We hope you had a wonderful Christmas and holiday season as we dive into 2009! We hope those bright sparkling eyes and sharp minds of your children are ready to go back to school to begin a new year of learning and feeling the joy that childhood holds! As we mentioned last month, we know that the economy is affecting everyone. What an interesting year this will be as we realize that all the "stuff" that we thought was so important is not nearly as important as our love for our families and friends.
In 2009, there will probably be a continuation (for who knows how long) of the hard economic times that punctuated 2008 as well as those hard times that come every January with trying to figure out how to get rid of those extra pounds due to an overindulgence of holiday treats.
But maybe our biggest challenge this January is getting those New Year's Resolutions down on paper where you can measure them and really do something about bringing them to pass. This week a friend said that she just couldn't get herself to write down her list of New Year's Resolutions and she had just discovered why: she hadn't spent enough time counting her blessings for the year just gone by.
This struck me as very important especially in a year when the disappointments may be so "in your face" that we haven't taken the time to realized that there have been more blessings than hardships. Reflecting on the great boons and the bounties, the gifts and good fortune that have come your way this year will help you know what your goals for the coming year will be more surely than anything else you can do. If you have a hard time coming up with much, think about this, "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass; it's about learning to dance in the rain." (anonymous).
After you have contemplated your blessings, write some goals and resolutions for the coming year that make you stretch but aren't impossible (although sometimes the impossible is possible). Keep it simple. Write just one goal for each of the five facets of your life...physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual that will help you to keep going forward. Let it feel like a challenge to yourself instead of a burden. Post it somewhere where you can see it. Make your goals measurable. Have a deadline and if you really want to accomplish them, have someone check on you to see if it gets done.
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There was a survey in a magazine many years ago that was fascinating. The numbers, I think are still pretty accurate. Here are the percentages of success that they projected for the various steps in setting and accomplishing a goal:
Determining that you want to accomplish a goal.....10%
Writing the goal down in a place where you can be reminded.....45%
Setting a deadline to accomplish a goal.....65%
Asking someone to check on you to see if you accomplished your goal....90%
Again, keeping your goals for yourself simple is the key, especially for parents who already have a long list of goals for the success of their children. Count your blessings, make that list and you'll find that 2009, no matter what it brings, will be more meaningful than you may have anticipated.
Please be assured that I am preaching to myself as I write these suggestions to you. May we all have a wonderful 2009, full of lessons learned and even if just in baby steps...progress!