If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.
~Lawrence J. Peter
It’s the time of year when most people are making their New Year’s resolutions. Does the very idea of making resolutions stir up bad feelings about unfulfilled resolutions of the past? It does for most people. We start off with an idea, jump in full steam ahead, but within a few weeks, we lapse back into our comfortable patterns. Many wonder, why bother?
May I suggest an alternative? Don’t make any resolutions this year. Develop goals and makes plans instead!
Many people go through their lives allowing life to just sort of happen to them. Although it is true that there is much life over which we have no control, we control ourselves. And when it comes to our physical bodies, our mental abilities, our emotional states, our spiritual maturity, and our relationships with friends, families, and colleagues, it pays to establish goals, develops plans for achieving them, and then executing tasks on a regular basis to make progress towards achieving those goals.
If, for you, this is a new idea that sounds overwhelming, don’t try to do it all at once. Pick one or two of the dimensions to concentrate on in 2011, and decide where you want to be on December 31, 2011.
As I have stated previously, I recommend starting with the physical. There are many good reasons, but the one I think is most important is that if you improve your physical health, everything in your life will improve along with it. You get a big bang for your buck with improvements in this dimension – and so do the people with whom you come in contact.
By now, I hope you have assessed where you are. Perhaps your physician has told you that you need to lose weight. Maybe you have noticed you aren’t climbing those stairs as easily as you used to – and that you are winded sooner. Maybe you have clothes of different sizes in your closet and you’re looking at adding a new, larger size soon. Maybe you want to run a race this year – perhaps a marathon.
Whatever it is, pick a physical goal and start breaking the achievement of the goal into manageable pieces. You may have heard the acronym S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound. Please see this web page for a great explanation. http://topachievement.com/smart.html
For instance, if you want to lose 50 pounds, you could determine to lose a pound a week for the next year. In order to do that, you will need to calculate how many calories you can eat every day, and plan your daily meals. Or perhaps you will join a program (I recommend Weight Watchers based on personal experience) and make the commitment to a weekly meeting and daily tracking.
The point is that you can decide what you want to do, plan your steps, and execute tasks every single day to move you closer to where you want to be one year from now. All you need to do is spend a few hours determining your goals, planning, and then doing something every day to move towards the achievement of your goals.
Execution is key – there is no point coming up with goals and plans if you are not prepared to execute them. Breaking your goals down into steps is essential in making progress towards your goals. On the other hand, if you have daily goals and fail to execute, there is little point in beating yourself up about it. Just move the daily goal to your next day and make another attempt to cross it off your list.
If you fail to accomplish a daily task after several attempts, it’s probably not something you are really committed to – you might need to go back and look at your annual goals. Is this task related to something you really want to achieve this year – or is it more of a dream at this point?
There is nothing wrong with dreams, but we are only here for a finite period of time. And time is really our most precious commodity. Once spent, we don’t get it back. Take time this week to make sure you are living your life on purpose. You will look back to this week in 2010 from a completely different perspective on December 31, 2011 if you plan today for what you want to accomplish in 2011!
If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up.
The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps – we must step up the stairs.
Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.
~Life’s Little Instruction Book, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.