I don’t believe in making New Year’s Resolutions. Or at least, I don’t believe in making the type of New Year’s Resolutions that you might typically think of. A grandiose resolution to achieve an overly ambitious goal in an unrealistic time-frame. Whether it’s resolving to start working out five days a week when you don’t work out at all, or losing 100 lbs. and keeping it off, or finally reading War & Peace. Those are all laudable goals, but setting your sights too high tends to end in failure. As in all things, moderation is key. I think it’s important to have a high-level goal, along with smaller milestones, and achievable tasks.
Let’s take running a marathon as an example. The high-level goal is to run a marathon. But if you just leave your house and try to run without any kind of plan or milestones, you’re probably going to stick with that plan for about a week. You have to set milestones, like being able to run a 5k in one month, a 10k in three months, a half-marathon in six months, etc. Then break those milestones into smaller goals, like run three times a week for the first month. Each of the activities, each run per se, is a task that has a purpose. In week 1 you might set a goal of running for 30 minutes each day, regardless of distance or speed. Breaking a monumental goal, like running a marathon, into something simple – running for 30 minutes – makes the entire process feel realistic. And each time you achieve your tiny goal, you get a sense of accomplishment. And if you track those accomplishments over the course of the high-level goal, you’ll be able to see real progress. Seeing that progress is a true motivator! How do I know? In 2012 I ran my first marathon, and this is exactly how I did it.
All of this is a VERY long-winded way of saying that I don’t believe in typical New Year’s Resolutions. I believe in setting goals, no matter what time of year it is, and creating a realistic plan to achieve those goals. That being said, the end of the year is an especially good time to reflect on what you accomplished in the previous year, and what goals you have in-flight for the next year. Having a well-defined moment in time to pursue internal reflection is necessary to staying on track or updating your plans to accommodate changes to your situation, and I don’t see any reason not to use the changing of the calendar year as such. The following items are goals that I have for 2019. Most of these goals are based on something that is already in-flight – remember, I don’t wait until January 1 to start a new project. I am going to try to provide some actionable tasks for each goal as well as metrics for success. Away we go!