Endings and Beginnings

By Vicki Voisin, ACP

As 2008 ends and 2009 begins, it’s tempting to make resolutions for the New Year. Organize your office? Increase your billable hours? Lose weight? Be on time for work? Sit for a certification exam? Whatever you have in mind, read on…

It’s common knowledge that resolutions rarely work. Yes…that’s the unfortunate truth. All those good intentions seem to fall by the wayside by the middle of January…all that’s left are the guilt and regret that once again you’re not able to keep your resolutions. By next December you’ll be making the same resolutions all over again.

It’s time to change the pattern. Resolutions don’t work because they’re usually a very broad statement: This year I’ll lose 20 pounds. This year I’ll learn to speak French. This year I’ll look for a new job. You’ve got the ‘what’ down…you know what you want to do. The problem is that you’re only looking at the big picture.

Instead of making resolutions, set goals. A goal is something you commit to fully and work toward all year long. Take a few minutes right now to visualize your top three goals for 2009. Then take out a piece of paper and write those goals down.

Make a plan. Once your goals are set, decide what you have to do to reach each goal and then plan each step toward your goal from beginning to end. For instance, if you want to learn French this year your first step might to be to search for a class. The next step might be to enroll in the class. The next step might be to buy your study materials. Your next steps would be to attend each class and do your homework. Do you see how each step you take helps you reach your end goal? This process will work for any goal you might want to reach.

Take this one step further. Schedule each step in your planner…make an actual appointment. This ensures that you will set aside the time to accomplish each step. Don’t make the mistake of putting the steps on ‘to do’ lists because a ‘to do’ list is just a wish list and you will invariably run out of day before you run out of list. The ‘to do’ list just goes on and on. Your planner is a real guide for accomplishing your goals.

Your challenge: Plan to make 2009 your best year ever. Take a few minutes to set your goals. Break the goals down into achievable mini-goals. Decide when each mini-goal must be accomplished to reach the main goal by the end of the year. Enter those mini-goals in your planner. Make appointments with yourself for completing each one. If you do your planning and then do your scheduling, you can accomplish absolutely anything you want and this time next year you’ll be celebrating the fact that you actually reached your goals. Here’s to out with the old…in with the new…to endings and to beginnings. Happy New Year!

© 2008 Vicki Voisin, Inc.

Do you want to use this article in your newsletter, e-zine or website? You can, so long as you include this entire blurb with it: Vicki Voisin, also known as The Paralegal Mentor, publishes the bi-weekly ezine ‘Strategies for Paralegals Seeking Excellence’ where she offers tips for paralegals and others who want to create lasting success in their personal and professional lives. Get tips and information at no cost at www.paralegalmentor.com.