Forget Resolutions...What's Your Plan?

I was recently on a FaceTime call with my granddaughter, and she asked, “Grandma, what are you leaving in 2017?”  My response, “Nothing!”  “I’m taking EVERYTHING with me!”  She’s only 10 years old, so I can’t imagine what she would be wanting to leave in 2017 or why she even asked the question, except that she must have heard it somewhere.  As I think of the approaching year, and my response to her, I had to admit that 2017 has been a pretty good year for me.  I moved back to my hometown, Chicago Illinois, I started a new business, and I have even seen growth with the nonprofit I co-founded.  I have suffered some disappointments as well, but as I told my granddaughter, I have no intention of leaving them in 2017.  In fact, I plan to take them with me and learn from them.

Every year presents us with the opportunity to start anew.  Everyone is excited by the idea of beginning again or even just beginning.  I get excited about the new year as well, but maybe not for the exact same reasons as others.  For me, it’s a time of reflection.  It’s a time for me to look over the year at my accomplishments and my disappointments.  It’s a time for me to determine what I needed to learn from the past year and how I’m going to move forward in the upcoming year.  You see for me moving forward isn’t about letting go of what was, but more about learning from what was.  I’m not saying don’t leave the past in the past, I’m certainly not implying that we keep all the pain and the hurt, but what I am saying is don’t be so quick to let it all go that we don’t learn from it.  We must learn from the past in order to look to the future.

I work out regularly, I’ve been working out for years, and every January 1st, I watch as the “new year resolutioners” as I so fondly call them, pack the gym to lose unwanted pounds and become healthier.  As the year progresses, to February, March, and April etc.  I observe as the “resolutioners” stop coming.  At the beginning of the year those people decided that they would lose the unwanted weight and they were determined to do it, at first.  As time went on other things may have become more important or they didn’t have time.  Year after year we make the same resolutions.  Resolutions remain the same because we didn’t succeed in accomplishing them the year before, or the year before that.    

I don't make resolutions, but I have learned to make a plan, especially now that I’m clear on what it means to have purpose.  I take everything from the previous year, and I dissect it.  I figure out what I did right and where I went wrong, where I need to work harder and what I need to let go.  What I need to do less of and what I need to do more of.  Last year, I started to use a journal, at the top, it asks for my monthly goal. To be completely transparent, I didn’t always complete that section every month, and that’s a mistake on my part from the previous year, and that is something I will correct in 2018. 

As we near the end of 2017, I would caution you against making resolutions, and urge you to instead make a plan.  If you desire to lose weight, don’t say, “I’m going to the gym in 2018.”  Instead say, “I have to be at work at 9:00 a.m., I am going to the gym at 6:00 a.m. Monday through Wednesday and 10:00 a.m. on Saturdays.   Write it down on your calendar or set reminders in your phone.  Making a plan and staying committed to the plan, that will be the difference in you moving forward or making another failed resolution.  Forget Resolutions…what’s your plan?