• PART SEVEN: Resolutions you can keep!

    January 3, 2012

    A few final thoughts on this resolution business. We’ve been through the four steps: 1) Reflect, 2) Write down a few specific, positive goals, 3) Write out a plan for achieving your goals, and 4) Ask a few positive, encouraging people to hold you accountable. Now all that’s left is to go for it. As you do, remember …

    Any day can be New Year’s Day.

    True, there’s only one January 1 each year, but you can start the year anew any day. Businesses have fiscal years that rarely follow our wall calendars. Why should your goals? If you get to February and discover, “Dang, I’ve not made any progress on my goals,” don’t be discouraged, cynical, and defeated. Celebrate New Year’s all over. Seriously, pull out the stale, half-drunk bottle of champagne from the fridge and toast the beginning of something new. Life is too precious to fall back into resolutions-don’t-work-for-me thinking.

    Schedule a six-month check-up.

    Not with your dentist–although you should do that, too. Schedule a six-month check-up with yourself to see how your goals are going. A year is a long time. About six months in is a good time to schedule an hour of reflection to look at the status of your life in relation to your goals. Then, make adjustments as needed. Life is fluid. We change as we grow. Our goals need to be flexible as well.

    Big things are possible.

    I like how Emily Dickinson put it: “I dwell in possibility.” Literally, I exist within the realm of “all things possible.” Be reasonable with your goals, sure. You aren’t likely to go from City Council Member to President of the United States in a year, but don’t underestimate what you can do, either. Writing a book seemed just on the edge of what was possible for me. I’d never written anything longer than an article before. I had no connections to the publishing industry. I wasn’t famous. And everyone seemed to be trying to write a book back then, so I had plenty of competition. Yet, I ended up with, not one, but two books coming out in the same year. Big things are possible.

    The journey is the thing.

    For years, I’d dreamed of the moment I’d hold my book in my hands for the first time. My very own book! In reality, however, that moment was entirely anti-climactic. Almost no emotion at all. Turns out, the process of getting to that moment was the real joy: the many walks through the woods asking God for his help, wrestling with writer’s block only to have a sudden burst of inspiration, and the gradual, day-by-day, sentence-by-sentence push toward the finish line–that was the real fun! So yes, aim for your goals, and celebrate your successes when you get there, but realize that you’re living–truly living!–all along the way, because you are living with purpose, shunning a life of aimless conduct.

    Blessings for a wonderful 2012.

    Posted in: General, Setting Goals

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