I've never been too great at New Years Resolutions. I used to make super ambitious ones like to not fight with my brother for the whole year or to not eat anything remotely unhealthy. Needless to say, I would fail miserably, usually within 72 hours of making the resolution.
I also have never been really great at setting life long goals. During sophomore year I went to this workshop put on by the head editor of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books and his talk was about what all successful people have in common. His message was that the successful people he knew had created a bucket list(list of goals to achieve before you die) at a young age, and had persistently worked through the list during their life. I attempted to start a bucket list, but I was not very good at making one of these either. My goals and aspirations changed to much, so the only thing I have consistently had on my list is white water rafting down the Grand Canyon before I die. This seems like a really empty list to me.
Needless to say, at times I was concerned about being successful in the future since I didn't follow these stereotypical traits of successful people. However, I realized at some point that I was completely forgetting about something I did every year that worked way better for me then any of the silly methods listed above.
It all started freshman year during basketball season. Our coach made us right down goals for the season. My main goal was to play varsity by the end of the season. However, I was afraid of being judged or being considered arrogant for thinking I was even capable of this goal, so I didn't write it down for them to see. I kept thinking about the different goals I had and finally wrote them down over Christmas break. I expanded from basketball season goals to goals from the whole year. For the most part, I forgot about writing them down, but when I achieved my goal of playing varsity I definitely remembered. In my enthusiasm I went and wrote the date I achieved the goal in very excited writing. It was an incredible feeling. After that I forgot about the goals until the next Christmas break, but when I found them again it felt so good to read over them and check off the ones I'd achieved that I decided to do it again.
Ever since that year, at some point over Christmas break I will write down my goals for the upcoming year. I value the fact that they are completely private. I can make each goal as ambitious or petty as I want, and I can say from previous experience that they range from the goal to talk to my crush to goals of long term mission trips or obtaining a full ride scholarship. Shoot, this year I even made a new years wish, because its my goal list and I can do whatever the heck I want :)
Going through the prior years' goals never gets old. I get to see how my focus has changed, and what goals I've reached. It's an awesome feeling, and its something I plan on doing for the rest of my life.
So for all of my friends out there, I challenge you to do the same. Sit down and think about anything you'd like to accomplish in the next year, and write it down. Put it away somewhere you'll be able to find it in a year, and then forget about it till this time of year rolls around. It'll be well worth it.