Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Thoughts for 2014

2104 has arrived! Last midnight across the nation, fireworks exploded, sweethearts kissed, and people lifted glasses of champagne and toasted the new year to the strains of "Auld Lang Syne". The old year has expired.  Behold, a new year has come, bringing with it opportunities for fresh starts, opportunities to do things differently and opportunities to do different things.

Many will take the opportunity of the new year  to make resolutions, committing themselves to accomplish something positive, to lose weight. to become more active, to spend more time with family, to be a better friend, to take a class, travel, start a business, publish a blog or even write the great American novel.

Others will go a step farther and set goals, binding their resolutions to attainment of a specific result. Some few will define SMART -- Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-limited -- goals, binding their result not only to one or more specific measures but also to a particular specified deadline for completion.

This year, I will make no resolutions. Resolutions are too non specific, too easily broken, too easily overcome by events. Resolutions don't work, at least not for me.

I may set goals. I may even establish some SMART goals. I have done this in the past, even to the extent of establishing intermediate goals and milestones. Sometimes I met them. Most often I didn't. In general, achieving my goals required too much effort over too long a time to deliver a result that was too far into the future to be real.  When life intervened, these goals were either abandoned or pushed so far into the future as to become irrelevant.

Setting goals was for defining where I wanted to be and when I wanted to be there but did little to get me there. My long term goals got lost in the hubbub of daily activities. I needed something to get me started and keep me moving. I needed actions I could make daily priorities.

Instead of resolving to "lose weight" -- resolution -- or stating  a goal to "lose x number of pounds by y date" -- goal -- I established a daily goal to "Consume no more than z calories per day" and daily actions to "Walk xx miles or yy minutes per day", and to "Monitor and record food intake and exercise daily" and to make accomplishing these actions a priority every day.  So far, my method is working.

This year, in lieu of resolutions, I will strive to break my long term goals into bite-size daily tasks and to make accomplishment of those tasks a priority every day.

How about you?

Have you made any resolutions or established any goals for the new year?

What actions will you take every day to keep your resolutions and achieve your goals?