Wednesday, January 02, 2008
How to Set Goals and Make Resolutions, Part I:
It's a new year, and many of us are drawing up resolutions for things we'd like either to accomplish or to change during 2008. January is a great time to make a fresh start, and I think that's why we always look forward to the first month of the year.
However, for those of us who are keepers at home, goal-setting is a daily part of our lives. Managing a home -- indeed managing anything -- requires us to assess where things are at any given moment and to decide where we want to go from here. Even when jotting down a daily to-do list, we are making resolutions for that day.
For some of us, making and keeping goals is easy. Others of us have trouble. We either struggle with bringing our goals into clear focus, or we lack the follow through to accomplish them once we've set them.
I suppose that my biggest bugaboo when setting goals is to make too many at one time. It's better to concentrate on a few things until you've accomplished them, and then to move on to the next thing.
A good place to begin is to define goal-setting terms. Many times, if we are not effective in reaching goals, it's because we don't know how to state them clearly in our minds. Here's where it helps to go over some basic concepts. We'll tackle three in this article and two in the next:
1) The first building blocks of resolution and goal setting are conviction and principle. Dictionary.com defines conviction as a fixed or firm belief. Regarding principle, it offers these definitions: an accepted or professed rule of action or conduct: a fundamental, primary, or general law or truth from which others are derived; a fundamental doctrine; a personal or specific basis of conduct or management ; guiding sense of the requirements and obligations of right conduct.
What are your convictions and principles? Spend some time thinking and praying about this from time to time. Your life will be more effective and satisfying if your resolutions and goals flow from and are in harmony with your convictions.
Having crystal clear convictions also helps us set priorities for our goals and resolutions. Sometimes, we have to make a choice between greater goals and lesser ones, and it's important to know which is which.
Clear convictions also help us make wise decisions on the spot. Planning is an essential tool in life, but much of life happens outside of our plans. In such moments, we need to have firm convictions and firm principles to guide us. An example of this is the time that Martha became fretful in her worthy efforts to serve Jesus, while Mary sat peacefully at Jesus' feet. Mary understood that time listening to the Savior was more important at that moment than the meal, and she made the better choice.
2) Next in our list of definitions is resolution. Dictionary.com helps us out here again: A resolution is a resolve or a determination, to make a firm resolution to do something; the act of resolving or determining upon an action or a course of action, method, procedure, etc.
Resolution can be closely intertwined with conviction and principle. Our convictions and principles motivate us to determine certain courses of action.
The more specific a resolution is, the more likely we are to achieve it. For example, I may resolve to organize my household this year. That's a good resolution, but it needs some fine tuning: Exactly what is it that I need to organize? My time? My closets? My craft area? What course of action, method, or procedure will I follow in order to achieve my resolution?
Tune in to part II!