Friday, January 1, 2016

Ready For 2016




I have never liked the idea of New Year's resolutions. I think the biggest problem I have with them is that (for the most part) they seem to be scrapped before Valentine's Day rolls around. I decided to make a compromise this year and give into the whole New Year's resolution idea, but in my own way. I am going to make just one resolution and that is to do a better job of tracking, developing and accomplishing my personal and professional goals.

I have always set goals, but I have not always looked at them in a way that truly encouraged me to accomplish them. Recent developmental training I've been going through at work has re-opened my eyes to the setting and reaching of my goals. It's nothing new really, but rather something I have not done a great job of doing properly as of late.

Anyone can set goals and throw a list of reasons to attain those goals. The problem I have had is that my reasons haven't always been fully defined down to the personal level. A common example would be setting a goal to complete additional continuing education courses to allow me to do my job more effectively and efficiently. Doing that typically brings more money. More money can help me pay the bills, reduce our debt, pay for that vacation we've been wanting to go on or pay for the improvements we want to make on the house. The problem I have had in the past was looking at the additional income itself as the benefit of accomplishing my goal. That's not really a good motivator.

The real benefit is having less stress about paying bills and paying off debt which makes us all happier and more of a joy to actually spend time with. Actually affording that vacation would mean more quality time as a family doing something fun. Or, in a perfect world, allowing my wife and I to have a Honeymoon Part II for our ten year anniversary. (Neither of us can remember the last time we had time away together for more than a couple hours....and even those are few and far between.)

Now, money isn't my only goal. It's just the one that's probably most universally understood by others. I have personal goals on developing my relationships with my wife, daughters, family, friends and co-workers. That is actually my core goal for the year...one that I intend to continue indefinitely.

Think about that for a minute. If all you had to do was be a better spouse, friend and employee/co-worker, how do you think that would affect your life in general? Would you be happier? Would you have more fun? Would you enjoy life a little bit more?

How about at work? If you were a better employee and co-worker, you would naturally want to improve yourself professionally. You would add more value to the team. You would help and encourage your co-workers to do the same. Just by focusing on being better yourself, you will do your job better, your team will do better and then what? Will you be more productive and therefore make more money?

Well, I obviously can't guarantee you'll make more money. If I could, I would write a book about this, hit the self-help seminar circuit and watch the money roll in. I can tell you that you'll find yourself much happier at home and at work....and the odds are in your favor to make more money, but that's just gravy at this point.

As you think about your goals this year (you can call them resolutions if you want), think deeper about why you have those goals. To use my example above, if more money is your goal, you will only have so much drive to attain it. Focus on why you want that money (more family time, less stress, etc) and you will be more likely to accomplish your goal. I know for me anyway, the smiling faces of my wife and daughters is more encouragement than watching the balance in my checkbook.

Have fun this year. Set some goals and follow through with them. Make them fun. Challenge others to do the same...it's always easier as a team. Until next time....