Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ringing in the New Year

The last week, that stretch of days between Christmas and New Year's, was filled to overflowing. I spent most of it immersed in friends, family, laughter that echoed late into the night, movies through which nobody could manage to stay awake, skiing until the point of total exhaustion, too much food, and everything else good that happens when burned-out, restless, energetic 18-to-23-year-olds spend time together in the lonely beautiful Michigan forests.

And today is New Year's Day, the day for planning and resolutions and good intentions. I love planning. I think I'm addicted to it. I don't have all of my plans for the New Year entirely mapped out, but I have made some headway. Details are forthcoming but my goals for 2011 include:

  • Cooking goals
  • Reading goals
  • Financial goals
Goal-setting is not necessarily the path to a perfect world, though. Intense frustration used to set in when I didn't accomplish specific goals in the expected time-frame. I began trying to accomplish goals for the sake of a sense of completion, regardless of the current relevance of the goal. Letting go of goals became a painful grieving process as my type-A personality fought frantically against the concept of choosing not to finish a project or task.

I'm slowly learning to use goals to achieve greater productivity while always being aware that there is also a danger in letting my goals control me. We set goals in order to be better stewards of our resources, our time, our money, and our talents. Goal-setting makes us accountable for our energies. But goals are a means to an end, not an end in themselves.

Schedules exist to keep me on track, to motivate, and to inspire. Lists remind me of my priorities. When those schedules and lists themselves became roadblocks, frustrating obstacles in a world of ever-changing circumstances, the goals need to be modified. The overarching vision is greater productivity, more accomplishments, and less wasted time, not simply a checklist finished for completion's sake.

So I suppose one of my New Year's resolutions is to more effectively use goals, checklists, schedules, and lists.

What are your goals for the New Year?

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