Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Resolutions! It's Time To Talk

by Kris Pitcher

We've come to that time of year again. And I think we should have a talk. Maybe we should get a cup of coffee first...get cozy. OK, I really got mine, and I gave the cat fresh water too. Did you get your coffee?

Let me start by sharing a story. Each year I look for the prefect calendar "system". I have had expensive systems, and inexpensive systems. I've had 5X7, and 8 1/2X11, I've had spiral bound and I have had three ring. I have leather binders and "leather-like" covers. Can you see where this is going?

Each year I think the perfect system will help me be more organized. I transfer the information from one system to another in hopes this will transform my life. That it will magically make me more productive, smarter, I ultimately resolve to "be more organized".

And by February my system is full of post-it notes and slips of paper. By February I don't love my new system and it hasn't changed my life...I'm not more organized. And that's the end of the story. Resolutions pretty much end by February.

Becoming more organized is one of the top self-defeating resolutions that people make. I'm not that different from everyone else as it turns out. The others that top the list are:

  1. I'm going on a diet.
  2. I'm going to get out of debt.
  3. I'm going to quit smoking/drinking.
  4. I'm going to help others.
  5. I'm going to spend more time with the family.
  6. I'm going to learn something new (language/hobby/skill).
  7. I'm going to enjoy life more.
  8. I'm going to get fit.
Big Giant sigh. We can avoid disappointment by aiming for realistic goals. These statements are so vague I could just slip into a coma when I hear people say them. Yet year after year, we set ourselves up to fail.

Not me, not this year. I bought a $5 day planner and I'm rolling with it. I switched over in October and it's working great. I don't have any expectations that it's going to change my life. 

As you think about how you'd like your 2012 to be better than last year think small. That's right, think small. Small changes are lasting changes. Try drinking more water, or eating breakfast. Try to move more or go on a walk after dinner three nights a week with the family. Try to prepare meals at home most nights each week and pack your lunch for work. These things will go a long way toward "going on a diet", or "getting fit". 

Instead of "learning something new" try picking up a few travel phrases in a new language, or try enjoying that hobby you purchased a bunch of stuff for last year. Enjoy the hobbies you have already invested in. Or if you aren't interested, let those things go. Put all that scrapping stuff on Craig's list for someone who could use it. Move on.

Remember that goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timed. SMART goals will create success around resolutions. Think small changes that you can incorporate without big life shifts. Once you find success with one small change then you can add another.

My resolution? No self-defeating resolutions! My plan is to continue to build on the success from the year before. Train hard, eat clean, de-clutter my life, pay attention to the important things, keep writing, better in small ways. And that's worth my resolve! 

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