An Ode to Effort

This time of year we set goals. I have goals – but, just like everyone – they change. They get bigger, smaller, or their priority shifts. But, like the Buddha, I have returned from the holiday forest and my mantra for this year is not about goals – it’s about Effort.

Goals are important, but they are secondary – the real value is not in achieving the goal, but in the effort.

Too many dismiss effort. That’s easy to do when there’s money or beauty or natural talent, but these are false idols. What we really admire is the effort. A good job, good home, good relationships, good health, good food, good body, good sex…they aren’t a finish-line goal. They require effort.

Too often we ignore making the effort, especially when it’s small, because we are blinded by getting or having that big goal.

Too often we excuse ourselves, “I know I should make more of an effort….” Or worse, if our satisfaction is not immediate, or our effort isn’t recognized and lauded, we lament, “I’m tired of making the effort.”

We all have goals unaccomplished because of effort. That crowded storage space. Relationships you can’t get out of (or into). The stagnant career. Those extra 20 lbs., that are leaning into 30 now. Effort.

Sometimes it’s easy; sometimes it’s hard, but easy or hard, effort is about time management and consistency. This is where we need to embrace the notion that effort is both a means and an end. Like honor or integrity…it’s a gift you give to yourself.

Effort, like love, is not a zero-sum game. Effort is never about reciprocity because we never run out of effort, and, like love, we can easily manifest more of it whenever we desire.

So, for 2022, my focus is less on achieving, having, or getting, and more on consistently making an effort.

Happy New Year!

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