At the end of Beast, New Cadet Training, we assembled for a lecture. Jubilant at having survived this formidable introduction to West Point, we were soon put in our places. Colonel Kirby projected a bar graph showing our progress as cadets within the total USMA experience. After the hardest 7 weeks of my life, the segment we had completed was a sliver of time. A month and a half out of the 47 months until graduation represented minuscule progress and barely registered on the chart. How disheartening… The point of the lecture is lost, but the memory of that demoralizing episode has lasted through the years.
If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.
- Take baby steps. Start small. While it’s great to have lofty goals, it’s important to set intermediate steps to mark the way. When volunteering in my son’s 3rd grade classroom one year, I recall a little girl stating her goal was to lose weight. This was a bad idea for several reasons: she looked to be normal size and she was an 8 year old. Also, a goal of “losing weight” is too vague. How do you know when you’ve achieved it?
- Be specific. Make your goals attainable and reasonable.
- Focus on just one thing at a time.
- Write it down.
- Make it public. Share your resolutions with others.
- Assemble a community for support. Pair up with an accountability partner or crew
- Put a system in place to support your progress. Establish practices or triggers that act as reminders.
You might use your goal or resolution as a theme for the new year. Figure out a word, phrase or object that will remind you of your emphasis. And share it with others and with us (comment below or on Facebook). What annual challenge are you going to pursue with extreme focus? What is one action you can take immediately to bring your goal to life? Let us begin.
© Joan S Grey, 8 Jan 2016