New Year’s is traditional Goal Setting time, and telling jokes about how soon those resolutions slide away. Since childhood I’ve taken this ritual seriously. I’m sharing my 2023 goals with you, and, perhaps more usefully, the process I use to make them happen. It begins with the winter’s discovery of the deep-hidden seeds that want to come into being in my life (and yours).

Zauschneria in snow

Photo Credit: D. Malcolm Wells

Step One: Honor and Closure at the Year’s End

I set goals for the year, which I think of as both a foundation and an arc for the year. Recognizing my deep seeds gives me the ground I walk on next, a foundation for how the year might arrange itself in a trajectory to satisfying those seeds of my wants and needs.

As examples: I found a deep need to transition off the HOA Board in the USA, and a seed of desire to publish the blog every two weeks. Then the year happened, with all its unforeseen and unplanned pushes and pulls. A giant, unforeseen goal appeared that took huge amounts of time and energy; I’ve described that adventure in the Red River of Grace blog.

A year-end review allows me to honor what I did, and put closure on what is finished. I reflect on how well those needs and seeds grew into realities. My results on these two goals: I fulfilled my desire for the blog publishing every two weeks at about 80% or higher, and 80% is perfection. The HOA Board need was expanded into creating a “history/how to do” Condo Google site. I stepped off the board at the annual meeting in November.

Year’s end,
all corners
of this floating world,


Bare Ruined Choirs

Photo Credit: D. Malcolm Wells

Step Two: Finding Needs and Deep Hidden Seeds

The New Year’s coming is the moment in time to slow to almost a stop, and wait for the new needs and seeds to surface. Wintertime in the Northern Hemisphere aids this process because of Winter’s Withering Weather during extended holiday seasons. In Costa Rica an extended heavy rainy season draws to a close just before everything molds completely or my psyche descends into despair.

The first place for goals I search are my irritations. What am I being asked to do that I don’t want to do? What do other people want me to do differently? What do I want other people to do differently? What continually surfaces demanding attention that I don’t want to give? Digging under the items on this list often translates into “Too Much To Do, Not Enough Time, Don’t Have What I Need.”

Goals can be getting rid of things to do, reorganizing time, and finding the tools needed. These things I can control. Very often lacking the tools needed to do something is the source of the irritation. I can’t begin to meet a goal when information, methods, alignment is missing from the resources needed. When gardening, I need a shovel, rake, and water access if I’m going to plant flowers.

Searching for Deep Hidden Seeds

Change comes driven by pain (needs) or vision. Generally resisting or not supporting goals that change the situation occur because we are already bearing the pain and it takes energy to end the cause. “I ought to” is a big clue that bearing the pain is still easier than setting a goal and making the change.

Vision comes from dreams, hopes and observation. I’m going to focus on observation. We used to bring Middle School kids into the corporation to observe work being done. It was not in the board room but the phone bank or work crews that they toured. They talked to the workers. Leaving, their comments were: “I could answer phones rather than sell cars.” “Did you hear how much they make for doing that?” When no one in your environment is working above minimum wage, seeing these other kinds of jobs and learning what they pay: that’s catching a vision.

We scan the internet looking for the dress we want or what apartment we might rent or where to go for vacation – that’s catching a vision. We don’t want every dress, just the red one. We have a neighbor who started school and is graduating as a nurse next week; the moment we say “I could do that” we’ve caught a vision. The goal might be “figure out child care.” We hear about a man who stopped being a corporate accountant and opened a bakery – we don’t want to open a bakery, but the walking away and beginning anew resonates: a seed. If it’s a true vision it grows, collecting new information. The goal might be “Take a painting class.”

Let the seeds grow through the Winter, in the dark time, under a mantel of snow.

Kinnekinec in snow

Photo Credit: D. Malcolm Wells

Step Three: Make It So

For some people the classic goal setting techniques come into play: get X done by March, Y by mid-summer, Z by year end. These three Time Points may be divided into weekly or daily goals – do what works. There are endless examples of charts on-line, books about this process, and organizations that help organize you. Take advantage of this as it is helpful.

Talking to people who have or do the thing desired can help a lot. Depending on your deep desire, be with people who have a similar desire and support your dream. Role models are not a joke: who is or does what you desire and what can observing them teach you?

For me, I hold to the dream as if I’d planted it in a garden. I find ways to water and weed. I spend time and energy going in the direction I want to grow, and find ways to get rocks and stumbling blocks removed or converted into stepping stones. I collect hope by noticing and celebrating steps I take that bring me closer to my goal. I do not beat myself up if something else must take my attention. I believe I will find the time and energy for the goal again soon. This attitude is a discipline that grafts the goal into my daily self, like drinking water hydrates me. Sometimes I sit still and hold the dream in my heart mind, just loving it. That’s enough.

My Writing Goals for 2023

In my writing group the sponsor asked, “What book in you is longing to be born?” There are a number of them. Rephrasing the question as “If I died, what book would I regret not having published,” took the search from foggy to clear.

One: My goal for the last two years was to have the blog explore “The Hero/Heroine’s Journey,” and I accomplished that. My goal this year is to shape all the content into a book (first quarter), and walk with it on the sell/publish/market path.

Two: Work with the team to finish the creation of the new 501(c)3 Developmental Theatre: Fearless Creativity (DT:FC) organization and the massive website’s final design. Funds are needed to help this seedling grow into the oak it will be.

In order to do these two things I’m going to:

  1. Widen the time between blog posts to three weeks rather than every two.
  2. Have guest bloggers for the Hero/Heroine’s Journey material (maybe you?)
  3. Help raise the needed 501(c)3 funds for DT:FC to help the team put this theatre on the world’s map.

I welcome 2023 as a year of opportunity to help what wants to be born come into this world.

O Radix

All of us sprung from one deep-hidden seed,
Rose from a root invisible to all.
Touch the bare branches of our unbelief.
We shrivel on the edges of a wood
Whose heart we once inhabited in love.
Now we have need of you, forgotten Root,
The stock and stem of every living thing.
For now is winter, now is withering,
Unless we let you root us deep within.
Under the ground of being, graft us in.

—by Malcom Guite
With two approved edits by Lola Wilcox

Questions for you:

What deep-hidden seed in you is needing to be born?

What shrivels and withers you from fulfilling your heart’s longing?

What will you let root deep within?