I found a quiet place where I could reflect clearly on last year. And here are three of the steps that I took:
1. I set realistic goals. After 15 years of putting resolutions on paper, I have learned that setting unrealistic goals–even though they are fun to see in writing–actually does more harm than good. (And though everyone talks about making goals realistic, note that this is–in my opinion–the most challenging part of the whole process.) I used patterns from my past to determine what was possible for my future.
2. I made my goals as specific as a recipe card. No “pinch of this” or “some of that.” No. I did not use the words “more” or “less” on my list. I wrote out specific numbers and dates and times. I will be less likely to miss something that has an active spot in my calendar. And I will be more aware when I am failing at what I believe is important.
3. I chose goals that I knew I needed to set. I did not write down anything for the sake of someone else’s expectations of me. Anything that makes it on the list that you do not truly believe, will not make it into your accomplishments for 2011.
Today at lunch I cracked open a fortune cookie (courtesy of a co-worker) and here were the words inside: Past experience: He who never makes mistakes never did anything that’s worthy.