bits from bob....

Better Than Resolutions--Set Goals

by Robert J. Young
January 1, 2004
©, 2004, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

If you are like the majority of people in our world, you've made a lot of New Year's resolutions, you've made resolutions at other significant points in your life, and you've found that resolutions don't work very well.

Resolutions generally start well and end poorly. Once a resolution is broken, the path leads downhill rapidly. Broken resolutions often lead to loss of resolve, and the potential for good quickly diminishes. Against the typical long string of failed resolutions, I suggest a different (more biblical!) approach. Instead of making resolutions, why not write a list of goal for the coming year! The good thing about a list of goals is that you can start at any time--even a few days after January 1st. Making a list of goals helps us focus on the priorities of our lives and what we want to accomplish in the coming year. I not only make a list of my priorities to help guide the year ahead, I make a list of major events or accomplishments from the past year to help me see how I am doing.

One fellow mails his list of goals to himself and lays it conspicuously on his dresser, unopened, as a daily reminder. At the end of the year, he opens the envelope, scores himself, and thinks about making the next year better.

While I like to write down my priorities, the truth is I have no trouble remembering the things that matter most to me. Like the fellow with the unopened envelope, all I need most days is a gentle reminder--that's why I post my priorities list in the location marker of my planner! I divide my priorities into categories like spiritual, financial, physical (weight and exercise!), mental growth, career, family, and personal agendas. Some days I work on one area more than others, but they are all with me--always!

On my spiritual journey, having a goal is much better than making a resolution, because when I get distracted or sidetracked, it's only temporary, and I can get right back on track. I never fail and nothing is "broken," even when I have a bad day.

Goals are a game plan that I can live with, live by, live for, and live up to. My goals are like a game of darts. I'd like to hit the bulls-eye every time, but if I can hit the mark on a bunch of my priorities, get close on others, and at least hit the dart board on all of them, I know that my life is moving forward.

I encourage you to forego the resolutions, and if you've already make a list, rip it up. Focus on goals. If you do not like my plan devise one of your own. What's important is that you know where you're going and how you're going to get there. I encourage you to have a plan. List the priorities, set the goals. And give it your best shot! What a great year 2004 is going to be!

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Last updated January 1, 2004.