New Beginnings

I took advantage of a rare 40-degree December day to clean up the garden. On my hands and knees in the soil, I ripped out dried brown stalks of sedum. As I cleared the old stalks away, I could clearly see the tender green sprouts just waiting for spring’s rains and warmth. New beginnings.

I enjoy the anticipation of 2020, a new beginning. In my circle of friends and family, and I’m sure in yours, too, there are many “news.” My daughter has a new puppy, her best friend has a new baby, my nephew has a new career, and my sister has a new creative passion.

On New Year’s Day, many of us will make new resolutions. Many of us will also break our resolutions, but the sure way to fail at a goal is not to set one. A popular Chinese proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second-best time is now.”

I would like to set a lofty goal, but since I’ve failed at achieving ambitious goals in the past, I’m setting smaller ones that I know I can achieve. Will you make a resolution this year? What can we do to help guarantee success?

Goal setting experts would recommend that our resolution follows the S.M.A.R.T guidelines. S.M.A.R.T goals should be Specific. I take in a deep breath and then state one of my goals aloud. “I will finally clean out the basement junk room.”

The junk room used to be called “the weight room” since it has a weight machine with a stepper and a bench for leg lifts and arm pulls. In order to get to the machine, my husband or I would have to climb over an obstacle course of a 20-pound bag of dog food, storage totes, and Christmas gifts still waiting for delivery.

Make goals Measurable as in, “I will begin by moving the boxes that are cluttered around the weight lifting machine. I'll continue removing items sorting them into “keep” or “donate" piles. I will choose a time when my husband is available so I can convince him it’s time to get rid of the bowling ball that’s been on the shelf unused for 20 years.

Check that it's Attainable with adequate time and resources. Even though I've been making excuses for months on why I can’t find the time to do this, organizing the room is possible. In order to improve my chances for success, I’ll buy some attractive storage bins and reward my husband and me with a dinner out once it's completed.

Make it Relevant. If I achieve it, the room will not only look better, but with the clutter gone, the weight machine will actually be useable again.

Goals need to be Timely so set a deadline. If it's a large goal, mark the calendar with several due dates for the various steps needed along the way. I’m setting a deadline of January 31st. At month’s end, I’ll set a new goal. Maybe I’ll be brave enough to tackle the upstairs storage room.

Goals require a new mindset, new energy, and new hope. If I complete this goal, I’ll feel like that sedum plant. With the old leaves cleared away, I’ll be ready to welcome in the warmth and sun.

Happy Νew Year.

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