The winter holiday/holy season has come and gone and many are now enjoying the post holiday blahs. The credit card bills have just posted, we found out that many of the gifts we received aren’t returnable, especially the navy blue sweatshirt I received; as if I don’t wear enough navy blue!
But just around the corner lays that something special that offers hope and new opportunities for a fresh new start; 2013 and a new year! What is it about the new year that gets everyone so excited? Isn’t it just another day on the calendar?
The answer is…yes, it is just another day, but the real heart of the matter is our attitude and outlook which provides the opportunity and hope we long for. You see, it is one’s attitude that really makes the difference for our outlook on life in general and for the new year and if we’re honest with ourselves, it is also the expectations about the new year that either leads to hope and fulfillment or disillusionment. Often we are our own worst enemies for our emotional health when we set new expectations and goals in the year that are unrealistic. When we don’t meet these goals, we give up hope and fall back into the same old routine and habits in our life which keep us dissatisfied.
One of the things I have learned in counseling is that we must have a conscious awareness of our expectations in life. We must make sure they are realistic, achievable and clearly communicated which brings them to light with ourselves and with those around us.
The second thing I have learned is that we must make SMART goals in our life to have success. SMART is an acrostic which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. So how do I apply SMART goals to my life?
The best way to achieve our personal and professional goals in 2013 is first to dream the big dream. Ask yourself where am I now? Do I like where I am/who I am? What, who or where would I prefer to be? How can I get there? What are the steps to get there? How can I maintain these goals once achieved? Then write it out! Be SMART, specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and have a set time frame. Also be flexible and re-evaluate. Life doesn’t happen in a vacuum, so we must be flexible in our approach by adjusting the plan to achieve the goals we have set after we find out what works and what doesn’t work. This is where the rubber meets the road and we choose either to give up or keep pressing on.
I like what my old commanding officer said at the start of deployment: “Today you choose whether you want to bench 300 or weight 300.” Needless to say, I missed a few days in the gym and I skipped a few meals, and I didn’t weight 300 or bench 300, but I kept trying and got close benching 285. The point is, I adjusted, was realistic and didn’t give up.
Remember, attitude is everything as you enter the New Year, but know God is rooting for you in 2013. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,” Jeremiah 29:11.
Just think, if God has SMART goals for us; shouldn’t we establish the same with his help? That is the key to unlocking the best you in 2013.