I suspect one of the reasons why so many New Year’s resolutions go by the wayside is because they are simply unrealistic. It isn’t reasonable to think that you’ll go from being a couch potato to vigorously exercising five days a week overnight. It isn’t likely that you’ll suddenly change your body clock to switch from being a night owl with too little sleep to being in bed at 10pm for eight hours of rest. Chances are good that if you struggled with work-life balance last year that you will struggle with it this year.
So to keep from putting unreasonable and unhealthy pressure on yourself, set realistic goals. And don’t set too many of them. Pick a few things that you know you need to do differently (or that you want to start or stop doing). Consider what you would accept as solid, measurable improvement in those matters. Write them down and commit to them. Keep them visible and – if you are willing – share them with others to help with accountability and encouragement.
It may seem too simplistic and unambitious for some, but I place a lot of value in evaluating my life on a year by year basis. Individual weeks and months will see ups and downs relative to my goals, but if I can look at my life today and answer affirmatively that I am in a better place now than I was a year ago in some specific area, then I’m OK with that. It’s movement in the right direction at a pace that seems doable for me.
For 2012 I have so far written down seven goals that fall into categories of physical activity, spiritual discipline, personal relationships and my professional life. Just to try it out, I am tracking my goals using an acquaintance’s recently released online site that is free for all to use – http://goalsmith.me. You’re welcome to try it out in all its simplicity and either keep your goals private or share them with others. Of course, keeping a simple list on your desk or dresser or smartphone can do the trick as well.
Keep it simple. Set realistic goals.