Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year Goals and Resolutions

Watching the ball drop in Times Square is over. The ringing out of the old year and the ringing in of the new is done. We've entered not only a new year, but a new decade. Boy, did that 10 years go by fast! The big question now is are we going to call this year two thousand ten, or will it be twenty ten?

Along with the new year and the new decade and what to call it, there's that R word. No, this time R isn't for Rejection (that's a whisper, because we don't like to say it too loudly), it's for Resolution. Just the thought gives me shivers. Typing it makes me queasy. In fact, I so abhor the word that I haven't made one of those R things for at least fifteen years. And even though the last resolution I made was kept and carried through, I don't intend to do it again.

Instead, I set goals. Maybe they don't feel as rigid as resolutions, or maybe I don't feel quite so disappointed when I don't reach them, but I think most of all it's because it involves more thinking and planning. And then comes the doing. I freely admit that I'm about as far from being a structered person who follows a set schedule as, well, as Pluto is from the Earth. Sometimes I wish I was, but I've accepted that I'm not and do my best to work with that in mind.

When it comes to Goals, there are four kinds of people:
1. Those who set goals and work hard to meet them, often succeeding
2. Those who never set goals
3. Those who set goals but don't know how to meet them
4. Those who don't know how to set goals

Those who fall into the #1 group can go play now. Those who fall in #'s 2, 3, and 4? Pay attention.

There's a key to setting goals that's taken me many years to learn. That key is to neither over or underestimate what can be done. It takes paying attention to discover your comfort zone, and then set the goal. With some goals, it's good to set them just a little higher than comfortable. Don't set a goal that is not within your control. Goals can't rely on others, only self.

With a goal set, the next step is to decide how to reach it. Bite-sized pieces is best. For instance, if I have a book to complete, I know that if I write 3 pages a day, I can finish it in 2 months. I also know that if something happens and I can't write a day or two now and then, I can make up those missed pages easily. In 2009, I wrote as many as 20 pages in one day. In 2008, I wrote 27 pages in a day. But that, I know, isn't the norm. 3 pages a day will get me within the one-chapter-written-per-week realm. Do I quit at 3 pages? No. Why? Experience has taught me that there will be days when not even a page will be written because of things I can't control. Those "things" cannot include I don't feel like it. In fact, it's often those I-don't-feel-like-it days that I end up writing the most, because once I place my backside in the chair and my hands on the keyboard, then force myself to write, I discover that I suddenly do feel like it. It may not start out as my best writing, but it's writing and it can be fixed.

The last step is the easiest and the hardest. You see, Nike is my friend. Just Do It. No excuses, no whining, just doing.

With all that in mind, I have to take my own advice. It's time to work on the three proposals I want to have ready to go in *gulp* just over two weeks.

Happy New Year! And the very best of luck on your goals for 2010! (You do have goals, right? No? Then get busy and set some!)

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