I’ve always enjoyed the Peanuts comics strip. Charlie Brown is one of my favorite characters, because even when plagued by one failure after another, he keeps on trying. . . picking himself up. . . working the program.
I truly hope that 2008 is proving to be a banner year for you. Today marks the last day of the first quarter of the year, which seems a perfect time to evaluate progress on those goals (or resolutions) you may have set.
One of my goals was to get to bed a little earlier. I’m doing a bit better with that, although as I write this post at 1:15 in the morning, I imagine this goal could still use some work!
I’ve come to realize that progress doesn’t happen by itself. When we’re serious about reaching goals, we have to recognize that time, energy, sacrifice, and commitment are all required in order to achieve success.
Maybe like many people, your top goal was losing weight and getting in better physical shape. If so, how are you doing? There’s time involved in menu planning, energy involved in smart shopping, and sacrifice involved in saying no to some of your not-so-healthy food choices — as well as spending time exercising.
Maybe you decided to make this the year to get in shape financially. In order to achieve this goal, there must be a willingness to examine how your finances got out-of-whack in the first place — and a commitment to making choices that will get you to the place you want to be.
Maybe you had a goal to make new friends. For many people, this one can be as hard or harder than the ones I just mentioned. Making friends can be very difficult, especially if you find yourself in a new place. Taking that first step can be scary, but it is absolutely essential in order for progress to be attained.
Maybe none of these examples have touched on your specific goals. If not, then that’s okay. The principles mentioned can be easily applied to most any goal. Make sure that your goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Time-sensitive.
Be willing to set goals that are appropriate for you in your stage of life. Make sure there is some way to gauge progress. Be diligent to break your goals into baby steps or sub-goals. And always set a date to evaluate your progress and renegotiate the goals based on that progress.
The good thing is that even if you’re not making the progress you’d like, you can choose to start fresh today. You don’t have to wait around for next week, next month, or next year. You can start again right now — with a new attitude, a new commitment, and a new sense of hope.
Good things can happen when we make good choices — one step at a time. Never underestimate the power of choice.
Also, if you want a sure-fire way to increase the odds of progress toward your goals, find a buddy to help hold you accountable. It’s amazing how much difference this one choice can make. So, if you’re really serious about achieving those goals, this is one step that I can recommend without reservation.
There’s an old Indian proverb that says, “You might hit a stump if you’re shooting for a star, but you’ll never hit a star if you’re shooting for a stump.” Know your target, and give it your best shot.
And never ever ever give up!