“And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.”
-Rainer Maria Rilke
It’s January and that means checking off goals from last year and writing new ones. This has
been a practice of mine for the past 25 years. At first, I was nervous about calling them
resolutions. I started out writing “New Year’s Eve Thoughts,” so as not to tie myself down.
What if I didn’t have enough “resolve” to make them come true? Did that mean I simply wasn’t
good enough? But after a while, I got serious. I wrote NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS AND
GOALS at the top of the page and never looked back.
Over the years, these early January deliberations have helped me steer the course of my business
and my life. They’ve been a map and a compass all in one, leading me towards a more desirable
future. I keep them in one notebook, so I can look back and see where I’ve been, where I’m
coming from, and where I’m headed. Not bad, for a once-a-year exercise with a little tweaking
along the way.
Specifically, here are 5 reasons why I don’t hate New Year’s Resolutions and Goals, and in fact,
look forward to setting them each year.
1. As the quote above says, New Year’s Resolutions remind me of the promise of a
new beginning. The New Year stretches into
the future like a 365- mile ribbon of empty highway. It contains endless possibilities. It’s like having a blank slate
upon which to write new scenarios. And we get multiple chances for “do-overs” along the way. We never know
exactly what a new year will bring, and so many things are outside of our control. But we can
diligently work to influence it in positive ways and continually make progress towards our
2. They help me prioritize for the coming year. With the mass of tasks and goals we try to
accomplish every day of every year, it’s like a sea of obligations washing over us. It’s easy to
get lost in the tide. Writing down the areas I most want to concentrate on makes it far easier
to focus. Even the act of writing something down is like a commitment in itself. The goals
you set for yourself are more difficult to ignore once they’re on paper, a computer screen or
your smart phone.
3. They help me find my passion. It’s interesting to see what floats to the top and themes that
keep popping up in the most unexpected places. The past few years, I’ve noticed that balance
between work life and family life was mentioned in more than one goal. I knew that was
important, but seeing it in black and white reaffirmed it for me. As Stephen Covey said, “It’s
easy to say “no!” when there’s a deeper “yes!” burning inside.”
4. They’re a wake-up call. A quick review of my goals easily shows me which areas I was
attracted to and which I let fall by the wayside. Typically, I do really well on reaching most
of the goals, and OK on the remaining ones. If I look at them in June, I can make mid-course
adjustments. When I check them off at the end of the year, I know what to focus on next
year. Sometimes I drop a goal completely, either because it’s impractical or I’m headed in
5. They’re a reality check. Resolutions and goals remind us we don’t have to be perfect in
everything. Reviewing my goals alerts me if I’ve set the bar too high or too low. As an
educator and trainer, I know that goals can be measureable while resolutions seem to imply
all or nothing. So I write some goals to be very specific and measureable. Remember the SMART
goals? However, I leave others more open-ended intentionally. For example, how do you measure
them off, and re-read them. Remember what you said you were going to do? Then DO it! What are your New Year’s resolutions? I’d love to hear from you.
About the Author:
Chaz is the primary consultant, trainer and facilitator with Chaz Consulting. Chaz Consulting was
formed in 1996 to provide clients with innovative organizational solutions. Chaz prides herself
in not only delivering a superior product, but in using the right processes to help clients achieve
their goals. Through her special blend of process consultation and facilitation, Chaz designs and
implements effective solutions for clients that produce long-lasting results. Visit us at
www.chazconsulting.com to find out more about our services and organizational solutions.
* Image1 (top) courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
* Image2 courtesy of graur razvan ionut at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
* Image3 (bottom) courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net