Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Goals or New Year's Resolutions?

Good news, everyone!  After a season of having no laptop available, I just purchased a new one, so I can start blogging again.  The subject of this blog is one I wanted to write about in early January, but obviously couldn't because I didn't have a laptop.

Perhaps it is better timing now, anyway.  I'm willing to bet that a lot of people have just recently discarded their most recent list of New Year's Resolutions that didn't look like they were happening. 

I liken New Year's Resolutions to that AARP advertisement where a bunch of people about my age are saying things like, "When I grow up, I'm going to start a band", or "I'd like to fall in love again."  Right.  Wishes and dreams are fun, but generally they don't accomplish much until they are turned into concrete goals.

I'll give just one example from my own life.  For years, every New Year's Eve, I would say, "This year I want to lose about ten pounds, develop a serious exercise program, and watch what I eat."   Typically this resolution would last about two weeks, and then I would forget about it (while beating myself up occasionally over the course of the year).

About four years ago, however, something changed.  First of all my motivation level went up, which is the first key.  You have to have a strong "why" in place to make goals work effectively.  As I got older, I started to realize that everything else I want to accomplish in life is now tied to my ability to maintain my health, from meeting my future grandchildren to developing my conference center in the Georgia Mountains.

Once the motivation was there, the second step was to form a concrete plan.  I knew that I wasn't about to follow through on some kind of gym membership, but I love to go hiking in the woods.  I therefore decided that I would make it a high priority to go hiking every single day for an hour, unless it was ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE.  Note that weather was not going to be a factor.  For the most part, I have followed through on this decision, and am now in much better shape than I was ten years ago.

More recently, I decided to move it up a notch.  After reading Bill Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods", about the Appalachian Trail, I have made a decision to walk at least one small part of the Applalachian Trail within the next two years.  That means I need a definite plan...not just a spoken wish, or even a spoken intent.  So here's the plan...This winter, I am simply going to follow through on my current hiking routine, which sometimes suffers as the weather gets colder.  In the spring, I'm going to start hiking with a small backpack, and expand my territory to hike in a few of the more mountainous state parks here in Georgia.  By next fall I will purchase a backpack that can carry up to 25 pounds in it, and begin gradually increasing the weight I can carry and the distance I can travel in a day.  If all goes well, by summer of 2013, I should be ready to face a few days on the trail.

Anyone want to go along?  You'll need to train with me!

.If you have a dream or a wish, try to turn it into a goal!

To reiterate: 

1.  Get a strong motivation in place.
2.   Make a decision.
3.   Turn the decision into a commitment through making a specific plan.
4.   See if you can find someone to share the goal with you, or at least hold you accountable.
5.   Execute your plan and amaze yourself at what you can really accomplish.

Remember that children and teens are also full of aspirations, dreams, and wishes....but they need to be taught how to turn them into realizable goals and follow through until their dreams become reality.

Glad to be back!!!  Thanks to the folks at the California workshop that supported us sufficiently to allow ARCHERS to be able to provide the funds for this new computer!