A sea of people are competing for precious few resources. People are lined up awaiting their chance. There is a nervous energy about. Hearts are racing; patience is growing thin.
Is this a prophetic scene from the apocalypse? Hardly. It’s the annual ritual that occurs each January at health clubs around the world.
New Year’s Resolutions
We’ve all seen it. Ha! We’ve all probably done it ourselves at some point: the New Year’s resolution. This year I’m going to lose 30 pounds, look for a better job, read the Bible from cover to cover, and while I’m at it cure cancer.
But it doesn’t usually pan out that way. We work out hard for three or four weeks. But the lines at the machines are long so we begin cutting our workouts a little short. “Just this time,” we tell ourselves. Then we miss a day or two. The next thing we know, it’s March and we haven’t worked out in six weeks.
Another resolution down the drain.
Or, we start reading the Bible each morning. We get through Genesis and remember fondly the passages about Adam and Eve, Noah and flood, and Joseph and his coat of many colors. Then we make it into the books of Numbers and Leviticus and begin getting bogged down. We miss a day or two because of an early meeting. The next thing we know, we’re hopelessly behind schedule.
Maybe next year.
Does these sound familiar? It doesn’t have to be this way.
A Dream or a Plan?
Why do most resolutions fail? I’m sure there have been many studies, probably federally funded, to study the exact cause. I’m sure those studies have found that there are a multitude of good reasons. My guess is that one of them is probably “a lack of planning.”
When we start , we are emotionally committed to making a change in our lives. We want to do it. We feel a driving need to do it, even if we’re not really looking forward to it. Yet, that’s where we stop. We ride the wave of emotion during the first part of the change. But that’s as far as we go.
We don’t plan. We don’t set up milestones by which to measure ourselves. We don’t make our goals realistic and attainable. We simply jump headlong into them. When our emotions begin to wane, so does our effort.
There’s an old proverb that seems like it applies to many resolutions.
A vision without a plan is just a dream. A plan without a vision is just drudgery. But a vision with a plan can change the world.
Not This Year
So make this year different. Don’t make a New Year’s Resolution to get more prepared emotionally, physically, financially, etc. This year, make a plan.
Lay out a plan to get out of debt, to acquire new supplies or equipment, to learn new skills. Make the plan attainable, especially in the beginning so you can build momentum and see progress.
Start with the end in mind and then work backwards to figure out how you’ll get there.
For example, let’s say that one of your goals is to learn to tie 12 new knots this year. (A good goal since it costs nothing and can save your life.) That’s one per month. So maybe the first week of each month, you’ll learn a new knot. Go ahead at the beginning of the year while your emotions are high and do the research to figure out which twelve knots you’re going to learn. Map them out and the first week of each month begin learning the knot of the month.
The same approach can be used for making fires, learning wild edibles, etc. Maybe the first week of each month is knots, the second week is learning to start fires in different ways, the third week is devoted to wild edibles.
But don’t stop there, look for a mix of goals and work in financial ones as well. Make a budget and pay down some debt. Buy some extra cans of food with each trip to the grocery. But don’t do these haphazardly. Make a plan and stick to it.
Check yourself periodically and build in some milestones and rewards. Share your goals with other likeminded people and spur one another on.
With a plan, you’ll be well on your way to making 2013 a year where you make significant progress toward your goals.
So, what are you’re goals for the year?