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By: Jamie Collins
“Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.”
– Denis Waitley
As we approach a new year, we take time to reflect upon what the past 365 days have brought into our lives, meant to us, and how they changed us. We seize the dawn of a new year as the ideal time to pull ourselves together, brimming with optimism, as we plan our next 365 days with the best of intentions, creating a list of lofty, heartfelt goals for which to strive. We dream dreams, set goals, and envision big plans for ourselves “this” year. It will be different than last year. We will get the list done “this” year. Or will we?
We find ourselves moving along through January and February quite focused. We intentionally cling to our ambitions, and somehow keep them clinging to us. We manage to keep our recently declared goals in sight, and then it happens…to all of us…we find ourselves fully immersed in a work/life slumber. We wonder how in the hell that list of goals even seemed achievable in the first place? Were we dreaming?
The work life slumber – you know the one. You’ve encountered it often. Sometimes, you saw it approaching, other times; it took you by complete surprise. You have the best of intentions as you embark upon the coming year, holding that mental list of resolutions intently in your sights. You have dreams, goals, aspirations, and a well-intentioned list of what you’d like to accomplish “this” year, but what always seems to get in the way of that list? It can be summed up in one word:
Life gets in the way.
If all we had to focus on was that list of New Year’s resolutions, it would be a walk in the paralegal park. Yet, there is so much more going on in our daily lives at any given moment. We have families, jobs, personal obligations, illnesses, little league practice, grocery shopping, laundry, household chores, appointments, deadlines, reminders, home remodeling projects, to-do lists, dishes to wash, children to raise, self-improvement projects to begin, bosses to appease, school to finish, books to read, television programs to watch, training to complete, people to manage, manual filing at the office (insert universal, paralegal sigh here), articles to read, hobbies, vacations, electronic gadgets to melt our brains, meals, computers, sleep and somewhere; sometime; somehow, we are supposed to find a way to…squeeze…in…our goals.
Some days it seems laughable. Who in the world do we think we are? And how did we possibly think we could do all of this stuff?
In order to accomplish what we must accomplish in the coming year, we must find a better way to teeter between the list of what we must do, and what we intend to do. Will it be laundry or aerobics? Little League or writing an article? Manual filing or your actual job duties? Working over the weekend or cleaning you house? Reading a book or finishing up that last minute project? Painting the living room or looking for a new job? Maybe both, but there will be some key choices made along the way. There must be.
There will be moments when you want to give up on your goals. When you will feel incredible distance standing between you, the thing you said you’d do, and what you’re willing to do in order to make it happen. The fleeting moments may even pass you by so quickly that you fail to take notice of their arrival; the moments when you fail to do what you must do to embrace your vision and make it possible. Don’t let it pass you by…the goal…or the time.
You must refocus, realign, and strategically recommit yourself to what it is you want; the thing you said you’d do; swore you’d do; would be deeply disappointed if you failed to accomplish. It’s in that moment that you must say:
“I know I sure have a heck of a lot going on in my life, but this time, I will hit the mark. I will set my sights high. I will achieve my goals. The mundane tasks, along with the miniscule life-events thrown my way, and subtle moments of complacency will only serve as small reminders and warnings not to go off course. I love my life. I love everything it brings me, and everything I become because of it, but I will conquer these goals in spite of it. I will hit the mark this year. I will achieve my goals. I will make key decisions to keep myself focused at critical times. I will seize my ambitions one by one, and keep myself on the path of achievement, even in spite of my busy, crazy, wonderful life, as I embark down the path toward my goals. I will absolutely see these goals done. I will give 100% of myself to making them a reality, and nothing less.”
May we feel compelled to re-read that last paragraph a thousand times if we have to, in order to arrive at the intended destination. May we see the warning light of life when it flickers to remind us that we must remain focused, deliberate, and unwavering in our commitment to what we said we’d do in the New Year – this year – 2013 – OUR BEST YEAR YET!
We will not lose sight of our goals. We will not grow weary in the journey. We will not lose faith in ourselves. We will not detour from our intended goals, and path.
I know it won’t be easy, but we will do it.
We will do it this year.
Make a list of 3 important things you feel strongly about accomplishing this year. Not three random items. Not a list of three things you can live without accomplishing if you fall short. These must be serious goals you absolutely intend to achieve.
I want to be an astronaut/fashion designer/rock star – don’t you? Am I willing to give 100% of myself to it? Not so much. It won’t be making the list. Do not focus on what “would be nice,” or create a list longer than Santa’s enumerating the thirty-thousand, self-improvement projects that would readily tranform you into the next Gisele Bundchen or Martha Stewart. Rather, focus on what you feel you absolutely must do this year. Each thing on that list must be a thing you are willing to commit yourself to 100% – and nothing less. You will give it everything you have. What are you willing to give 100% to? Carefully select 3 goals (or less) that you will conquer. Get serious about your commitments. Take a moment to really ponder your goals.
Choose three things you MUST do this year.
Three things you WILL do this year.
Three things you were MEANT TO DO this year.
Then you will tackle them like any good paralegal would, with everything you’ve got. Find at least one person to support you on this journey. He or she will act as your sounding board, rally speech writer, and that much needed high heel pushing into the back of your spine to keep you going. Listen to songs that inspire you. Read books that take your optimism to new heights. Surround yourself with people who are doing really big things. Follow thought leaders who make you want to be a better person. You will need these things on your journey.
I guarantee you the moments will come; the ones when you will feel too exhausted or busy or far away from achievement to care about your goals. Life will step in to otherwise divert you from great achievements. It is in that moment you must remember to see the warning light of life when it flickers. Allow it to remind you that you must remain focused, and cling to your ambitions.
Do not lose sight of your goals. Do not grow weary in the journey. Do not lose faith in yourself. You will make your way one step closer to the goal, day-by-day, moment-by- moment, one intentional thought and action at a time. When the moments of doubt arrive, tell yourself:
I will get there.
I know it won’t be easy, but I will do it.
I will do it “this” year.
I MUST do these things this year.
I WILL do these things this year.
I was MEANT TO DO these things.
This is the year.
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”
– Tony Robbins
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”
– Pablo Picasso
“Listen to the musntn’ts, child, listen to the don’ts – listen to the shouldn’ts the impossibles, the wont’s – listen to the never haves. Then listen closely to me. Anything can happen, child. ANYTHING can be.
– Shel Silverstein
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
– Mary Oliver
“Set your goals high, and don’t stop till you get there.”
– Bo Jackson