“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” ~ Jimmy Dean
Okay, it is official. Resolutions are just wrong. They make us do the opposite of what we really want to do—true story! Last year, as an experiment, I resolved to gain weight—the one resolution I felt I could keep—and I lost 30 pounds!
But, before you resolve to gain weight, let me clarify. It wasn’t the resolution to gain weight that did it. It was a goal I set. Resolutions are wishful thoughts for the next year that lose their freshness in a few months and life takes over choking our good intentions.
Unfortunately, for the remainder of the year, our little gasping resolutions hold on to enough life to make us feel guilty.
Let’s talk about goals:
· Goals should be purposeful. Think them through, design a step-by-step plan and follow that plan. If we stumble that doesn’t change the goal. We get up, dust ourselves off and start new.
· Goals should be realistic. Sure, I wanted to lose 50 pounds in three months, but that didn’t happen. It took me a year to lose 30. I’d like to lose 10 more, but I’m also paying attention to what my body is telling me. My part in this endeavor is to eat right, exercise, and be patient with myself. The most important thing I had to change was my mind and realize this wasn’t a temporary practice till I lost my excess weight. It was something I had to do for the rest of my earthly life!
· Goals should be multidimensional. We need to have “vision” for what these goals will accomplish. Sure, I wanted to look better. But I also wanted to feel better. I’m pushing 56, but my new career as a writer and speaker is just picking up steam. I want to keep a spring in my step! I also wanted the convenience of getting dressed and being done with it instead of emptying my closet trying to disguise this bulge or that flabby part.
· Goals should dream big! I know I said to be realistic, and when it comes to something that leans heavily on our personal responsibility, we should be reasonable with ourselves. But, I also believe we should “dream” big and see where life takes us.
Another effective thing to do is to write out your goals. Something about writing them down really makes a difference. I usually begin my year with writing a “workable” list of 5 things I’d like to accomplish. This year I want to:
· Lose those last ten pounds
· Finish the rewrite of my novel
· Write a devotional book
· Attend three writing conferences
· Get a speaking engagement in the UK
That last one throw you? Don’t let it. Have a big goal in your heart’s pocket. You never know where it will lead you! As C.S. Lewis says, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
What about you? Do you have any goals to start in 2011? Notice I say start. They may not be finished in 2012. That is the beauty of goals. They are there until we cross the finish line, whatever the year. How we run the race—fast and determined, slow and steady, or undisciplined and sporadic— is up to us.
May you have a successful and fruitful 2011!