HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Well, it is a little over a week into 2014. For most of us, the past several weeks have been a time of celebration and reflection as well as a time of expectation and planning. Did you make New Year’s Resolutions? Have you broken them yet? Many people have and are already discouraged. Hopefully, they are revising their plans or are starting over with ways to make things better in their lives.
Some of us (like me) have not settled on our plans for the new year yet. I prepare my goals each year for my birthday, which comes up this weekend. As I make my plans this year, I am aware of how challenging this whole new-year-resolutions-business is. Much harder than remembering to write 2014 on my checks—and I have not developed that habit yet either!
As I struggle with finalizing my goals, I know what I should be doing. For one thing, I need a theme of some sort to help me stay focused with my plans throughout the year. One blog I follow is by Holly Gerth. She suggests finding a theme in her post What’s Your One Word for 2014? I like this idea to find the one word that is just right for this year and to keep it with you all year long. This one word can become the filter used to help make day-to-day decisions that invariably impact your overall goals. It is the talisman in your pocket that gives you comfort in moments of doubt or anxiety. It is the guiding light that keeps you on course throughout the year.
My problem is I have not settled on my word yet. I have been considering several recently, but they change a bit each day. I first thought of “Retirement,” but that is a decision I may be making this year, not a theme or guiding principle. Right now, I am considering these words: Risk, Bold, Adventure, you get the idea. I also am looking to Happiness, Love, Honesty since they are my usual guides. I will make my decision by Sunday, when I finalize my plans for the new year.
Even once I settle on a word, I want to make some goals, so I have something specific to devote my energies to. In this regard, I have to remember the advice I often give faculty when they are setting goals for their upcoming year of evaluation. Goals need to be specific, but not limiting. In essay writing terms, goals need to be more like thesis statements (opinions) rather than details or facts. For example, attending a specific technology conference to learn some new classroom strategies is not a great goal. What happens if you for some reason cannot attend or you do not learn anything that interests you? You are left with not meeting your goal. Instead, the goal should be exploring new technologies to enhance classroom teaching. Then, yes, if you get to that conference, you can accomplish the goal. But you leave yourself open to other pathways as well.
Another tidbit I share with others but need to remember to follow for myself is to limit the total number of goals. If you have too many goals, you will undoubtedly fail—or at least get off schedule—when life’s interruptions surface. And they will surface. Life is messy. There are accidents and unexpected visitors, new friends and relationships, sicknesses, new jobs, winning the lottery—the list can go on and on. The point is to remember that these as yet unknown challenges and surprises will surface, so keep your goals to a manageable few, so you won’t drop them while you juggle everything else.
The final bit of advice I give others but often forget to follow myself is the need to be as forgiving of myself as we are of others. If someone else slips up—does not get to the gym one day, overeats on a weekend, forgoes a walk—we often tell them, “It’s okay, you will get back to that new routine.” Often, to ourselves, we are much harder, focusing on the misstep or lapse of activity rather than on the chance to get started again. If you have not yet completed your goal or activity, that does not mean, you will not. Focus on getting started again, on applauding when things go right, and remembering that persistence is a success. This need to stay encouraged and focused is another reason to carefully craft goals. It is easier to build momentum with small steps that can be applauded.
If I can remember these tips, when I finally settle on my word and follow-up goals, I am confident I will find success throughout 2014. It will be a great year. If any one week or month seems to be holding me back from succeeding, I need to remind myself that even though I have not accomplished my goal YET, I will. That YET is a great little word to remember. It holds all the hope and expectation of the new year, every day! [Hey, YET is another word that meets Topic Y. Imagine that.]
Happy New Year!
What advice helps you stay focused on your plans for making 2014 the best year ever?
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“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” Ernest Hemingway
“Aim higher in case you fall short.” Suzanne Collins
“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Not put the foundations under them.” Henry David Thoreau
“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.” Louisa May Alcott
“If you were born without wings, do nothing to prevent them from growing.” Coco Chanel
“Happiness is not a goal—it’s a by-product of a life well lived.” Eleanor Roosevelt
“If you want a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” Albert Einstein
“You never know what’s around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain.” Tom Hiddleston
“We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal and then leap in the dark to our success.” Henry David Thoreau
“Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.” Tom Landry
“The most important key to achieving great success is to decide upon your goal and launch, get started, take action, move.” Brian Tracy
“The most important thing about motivation is goal setting. You should always have a goal.” Francie Larrieu Smith
“The person who makes a success of living is the one who sees his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly. That is dedication.” Cecil B. De Mille
“The important thing is to strive towards a goal which is not immediately visible. That goal is not the concern of the mind, but of the spirit.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery
“One half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up before you get it.” Sidney Howard
“If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.” Lawrence J. Peter
“It is a most mortifying reflection for a man to consider what he has done compared to what he might have done.” Samuel Johnson
“Goals are dreams with deadlines.” Diana Scharf Hunt
“Only those who will risk going too far can possible find out how far one can go.” T. S. Eliot
“The road leading to a goal does not separate you from the destination; it is essentially a part of it.” Charles DeLint
“Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.” Arnold H. Glasow
“A deadline is negative inspiration. Still, it’s better than no inspiration at all.” Rita Mae Brown
“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” Douglas Adams