Another year has come and gone, and we find ourselves in 2006 — whether we’re ready or not. Chances are, many of us are, in fact, not ready. Nonetheless, time waits on no one so we might as well get with the program and launch the new year with enthusiasm, perhaps even with a little gusto.
I love to make New Year’s resolutions. I rarely keep my New Year’s commitments for very long, but they’re fun to list and, who knows, maybe one day I’ll still be on track come February, and, maybe even March.
This all sounds pretty flippant and that’s what I intended. However, truth is, I am a devout believer in the power of goal setting. I adopt goals, modify previously adopted goals and discard goals that have fallen out of favor all during the year. In fact, I have to be careful in working toward my goals, because otherwise I run the risk of developing tunnel vision and getting my life all out of balance.
Significant and meaningful
Our goals are very personal and that’s as it should be. After all, they’re our goals and no one else’s. When others try to set goals for us they will fail because their goals for us are not our goals. To be significant and meaningful, we really do have to do some soul-searching and decide what’s important to us and pursue goals that reflect our own concerns, ambitions, fears and opportunities. Nonetheless, there are some general areas of life that deserve to be considered as we ramble about seeking to better ourselves.
Frequently, when I hear folks talk about their goals, money is at the top of the list. I find this disappointing; however, money is the grease that keeps the machinery working smoothly and, I suppose, giving it top priority is only natural.
Each of us is the CEO of ourselves. To a large extent, our fate in life is of our own making. We have skills to offer in the marketplace and it’s only natural to ponder whether we’re making the most of what we have to offer. So, giving some thought to our careers is natural and appropriate. Where are we career-wise, and where are we going? Is there a better opportunity and what are the risks of pursuing it? What’s retirement going to be like? Are my financial resources invested wisely? Good questions for New Year’s resolving.
Having gotten the financial stuff out of the way it’s time to move on to other areas of importance. I’m convinced that our spiritual life and our relationships with other people should be a top concern. When I refer to our spiritual life I don’t mean tallying up how many times we went to church last year. I’m talking about whether the things we say and do are likely pleasing to God. Most of us have a conscience to provide a moral compass and all we need to do is check the compass reading before making choices. Easy to say, but hard to do. But, extremely worthwhile. In fact, it’s likely the most worthwhile thing we can do.
No matter how you hurry and scurry about you can’t add one second to your life. No, all of us have the same amount of time. It’s how we choose to spend that time that defines, to a large extent, how happy we are. I fear that too many people are filling their lives with too many things and not leaving enough down time. The pages of books are not filled entirely with words. No, there are margins around the borders of the pages. In the same way, we need to leave some margins around our pages. While you’re resolving for next year, take a look at your day planner over the past few months and see if the pages have enough margins. If not, remember, you’re the CEO of yourself.
Margins on our pages, relationships and spirituality, important subjects one and all. Don’t get me wrong, money is important, too. But, it just seems that whenever the subject of goals comes up money matters won’t be far behind.
Chew on these possibilities
Let me leave you with some non-typical ideas for making your life better:
• Resolve to cut up the credit cards and get on the cash basis during 2006. With credit cards, you spend tomorrow’s money today and, vice versa, with cash, you spend today’s money today.
• Schedule some “me” time every day. Get up earlier or go to bed later. Either way, escape to a quiet place and recharge yourself.
• Upon investigation, you will find that the Book of Proverbs contains 31 chapters, which, coincidently is the number of days in most months. Read one chapter every day and then start over next month, ad infinitum.
• Resolve to read a good book every month. Reading is relaxing and mentally stimulating. Contrary to popular belief, TVs come equipped with an “off” button. Use it.
• Be totally and completely honest in everything you say and do. I fear that our “don’t make waves” mentality is weakening the moral fiber of our country. Absolute honesty is refreshing — both for you and those around you.
• Get better at your job every day. Even slight improvement adds up over time. Be the kind of employee that you would want if you were doing the hiring.
Thought for the Moment
Only the person who has faith in himself is able to be faithful to others. — psychologist and philosopher
Erich Fromm (1900-1980)
Joe D. Jones, CPA (retired), is publisher of the Mississippi Business Journal. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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