Thursday, January 7, 2016

Setting Goals and New Year's Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions. What is it about resolutions that many people feel that they and those around them have to make one or several as the old year turns to the new? I have never seriously made one and by the statistics of how many people give up on them before the end of January (or is it the end of the first week or New Year’s Day even?), I don’t think many of us are very serious.

The problem with quick resolutions like this is that they aren’t very well thought out and people soon loose interest or realize what they set before them is too hard to do. What I think is far better, and have done myself for many years with more or less success is to set goals. It’s not just a matter of what you call things; I look at goals as completely different.

To me a goal is something that can be set at any time and any place. It doesn’t have to be New Year’s Eve. It probably shouldn’t be done at a party, unless it is the initial part of the goal, as it really should take some thought and effort to set it, not just a quick statement. I worked in an academic area for many years, so to me September is the time of a new start, and I often think of goals then. Others start with the new year or a change of season or for whatever reason makes them think about the future.

These are the goals that I mentioned in a prior post for 2016:

v Continue organizing my stuff. Kenneth helped me identify some pictures today that I hadn’t been sure of.
v Get copies of stuff digitized and organized to send out to the cousins
v Get at least one line solidified enough to write a booklet about them so that I can publish it and get it in various repositories
v Return to IGHR again this year and take the Law Libraries and Government Documents course
v Attend Syracuse’s New York State Family History Conference
v Attend Professional Management Conference at Fort Wayne, Indiana

Here is the difference that I see from these and resolutions. I want to accomplish these this year- that is a resolution, but only the start of the goals. How am I going to accomplish them? When am I going to accomplish them? And how will I know?

Taking the first one, I am putting time on my “To-Do” list each week to work on this project. Much of it is the new to me genealogy stuff I’ve gotten from my uncle, but some is my mess that I’ve accumulated over time. By working each week or sometimes each day a little chunk at a time, I slowly see improvement in this. My plan is to have his stuff in an understandable order by the end of this month- later if we find there is more I don’t have yet. I’ll know when it is done when I don’t see piles surrounding me in the dining room, but rather storage boxes neatly labeled and put away!

The next two goals follow a similar pattern; in fact the second one is dependent on the first. The last three are, of course, specific events. These I accomplish by putting dates, such as when I need to register, and when they occur on the calendar. Each week I put some money aside for expenses. When are these accomplished? Well, parts are accomplished at various times, but of course, when and how I know is answered at the conference itself.

Here is some of the beauty of these goals. Not only can I start them at any time- but I finish them whenever it is logical to as well. It is not necessarily a year-long enterprise, but rather for a duration as long or short as I need it to be. Periodically, I’ll look at my various goals, both genealogy and personal and see if I’m on track to accomplishing them or if they need changing. Sometimes another goal is added or one is subtracted from the list. This makes it more flexible and also more likely that I will get to where I need to go! And now I can make a check against one goal for today as this post is written!

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