Sometimes, such goals can be as simple as keeping in better contact with those we love who live far away, or goals can be more complex, such as mending a fractured relationship. Our goals can be physical and health-related, as in losing the proverbial 5 or 10 pounds and firming up the “muffin top,” or they can be more academic and cerebral as in finally dotting the “i’s” on the memoir or novel and finishing what we’ve been gestating for years.

I like to sit down with a cup of hot tea on New Year’s Day and make a list — with good old pen and paper — of my long- and short-term goals. I find that the act of writing down goals helps me focus and make them more tangible. It also helps me see which goals will be easier to attain and which will be more difficult. Some I might be able to cross off by the end of January (for example, organizing my hall closet), while others will, I am fairly sure, be carried over into the next year (my files). But, since they say that a goal is nothing more than a dream with a deadline, it’s a good idea to jot a few things down that are important to accomplish. It is surprisingly easy for important goals to get lost year after year in the shuffle of our busy lives.

None of us is getting any younger. I’d venture to say that if we do not regularly take the time for dedicated, conscious reflection about what we want to do or accomplish, then it will never get done. What is on your list? A new adventure, a road trip, or visit to a favorite national park? A new skill like learning a new language? A new job or charity project?

As Henry David Thoreau said so eloquently (when the third person masculine was de rigeuer), “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

I believe that if we want to advance in the direction of our dreams, we must first have an idea of what our goals and dreams are. Sometimes just knowing what one does not want is the place to begin. Or maybe it is a tiny spark, a moment of realization of what brings us passion and excitement, or an experience that whispers, “I want more of this. This makes me smile.” Whatever it is for you, I hope this new year will bring you such opportunity. For, to me, exploration and adventure, and passion and joy, are the real stuff of life. And that is what I wish for you in this New Year.

Author, TV presenter and world traveler Susanne Severeid is an Ashland resident who enjoys making time for the important things in life — including mocha. Read more of her columns at dailytidings.com/lifestyle/mocha-musings. For more, go to www.susannesevereid.com. Email her at susannewebsite@olypen.com.

Photo by Beatrice Angela JacobsSusanne Severeid