Archive for January, 2009

New Year’s Resolutions

Monday, January 5th, 2009
Melissa Stagnaro

I joined AIM Fitness on Saturday, but it wasn’t part of any New Year’s Resolution. From thirty-three years of personal experience, I know that resolutions just don’t work for me.

Sure, I’m good for the first couple of weeks, flossing daily and watching what I eat. But by the middle of February, the plaque has started to build up again and I’m sneaking Mallow Cups after lunch.

My approach is a little bit different. It’s one I picked up a couple of years ago at a marketing seminar I attended. Rather than setting a handful of lofty, unattainable targets once a year, the speaker suggested sitting down every six months to draw up a list of 101 goals. Each goal had to be realistic, achievable and measurable. And you had to re-read them often, and tell other people about them. She spoke about all of the wonderful things she was able to accomplish because of this process.

I’m a bit of a skeptic by nature, so I pretty much scoffed at it. But I always get caught up in that buzz of new ideas after a conference and feel like anything is possible. So I gave it a shot when I got home.

I am notoriously bad at planning ahead and I thought for sure that there would be no way on earth I could come up with 101 goals, let alone follow through on any or all of them. I remember getting stuck around 70 the first time I sat down to do it, but the next thing I knew I was at 110 and had to go back to cut a few.

I had a lot of little things on there, like scheduling a teeth cleaning before a certain date, attending a writing workshop and trying out a new hiking trail. I threw in a couple outrageous ones just to round it all off. Traveling to China was one of those.

It’s funny how it worked out. I actually made it to China (thanks to work) before I had that cleaning. It took me a year to do the writing workshop, but I also did 2 writing retreats as well. I hiked so many new trails I lost count.

I’m not claiming that my goal setting was mystical or anything, but it’s amazing how much you can accomplish when you actually work both consciously and subconsciously for something. Each time you read the list, that is reinforced.

I never actually fulfill all 101 of my goals, and even with the ones that I do accomplish, I don’t always meet my self-imposed deadline. But I’m always thrilled when I get to cross things off. And I also get to feel like I’m working toward something.

Last year was a bit crazy for me, with moving back here and all. (Goal #23 Visit my parents in Upstate New York. Took that one to the extreme. But I did get to cross it off.) I missed my semi-annual review. And this holiday season has been hectic as well, but I plan on sitting down this week to draw up list.

It’s funny. I always have a few items in mind when I sit down, but there are always a few goals that end up on the list that surprise even me. Who knows what 2009 will have in store.