New Year’s Resolutions?

New Year’s Day has come again, like it does every year. New Year’s has come to mean a time to reflect on the previous year and make plans for the new one. We have come to call these plans, resolutions. However, when I looked up the word in the dictionary, (remember I told you I was a word lover) it has little to do with plans. Here is the dictionary definition:

Resolution: the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc.: the act of resolving something: an answer or solution to something

You may think these plans are an answer to some problem in your life. Or you may simple be resolving to do something in the New Year. But so many times those resolutions are forgotten by the end of January. If you have this problem (and I freely confess, I have it), then why not try something new. Why not try setting Goals instead of Resolutions. A goal, by its very definition, is a process that requires effort be put into it.

Goal:  the end toward which effort is directed: something that you are trying to do or achieve

If you use the acronym SMART in connection with your goal, you might end 2014 saying, ‘I have accomplished … (insert here your desire for 2014).’ SMART means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. By applying these principles to your goal for 2014, your goal is refined and quantified. Instead of saying ‘I want to lose weight,’ SMART says, I will lose 20 pounds by the end of the year by joining a gym, going on a diet, etc. This goal incorporates SMART. (Here is a link to get you started.)

To help you stay on track with your goal, you should break your larger goal into smaller goals that also follow SMART. For example, I will lose 2 pounds every month by walking one mile every day. (I would urge you that if losing weight is your goal, PLEASE do this in a safe and healthy manner.) These small goals help you achieve the larger goal but are easier to handle. When I was a child, we listened to Patch the Pirate. In one of his Character Building Dramatizations was this song. ‘Little by little/Inch by Inch/By the yard it’s hard/By the inch what a cinch.’ This is exactly what those smaller goals accomplish. It is easier to stick to something small than a large project. If you don’t believe me, remember your broken resolutions.

Why am I going on and on ad nauseum about goals and resolutions? I am also trying this new approach this year. A couple of years ago, I made a trial run with this approach. My hobby is knitting and in 2012, I made a plan that I would knit one item off my personal wish list each month. I came very close to accomplishing my goal. I ended up making 10 ½ items off my wish list. Did I accomplish my entire goal? No, but I did more than if I had just stated I wanted to knit off my wish list in 2012.

One of the parts of setting goals is putting them down on paper. You may say I do not have time to write things out on paper. Here is my suggestion. Think about it for a few days. Really mull it over when you have a few moments to yourself. Then when you put it down on paper it will take no time at all.

Once you have your goals on paper, put it somewhere where you can refer to it during the year. If you lose paper easily, put it on your computer, tablet or phone. Just somewhere you will see it from time to time. If you think you may need someone to keep you accountable, find a person and give them a copy of your goals. Let them know they have permission to check with you from time to time to see where you are. (Just don’t give it to someone who will nag you. That will make sure you never accomplish your goals.)

Now every so often look at those goals. How are you doing? Where do you need work? Are you reaching your smaller goals? Does a goal need to be changed because of circumstance? (Really if you have broken your leg, how can you join a gym to lose weight?) If you have an accountability partner, talk these goals over with them.

Goals are necessary for life. Without a dream to follow, many people become overwhelmed and depressed. A goal gives us something for which to live. As Hebrews says,

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

Jesus who is our ultimate Example had goals as well. He knew the prize He was trying to attain and endure much to attain it. We should strive to please Him with our goals and seek to emulate Him by making and sticking to those goals. He did not turn back at the first sign of an obstacle. Let us do the same.

As for me, I am off to take my own advice. I would be interested to know if anyone wants to join me on this adventure in 2014. If so contact me by email at servingsingle’at’gmail’dot’com.

At the end of the year, we will take time to look back and see if we have met our goals or not.

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