It's the New Year and for many with it comes the annual tradition of establishing New Year's Resolutions. Being that I am a chronic list maker and goal setter, one might think that I am a fan of resolutions. The truth is, I am not. The reason? Our (society's) collective inability to demonstrate any true resolve has made a mockery of what could and should be a healthy drill facilitating our individual desire to continually improve. Because we often times use words we don't truly understand, here are some synonyms for the word resolution...declaration, decree, decision, motion, ruling, promise, pledge, oath, vow, resolve, determination, steadfastness, tenacity, firmness, perseverance, purpose. Note all of these require a level of commitment.
We are one week into 2010 and I am already aware of two friends who have admitted they have violated their resolutions (almost pridefully). Clearly there are more people who went through the motions of making a hollow list only to laugh at how uncommitted they are to continual improvement, not even fooling themselves as they put them on paper. To them, I simply ask why waste your time?
Though I do not make such resolutions, my wife and I do make the time at the end of each year to establish meaningful, achievable and measurable goals (There is a subtle but important difference between a resolution and a goal...goals are measurable). We do that after we evaluate our performance towards reaching the previous year's goals and strive to continually improve upon them. There are plenty of web sites that are helpful with goal setting, so I won't attempt to go down that path. Though, I would like to share that what works for us is to establish both joint and individual goals in the categories of health, professional/educational, financial, and social. Though 2009 was a year where we were able to measure meaningful progress towards our goals, there is clearly room for improvement and our 2010 goals focus on those areas. For us, the key is putting them on paper and holding ourselves and each other accountable through periodic self and peer assessments.
The way I see it we are much like plants. We are in a cyclical pattern where we are either growing or wilting. The sooner we all realize there is no status quo, the better off we all will be. Those of us who are not choosing to grow are in fact choosing to wilt (e.g. wither, weaken) and that choice is made as much by conscious activity as it is by unconscious inactivity. Though it does not make me happy to make such a statement, I am willing to bet that most who read this will not achieve their 2010 "resolutions" and worse yet had no intention on doing so when they went through the motions of establishing them. My hope is that each of us leaves 2010 having made meaningful progress towards our goals, became a better person and enhanced the lives of those around us. If we are not working towards that end, I would question the motivation for getting up in the morning.
What are your goals for 2010?
Will fitness/nutrition still be a priority in April?
How many books do you plan to read this year?
How will you demonstrate to your friends and family that they truly are a priority on your life?
What progress will you make towards improving your financial position?
Will you really take that family vacation you've been promising your spouse?
How will you help to address areas for improvement at work?
Will you wait to be anointed or lead from your current position?
Are you helping your friends/family achieve their goals or are you sabotaging (intentionally or otherwise) their efforts or enabling their deficiencies?
Are you growing or wilting?
Let's all make 2010 the best year yet!!