Time Has Come Today – Goals & Resolutions for 2008
It happens this time every year. At the stroke of midnight on December 31, we launch out to make improvements in every area of our lives. We make goals and resolutions and attack them with great gusto … only to abandon them by mid January.
Some dedicated folks actually make it to February before they throw in the towel!
But others will actually follow through and be successful by year’s end.
Last year at this time I also drew up a list of goals and resolutions. As I’ve looked at the things I set out to do in 2007 I discovered both successes, sort of successes, close to successes, and not even close to successes.
Stephen Covey, in his book “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” give us these 7 Habits:
1. Be Proactive.
2. Begin With the End in Mind.
3. Put First Things First.
4. Think Win/Win.
5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood.
7. Sharpen the Saw.
“Begin with the end in mind” means that at the end of 2008 we’ll be able to look back over the year and see the successes in the plans, goals, and resolutions that we write today. We’ll see the benefit at the end of the year of the vision we write down today. That makes sense, right? I mean, who wants to look back over the past year and see little improvement … only failure. None of us want that.
Here are keys to making goals, plans, and resolutions that lead to success and end of the year celebration!
1. Write them down.
Putting something in writing might be the hardest part. You may just want to brainstorm. Write down everything that comes to mind. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling or penmanship. Just write it down. You can revise it and clean it up later. Just get it down on paper.
2. Make them specific and measurable.
Having a goal to “lose weight” is a good idea, but a lousy goal. Be specific! “I will lose 15 pounds,” is a much better goal. “I will lose 5 percent body fat,” is an even better goal.
3. Give yourself a deadline.
Using the example above, “I will lose 5 percent body fat by April 15, 2008.” gives you the deadline.
4. Set intermediary goals.
“I will lose 5 pounds by January 31, 2008,” is a short term goal on your way to the ultimate goal of 15 pounds. Every long term goal has short term goals that have to be written down and assigned deadlines too.
5. Make them realistic, and realistic for the time frame.
A goal of, say, “Climbing Mt. Everest” is probably not realistic for you or me. “Become a Brain Surgeon,” wouldn’t be accomplished in a year, but you could accomplish it in 15 years if you really wanted to.
Let me offer up a rebuttal to my own advice here. It’s possible that you might sell yourself short by NOT going for it. Most people don’t reach high enough. Most people don’t suffer from making their goals too grand. They suffer from not having any goals at all. “Lose 100 pounds by January 31, 2008″ isn’t a realistic goal, even if you weigh 350 pounds today. It’s not realistic because it’s impossible. Know the difference between realistic and unrealistic and set your goals accordingly. If you want to be a lawyer, but you’ve never been to law school, you won’t be a lawyer at the end of 2008. But you COULD be in law school by the end of 2008!
What areas of your life should you set goals, plans, and resolutions?
All of them!
Make goals and resolutions in your personal life, your health and fitness, your finances, your faith, your service to others, your career, your retirement … everything!
The last step is …
6. Review them regularly.
If you do all of the above, but then just put them in a desk drawer, you’ll fail for sure. So place them somewhere that you’ll have access to them and look at them regularly. I’ve put mine in my Bible before because I’d see them at least once a week when I went to church.
Now get out that paper and pen and get busy!