Note: I’m late posting this article from Christmas Eve, but the message remains the same. I hope it helps you.
It’s Christmas Eve, 2017. Do you know what that means? It means that it’s almost January first!
I’m not a proponent of New Year’s Resolutions; not at all. Resolutions rarely work. I won’t bore you with all the scientific details, but there are actually physiological reasons for the failure of resolutions.
Resolutions rarely work because we stand up tall, square our shoulders, and declare to ourselves that we resolve that next year will be different because we resolve to accomplish something; and it’s usually the same something we declared last year. Then something happens. It’s called life. As life happens, those spoken resolutions fade into the blur of a fast-moving calendar and everything that comes with it. But for the most part, those resolutions are forgotten until December 31 of the next year.
I am a believer in having goals and that leading up to January is a good time to review, renew, and establish goals. What’s the difference? Honestly, I’m not totally sure; but hang in here with me.
I believe in establishing goals. Goals are life targets. However, there are problems with goals, too. Goals can be forgotten. I have an application on my devices called Evernote. The cool thing about Evernote is that you never lose anything you put into it. Word recognition makes it almost if not entirely impossible for anything to be lost. Scan a document in and it will recognize the words in that document. Simply type some words into the search bar and every note and document you have that includes that word will appear.
Recently in Evernote I typed “goals” into the search bar. Goals that I had typed into Evernote as far back as 2012 came to the surface. With those goals came some disappointment. I had typed them into a note and forgotten them. Why would I forget an important goal? Because life happened and, well, I forgot.
Why is it so easy to forget? Life! Looking back at my goals from 2012, I found one of my goals that I didn’t totally achieve but I didn’t forget it, either. I set a goal in 2012 to read fifty-two books. I do believe in reading, but fifty-two books is not a goal that I necessarily recommend. I didn’t forget that goal to read all of those books because it was always in front of me. Every day, my current book was there for me to pick up. On my desk there were always three or four books that were in the bullpen just waiting for their turn. As I started reading one book, I ordered another. I didn’t read fifty-two books in 2012, but I did read thirty-four, which is pretty good and most importantly, I never forgot the goal because it was in front of me.
Lately I’ve been thinking again about my goals and that 2012 goal to read fifty-two books. So, I’m approaching the year with a new, untested goal- tracking system. I bought myself a cheap journal. It’s one of the spiral bound type that almost looks like your typical high school composition book.
Here is the untested system.
First, I wrote my goals on the first two pages of the journal. Remember, some scientists say that the action of writing makes the information more concrete, mentally. Now every morning as I have my quiet time, I read from the Bible, pray, listen to a podcast, read a few pages from my current read, and I re-write my goals. That’s right! The plan is that everyday of this next year, I will rewrite my goals. I will also add notes such as, “goal completed” and “goal dropped”; or I may write a note to explain what I will do on that day to help myself achieve that goal. We’ll see how it goes.
W Clemet Stone said, “No matter how carefully you plan your goals, they will never be more than pipe dreams unless you pursue them with gusto.”
Finally, here are a few goal-setting pointers:
1. Write you goals down.
2. Read or rewrite your goals daily.
3. Be willing to edit your goal list. You may find that your priorities will change as the year goes by.
4. Act! Do something to make your goals a reality.