Frankly, I stopped making New Year’s resolutions decades ago. Why? They didn’t work; not for me, anyway.
I tried making New Year’s resolutions early in my life. Maybe my lack of success was immaturity, though I dutifully wrote them down on a sheet of paper; I would even memorize them and increase the size of the list each year. Then I would sit back and think about how nice it would be to have all my wishes come true. But I never experienced the magical “poof” that brought my goals to reality.
I started out in earnest each time, vowing that I would resolve to make some important changes in my life and would do all in my power to ensure their achievement. But, it was not to be.
I’m not saying I never followed through on one New Year’s resolution. But, if I had to hazard a guess as to my batting average, I would not bet on myself as being a .300 hitter. Now, .300 is an achievement in baseball, but not on the baseball diamond of real life accomplishments.
Fortunately, in time, I made an analytic assessment of my rate of success, (or lack thereof), in my New Year’s resolutions. Fortunately, again, I had a basis for analytic comparison: my specific and carefully set and regularly checked career goals. I tended to set those goals annually on a career anniversary and reviewed my progress at least twice a year.
Looking at the picture, I realized that I was trying to follow three paths, each separately planned. First was my professional life and goals. Then, my personal and family life and lastly our leisure time, interests, activities, vacations and avocations. All three are important but they were running on three separate tracks that were not synchronized with each other on the single track and timetable of life.
The first challenge is to find the appropriate balance and priorities of each phase of life for you and your life partner.
The next challenge, bigger I believe, is how to avoid the collisions of these three paths by planning, scheduling and anticipating the inevitable bumps in theroad, and the ability to adjust and correct, with a positive attitude that the unexpected is always to be expected.
Personal, career and other pursuits in your life need to be coordinated with manageable, measurable goals for each while holding yourself accountable. Schedule check points along the way and be ready to make positive adjustments as needed.
One more important element in the formula is to have good friends, role models and mentors who share your love of life’s challenges and opportunities and sustain you through frustrations and complications of the sometimes sharp twists and turns in life.
It may take years to achieve your ultimate goals, but the journey itself can be rewarding as you sense the joy of the ever-upward journey of a good life. In our case, we are most grateful for the great ride it has been.
The best for last: you don’t have to start at the stroke of midnight on December 31st. Set your own fiscal year, and have fun along the way. Happy 2012.