Resolve to “Choose To”

Happy New Year!

In preparing to write this week’s article, I decided to look at the blog entries I’ve written in Januaries past.  It was easy to find them—on my website, I just typed “resolution” into the search window on the top right.

I found two different messages—the annually-recurring admonition to Stop Making Resolutions…and to set real goals instead; and my 2010 message: decide what you want and just begin doing things to get it.

This year, I want to start off with a slightly different message:

Figure out which of the resolutions on your list are want to goals and which are choose to goals.  Then, let the want tos go and focus on the choose tos.

Here’s the difference: You may genuinely want to double your income, learn Italian, write a book, lose twenty pounds, find your “soul mate”, and/or sail around the world in a makeshift boat.  But if you don’t choose to make them happen or to let them go, nothing will happen.  And while all of your desires deserve consideration, giving them all equal consideration won’t help you succeed at any of them, as long as you remain inactive.

A choose to goal can be anything you want, but it’s also something more specific.  It incorporates (or at least, considers) an Action Plan—a set of viable, small, doable steps that can get you to where you want to go.

My client Marie wanted to get back into singing.  She had had some success with it in the past and was confident she possessed worthy talent.  She had all the tools to make a “resolution”—but she lacked commitment—the “choose to” factor.  My conversation with her went something like this:

Marie:  This year, I’d like to get back into performing.  I really miss singing!  I always think about it…

Me:  That’s great, Marie!  I’d love to help you figure out how to do it.  What might be a good way to start?

Marie:  Oh.  Well, I hadn’t really thought about that.  I guess I can’t just go out and start singing.  I’d have to start taking lessons again.

Me:  Good.  That sounds like the right idea.  Then what?

Marie:  I dunno, I don’t know if I have any time really, with the kids, and with my promotion pending…I mean, family time is really important to me.  I don’t wanna be out of the house nights.

Me:  Well, if you’d like, we can work on making time that doesn’t pull you away from quality time with your family.  Do you think you’re working too hard?

Marie:  Eh, I pretty much make my own hours at the office.  And my husband and I have been working hard for our trip to Cabo…We’re so looking forward to that!

Me:  Well, it sounds like you’ve been disciplined about saving up for your vacation.  What would it take to invest in rekindling singing, as a career, or even just as a hobby?

Marie:  Probably a lot of work.

Whether it’s a dream-date, a dream-job, or a dream-bod, when we face our fantasies as realities, we tend to realize one thing: nothing comes to those who just wait, want, or wish.  Goals require work, and choosing to do the necessary work requires getting past fears, excuses, and external hurdles.

In Marie’s case, any of these could be holding her back from the thing she wants—but what seems more likely is that Marie secretly knows she has other priorities, and she’s just “never going to get around to it”.

Marie could choose to hold on to the belief that returning to performance is a goal of hers, or, this year, she could choose to let it go, and focus on all the other wonderful things she has chosen to have in her life.

Go ahead—make a list of all your goals; then, take a closer look.  Consider, for each one, for just a few minutes, what it would take to get there, and imagine yourself doing the work.  If you don’t think you’ll choose to take action on an item any time soon, make a change this year, and choose to cross that goal off your current list.

Then, focus on the goals you can immediately begin to visualize working toward, and start putting them into play.

If you need help to get going down whatever path you’re choosing (and we all do), reach out and contact me, and all year and beyond, keep REACHING…

Tony says:

Hey Sandy great article and it was just what I needed. I don’t believe in New Years resolutions but I have been thinking about all of the things I would like to accomplish and feeling overwhelmed by it all. I have all of these great ideas that I would love to work on but I know I can’t do all of them. Writing them down and letting go of the ones that don’t inspire me as much is a great idea. Prehaps a little easier said then done but I am going to try it today and see what I come up with. Sometimes I feel like I am looking for someone to give me permission to NOT do everything my mind comes up with. You seem to offer that permission in your writing. Thank you for that. It helps.