I love having a little downtime at the end of the year. It gives me the opportunity to withdraw from the daily grind and take inventory of my longer-term priorities, which usually emerge as resolutions for the new year.
But you know what often becomes of new year’s resolutions: They don’t have a very long life expectancy – usually lasting until the end of January before being tossed onto the Try Again Next Year pile.
Let’s change that. I read some tips on effective goal-setting and here’s what I came up with:
- Make your goals specific and measurable. Establish interim goals and marry them to a timeline. For example, one of my clients has the goal of traveling more in 2012. He’s decided that this means he’ll take a mini-vacation one weekend each month and a longer trip one week each quarter. So by year-end, he’ll have seen at least 12 new places. He’s already booked his first weekend trip.
- Plan enjoyable resolutions. Not every resolution has to feel like a chore. In fact, enjoyable resolutions may help you to achieve the more challenging ones. For example, completing a triathlon helped me get to the gym more in 2011. Seeing more movies may help unleash the creative energy you need to write your first book.
- Surround yourself with those who share your goals. Take a look at your network and identify your muses: Who sets a shining example of what your want to accomplish? Study what they do, emulate them, enlist their help. Last year I decided to copy a colleague’s friendly email style and it notably improved my ability to connect with people.
- Be honest about your readiness and interest in achieving your goals. Why is it time? How will you feel once you accomplish your goal? “I should” is way less motivating and destined for failure than “I can.”
- Create a To Ignore List. Hey, not all resolutions have to take the form of To Do. Here are a few things I can’t wait to blow off in 2012.
I’m publishing them here so I’ll be accountable to all of you. Hopefully they inspire you to set some whacked-out, wild challenges for yourself too. When you figure them out, email them to me. I dig this sort of stuff, and it will help me come up with relevant blog topics.
#1 Be on time.
If you’ve spent any time with me, you know that I have only a casual relationship with the clock. I prefer to go by approximate times, e.g. around 7:30, 5ish, dusk. That would be cool for Deserted Island Jen but it’s not so endearing for Wife/Mom/Recruiter Jen. People depend on me to be punctual and when I’m 5 or 15 minutes late it’s not very considerate of their time. Besides, I spied one sad-looking kid waiting outside school after everyone left and decided I don’t want to be that mom.
Are you a chronic late person too? There’s hope for us: 5 Ways to Stop Being Late.
Tip #3 – Assume everything will take a little longer than your first estimate – particularly resonates with me because I’m constantly trying to pack 10 lbs into a 5 lb bag.
I’m most bummed about this resolution because when I actually do get somewhere early – after leaving impossibly late – I feel as though I’ve cheated time. But, as thrilling as it is to chase down a train, I’m going to try to leave sprinting to actual races. Which brings me to…
#2 Run a marathon in Boston-qualifying time.
That’s 3:40 for me. I ran my last marathon 8 years ago in just under 5 hours. So I’ve got to slash 1 ½ hours off my time. Am I nuts?! Possibly. I’ll get a better read on this after I complete my next half marathon, which will help me forecast what’s realistic. I registered for the Sarasota Half on March 12. I need to run this in about 1:45 according to the awesome race times calculator at Runner’s World.
#3 Once weekly Show & Tell.
At least once a day I feel overwhelmed by how much there is to read and learn, yet some days slip away without me consuming anything more than Facebook or People Magazine. Pathetic and irresponsible, I know. Like skipping breakfast and going straight for dessert. So I decided that once weekly I need to find an interesting something and share it with my husband. I recruited him to keep me on track AND teach me one new thing too. Our Show & Tell corresponds with pizza day at school. My share this week is: Cows with names make more milk.
#4 Increase my blog visibility.
I have the electronic equivalent of a tip jar where I’ve been collecting expert advice on how to make my blog look better and attract more readers. This is the year to implement all those great ideas. I may need your help.
Rabbit, rabbit. May 2012 be your best year yet!