Warning: This will not be your typical “New Year, New You” blog. The reason being: all of you will not feel inspired to write your New Year’s resolutions after reading this. If you want to read a blog that will inspire you to write your annual never-to-be-completed resolutions, please skip this song. However, if you are really searching for a way to reach those dreams that are way down deep in your soul, this may be a source of that long sought after inspiration.
Let me begin by introducing myself. Hello! My name is Priska, and I eat goals for breakfast. Those of you who know me well know this about me: I am passionate and purpose-driven. Those of you who know my background also know this about me: I spun in circles for many years before making true progress. I can attest that it is really not enough to say that you’re going to do something, give yourself a boost of positive vibes, and try to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. You, my dear reader, know that. I bet it’s the same for you as it is for me. Think about your 2014 goals and resolutions. Was your goal to run a half-marathon? Earn a promotion? Find a spouse? Quit smoking? Maybe you just wanted to quit eating a Snickers every day. Think about one of the goals you did not accomplish. Did you tell yourself you were going to do it? You might have said: This year will be different; this year I will return to my college weight. Did you affirm your capability to accomplish your goal? “I am strong. I am smart. I can do anything I set my mind to do.” Did you even write you goal on your mirror and recite it while you brushed your teeth every morning? (I take that back – it sounds like a choking hazard.) And yet again this New Year’s Eve 2014, you are thinking about writing the same resolution for 2015. “This year will be different.”
Before we proceed, let me play a little game I like for all of you word nerds out there. At the risk of sounding like the father in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, the word resolution comes from the same Latin word from which we draw resolute and resolve. The word resolute in Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary is defined as:
having a fixed purpose; determined; hence, bold; firm; steady; constant in pursuing a purpose
That sounds a lot more meaningful than the way we use the term New Year resolutions, doesn’t it? While you read this blog post, keep that definition in mind as the guts of the word resolution.
Back to my story… For many years I came up with my New Year’s resolutions only to forget about them around mid-January. Sometimes I was even so hopeless, I wouldn’t even write my goals. After all, that’s just something to remind me of failure at the end of the year. Finally one year a real change was made, and I’m here to sell that magic potion to you. Keep reading…
This year on January 5, 2014, I decided to write 17 goals. That may seem like a lot, but I have been doing this goal accomplishing routine for a while now, and these were the goals that came from my prayer time and determined to accomplish. Some of these goals are private, but let me share some of the goals that are probably the same as are on your list and also goals that are just plain ridiculous. At least we will all get a laugh out of it.
Out of my 17 goals for 2014: I accomplished 10 goals, I did not accomplish 5 goals, and 2 goals are more than halfway completed with notable progress made.
I will save you the mathematical calculation of ratios to say that somewhere around 60% of my goals were accomplished. Perhaps when you consider that, I am unqualified to inspire you in goal accomplishing. In which case, I hope you find another blogger to inspire you. However from my perspective, I accomplished 10 goals this year, and I am satisfied with the progress I made for 2014. Here is how I did it.
First, I referenced my life mission, my values, and my long-term goals. The reason you review your mission and values before your goals is so you are ensured your goals are mission-focused. As Scripture says:
For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? – Matthew 16:26
I think of people who end up being very successful in their careers only to lose sight of their spouses, children and community. Adversely, I think of people who are limiting their professional growth by not including it in their goals, and in the long run live beneath the economic level they desire for themselves and their families.
Second, I wrote my goals on paper and reviewed them about FIVE times every week. To be clear, I did not write my goals on January 1 or on a Monday or after a really inspirational sermon about “New Year, New You”. I wrote my goals on Sunday, January 5 after spending a week in prayer, asking God what was on His priority list for me this year.
When writing your goals, consider what you are willing to sacrifice in order to achieve them. Also consider what you are not willing to sacrifice to achieve them. I will give you an example out of the ole Priska book. This year, I had a goal of having the healthiest year of my life. (Yes, that is a vague goal and you goal police are welcome to interrogate me later.) In May I realized I was not on track to achieving this, so I kicked up my workouts. I began working out 8 times a week. For 3 months I continued this, and by the end of summer I was very pleased with the results. I gave up a lot of social time, some beach days, and quite a bit of unhealthy food in order to properly fuel my workouts. I was willing to sacrifice these things, so I did. Unfortunately, there were times when I should not have sacrificed quality time with friends for going to work out…again. You see, one of my other goals was to develop better relationships with my family and friends. What I should have recognized is: I am willing to sacrifice pizza to be healthier, but I am not willing to sacrifice my relationships to see maximum definition in my bicep. This revelation started from reading this quote by the highly-accomplished Zig Ziglar:
“What you get by achieving your goals is not nearly as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”
Third, I used a proven system to accomplish my goals. This is where I have to say I am not promoting a particular product, but I will share what works for me year in and year out. About 5 years ago, a very special person in my life gifted a Franklin Covey Planner System. I began using it just a little to schedule meetings in the calendar. After a few weeks, I read the “Introduction to the Planner Guide” and it changed my life. The FranklinCovey Planner System extends way beyond the average planner or the ever-popular iPhone calendar. If you use the system as it was designed, you begin by writing your values which leads to your mission statement. From there, you develop your long-term goals and short-term goals. And after all of that (it took me 6 months to finalize), you can now begin planning your days accordingly. Any sacrifice of time and energy to finish all of this is a real investment in you. Not like “There was a 50% off designer shoes on Black Friday sale, which led me to spend $500” type of investment. This is a true investment which will reap a profit with interest, because at the end of the year you will know that each goal you accomplished is helping you reach your lifelong dreams.
Fourth, I reflect at the end of the year on the goals I set to achieve at the beginning of the year. I do not ignore my goals when I didn’t accomplish them all. Like I said, there were 5 goals I clearly did not accomplish this year. However, if I am going to accomplish my goals next year, I need to know why I didn’t accomplish all of them last year. Otherwise, I might as well be spinning on a hamster wheel going really fast, but going nowhere. One of the goals I didn’t accomplish was to be serving the church with my gift of teaching. This year, I finally joined a church after looking for 6 years for my home church. That was a precursor to being able to teach, so I made sure that happened at the right time. Unfortunately I had a lot of other important priorities that trumped the time necessary to teach within a church. Around August-September I realized I did not have a plan to ensure I accomplished this goal by the end of the year. I considered whether I should just make it happen, or as the popular Nike slogan says “Just do it”. However, considering that I am in my senior year of college, working full time, and have two other important leadership positions, I also knew that I would need to sacrifice something else in life. After praying about it, I decided to move this goal to next year, 2015. While I did not accomplish this goal, I am happy about it. While I could have made it happen so I could check a box on the To-Do list, I decided to postpone this goal so it would be accomplished with better quality in the future.
This is how I accomplished 10 goals from January 1-December 21, 2014. If this formula works for you, please take it and run! If it gives you inspiration to formulate a personalized system, I am thrilled to have inspired you! The important thing is to know that there are people who keep their goals and you can, too. To anyone who will challenge yourself this coming year, I commend you. You can and you will!
Best of luck for 2015!