Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

I want to wish all of my readers (even Mr. Leftist Blogger) a Happy New Year.

The new year brings people hope for a brighter tomorrow, which is admirable. It's also a time when people set personal goals, whether it be to drop a few pounds, go back to school, or work within a budget. Usually these are in the form of New Year's resolutions. And, invariably, most of these resolutions fall apart after a month or so because of a lack of follow-through. When things get tough or the desire goes away for one reason or another, resolutions become mere flights of optimistic fancy.

If you're in that boat, it's time to start thinking in a new way. Instead of looking at dropping 100 pounds, look at it in smaller terms. Break it down into increments of 20-25 pounds within a certain timeframe. Instead of looking to get your financial house in order by next weekend, start cutting small things from your budget that will help you save more. The key is that every big goal is made up of a series of smaller goals. Once you recognize that, the rest becomes a little easier to address.

Then, you have to keep up the commitment. This is a little harder to do, especially when your goals aren't being met in a timeframe you wish it would. Setting smaller benchmarks goes a long way towards maintaining a commitment, but there's still more that needs to be done. Every goal we set to improve our lives is a personal stake in our futures, so whenever we run into difficulties reaching those goals, we have to decide how much skin we still have in the game. This is the crucial decision in any goal setting endeavor. And this is where resolutions fail time and time again. We decide that the old status quo is better than the new one we're trying to establish, and we lapse.

Unfortunately, there's no witty or pithy statement I can make to get you through that moment of truth. That's up to you. You have to decide what you value and act upon it. And once you do, you'll have to live with the consequences or adjust your plans to accommodate a new reality. In either case, it's all on you.

Whatever plans you have for self-improvement, remember that you are the ultimate driving force behind them. May you enjoy many successes in the coming year.

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