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Goals … Not Resolutions

Ten minutes before midnight … it is time to state our goals for the coming year. Now, I am not one to really believe in New Year’s Resolutions. I used to do that every year and what I have found is that, more times than not, you never stick to your resolutions. By the time February comes around, you are back to your old ways, doing whatever negative behavior it was that you vowed to stop doing in the first place. No, I like to set goals for the coming year. On every New Year’s Eve, my family and I sit around, generally right before the new year rings in and we state which goals we hope to accomplish the next year. I feel that by stating our goals and what we want to do and achieve that year, that it becomes more real … concrete … an oath that can not be broken. Now, I know that I am a dreamer, but hey, I try.

This year, my oldest son, Jay, who is sixteen years-old starts us off ...

“My goal is to learn how to read sheet music better.” An admirable goal, I must say. Jay is such an accomplished musician but he just falls weak in this one area. I am so proud that he recognizes this weakness and wants to fix it. Of course he has been saying this for the last three years but this is the year … I just know it is.

Then it is my twelve-year old, Shon’s turn ...

“I don’t have any goals.” And this is how it goes with him. I guess he takes after me just a bit more than I want him to. He is just a bit of a pessimist. He claims that he can’t think of anything he wants to change and sullenly sits back in the couch. He really thinks all of this nonsense is just a bit senseless. Maybe it is, but still, I prod him a bit ...

“You have nothing that you want to work on or accomplish this year?” I ask.

“Well, I guess I could do better in school,” he conjectures. Bravo!!! Good for him. It would appear that I just banished his best friend to the other side of Neverland, the way he acts, but at least he’s trying ... I think.

My seven-year old, Trey is so cute. When I ask him what his goal is he points to his chubby little belly and then to his mouth. His goal needs no words … it is understood. He wants to accomplish what most of us want to accomplish with the beginning of a new year. His goal is to lose weight and to eat better. I pinch his little cheek and tell him that we can all afford to do that this year. I am not sure if I feel bad because he actually does need to lost weight or because he realizes that there is a need and that he is different from other kids his age. Either way, it is definitely a wake-up call for me.

My husband goes next and says that he really wants to try to carve out the time in our already overloaded schedules to finish school ... he is 6–9 months away from completing his degree, but with family and work ... time has gotten away from him. To be honest, it has gotten away from us all. I give him a loving look and a nod and tell him that I am sure anything that we set our minds to can be accomplished but to be honest, I am just not sure. We are completely overloaded and I am already in school trying to finish my degree. Now, I don’t like to think of myself as selfish but to be quite honest, it is more important for me to finish my degree than it is for him to finish his. As the primary wage-earner in our household, there is no way that I will continue to advance my career without my Bachelor’s degree and eventually, my Master’s degree. I am nine months away and I feel it is best that he waits to go back to school until I am finished. I don’t tell him as much for fear of dashing his hopes and dreams, so again, I look at him lovingly, nod, and say “All in time, Dear … all in time.” I think he gets it.

Now for me, I have a lot of goals. As you can see, I want to finish my degree. It is possible, I just have to stay focused … and sane. I want to get my professional certification. I am a Human Resources Manager and the certification is almost a must-have in my career field. I could stand to loose a few pounds, but we’ve already covered that. But most of all, above all else I have three distinct goals that I feel I absolutely MUST accomplish this year … no if, ands, or buts. They are:

1) Get out of debt—This has been plaguing us for years. Like most Americans we are living beyond our means and are paying for it. Well, maybe not paying for it. I guess if we were paying for it, we would not be in debt.

2) Along with getting out of debt, I want to have some money stashed away in the bank—Now, I am not so unrealistic to think that I will have six months of my salary saved up but I at least want to have a decent account going.  This goal is predicated by goal #1. See, I can’t condone having money sitting in a savings account when I am paying much higher interest on my debt … just doesn’t make sense. That’s another story that I will leave for another day.

3) Last but definitely, by far, not least is I want to write. I want to writee veryday … something, even the smallest thing will do. This is extremely important to me. See, I have wanted to write a book since I was a child. I can remember being around nine or ten years-old and writing mini children’s books on notebook paper. I even responded to one of those ads in the back of most magazines that claim that “you too can be a children’s book author” … you know the ones I am talking about. As I grew older my content grew older and now it is my destiny, at least I feel it is anyway, to write a book. I have the basic idea (that I will keep to myself for now), but it is just finding the motivation to get it on paper. This is my number one goal this year.

So, there it is … our goals for the year. Again, not to be confused with resolutions. Resolutions are changes in negative behavior that most likely result in failure. Goals are achievements … positive behaviors that we wish to accomplish. That is what I wish for … a more positive 2008. With that being said, what are your goals for 2008? Write them down … post them where you can see them everyday … constant reminders of what you want out of life. Look at them … constantly. Don’t ever forget where you want to go. Mine are posted on my bathroom mirror. Every morning I must face the day knowing that I must do something that day to get me closer to my goals … EVERY DAY.

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