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I used to be big into New Year’s resolutions and charted major goals for the coming 12 months. I was occasionally successful but inevitably the big plans I set: losing weight, exercising more and working less, never lasted beyond early February.
A couple of years ago I did succeed in a goal of writing hand-written letters, as opposed to text messages, Facebook posts or emails to people I no longer see often but try to stay in contact with.
I still try to write those notes during the year and actually spent a good bit of time doing that on the Christmas cards I sent last month.
It was a good experience and one I’m going to try and continue.
Perhaps New Year’s resolutions should be more about setting fun, easier-to-achieve goals than overly ambitious, too-easy-to-fail-at ones.
There’s nothing magical about New Year’s Eve. Set good goals today and try hard to achieve them. If they’re worthwhile, you’ll see the benefits pretty soon and will want to keep at it. If the goals are too hard or impractical, don’t be afraid to modify them or toss them altogether.
If you fail at one resolution, don’t feel like you have to toss out the others. I often did and that led to disappointment and disillusionment.
That said, I do have a few goals for the new year and losing weight is one of them. So is exercising more.
I’d like to say working less is on my list for 2014 but a few friends and I have a business venture or two that will require plenty of my time and a decent amount of grunt labor. I hope the needed physical activity will help me shed a few pounds. So, my goal is to work smarter and at a better variety of tasks.
Other goals include keeping in touch with friends and family. Email is never a substitute for dinner or a beer or two, even if those folks are a few hours’ drive away. A Facebook poke or Tweet is never a good substitute for a phone call, letter or an in-person handshake or hug.
Also on my list of goals is mending fences with a few people I’ve had disagreements with in years past. While I try to hide it, good friends know I have a temper and a very bad habit of holding grudges. I know that’s not a good thing and it’s damaged once-great relationships.
Being less judgmental and self-righteous are other goals for 2014 and beyond.
Each of us has our own ideas for what we want to do in the coming year, whether it’s slimming down, quitting smoking, finding the love of our life and settling down or finding a dream job, taking that dream vacation or simply being good to others.
The best goals are often the simplest, no matter the month we make them.